Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Wrestling: Northwestern disappoints at Keystone Classic, finishes third

Redshirt+freshman+Jason+Tsirtsis+grapples+with+his+Chicago+opponent+during+Northwestern%E2%80%99s+opening+weekend.+Tsirtsis+was+the+only+member+of+the+Wildcat+squad+to+claim+his+weight+class%E2%80%99+title+in+the+Keystone+Classic+last+weekend.%0A
Susan Du/Daily Senior Staffer
Redshirt freshman Jason Tsirtsis grapples with his Chicago opponent during Northwestern’s opening weekend. Tsirtsis was the only member of the Wildcat squad to claim his weight class’ title in the Keystone Classic last weekend.

The Wildcats’ reign of dominance at the Keystone Classic in Philadelphia came to an end Sunday with a third-place finish. With 100.5 total points, Northwestern came in behind Bloomsburg and Indiana.

Redshirt freshman Jason Tsirtsis at 149 pounds was the only one of the Cats’ competitors to capture a title.

Tsirtsis, who received a first-round bye as the No. 2 in his class, breezed through to the semifinals, where he faced Appalachian State’s Dylan Cottrell, also a redshirt freshman.

After disposing of Cottrell with a 16-3 major decision, Tsirtsis overcame his youth and defeated Bloomsburg redshirt senior Bryce Busler with a 2-0 decision.

Both Cottrell and Busler entered the Keystone Classic nationally ranked.

“I think Jason again proved to a lot of people that he is making the right steps to be a national champ this year,” coach Drew Pariano said.

Junior Lee Munster, who missed last week’s match against Nebraska due to an upper-body injury, was the Cats’ next-best finisher with second place at 174 pounds.

Munster reached the championship with a semifinal win against Arizona State’s Kevin Radford but as subsequently defeated by Pittsburgh’s Tyler Wilps.

“I think he has a lot more confidence,” Pariano said of Munster. “I think he has that feel for big matches again, which he hasn’t had in a long time. He’s an All-American type kid. He just needs to believe it.”

The Cats also saw third-place finishes from juniors Pierce Harger and Alex Polizzi at 165 pounds and 197 pounds, respectively. Both wrestlers lost by decision in the semifinals but bounced back with a pair of victories in the consolation.

“(Losing in the semifinals) definitely was tough, but you’ve got to stay focused on the competition ahead,” Harger said. “I ended up winning (the third-place match) 8-0, so that was huge for my confidence.”

NU, which finished only 16.5 points behind Indiana, was at an immediate disadvantage because junior and two-time All-American Mike McMullan sat out with what Pariano described as a “flu bug.”

“When you go into a tournament and you don’t have a full back, so to speak, without McMullan, you’re missing out on huge points,” Pariano said.

Although it is a disadvantage that every team faces, Pariano and Harger both acknowledged that the exhausting tournament schedule was a challenge for the team, with weigh-ins at 8 a.m. and the last matches not finishing until 8 p.m.

“You can wrestle around 10 or 10:30, and then your second match could be anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours later,” Harger said. “You’ve got to stay on your toes, but at the same time it can kind of lull you to sleep.”

The positive side is that the demanding schedule should serve as good preparation for competing in the Big Ten, one of the nation’s premier wrestling conferences.

“Tournaments like this that just finish in one day are really grueling and taxing on your body,” Pariano said. “But that’s what gets you ready for Big Ten (competition) and the NCAA Tournament.”

The Cats will be back on the road Dec. 7 at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside tournament in Kenosha, Wis.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @jesse_kramer

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Wrestling: Northwestern disappoints at Keystone Classic, finishes third