Wrestling: Northwestern falls to conference foes Ohio State, Penn State in weekend contests


Daily file photo by Susan Du

Redshirt freshman Jason Tsirtsis circles his University of Chicago opponent during a match in November. Tsirtsis’ performance was a highlight of an otherwise dreary weekend for Northwestern, which fell to conference foes Ohio State and Penn State.

Jesse Kramer, Reporter

No. 14 Northwestern’s losing streak extended to three matches Sunday after No. 1 Penn State beat the Wildcats 39-8.

The Cats (6-4, 1-4 Big Ten) also fell to No. 12 Ohio State (7-2, 2-2) on Friday.

“No excuses,” coach Drew Pariano said. “They’re obviously great teams, but we believe we’re a great team. We need to get tougher.”

The Nittany Lions (10-0, 4-0) built a commanding lead early in the match Sunday, winning the first three bouts. A win from redshirt freshman Jason Tsirtsis stemmed the tide, but Penn State proceeded to blow NU away with wins in the next five matches, earning a 39-2 advantage.

Junior Mike McMullan closed the match against the Nittany Lions with a win by injury default against Jimmy Lawson.

Friday’s match against Ohio State had a similar outcome for the Cats.

The Buckeyes grabbed an 11-0 lead after three bouts, but the Cats closed within two points after victories from Tsirtsis, redshirt freshman Ben Sullivan and junior Pierce Harger.

Ohio State then extended its lead to 12 points before McMullan ended the otherwise disappointing match for NU on a good note and earned the Cats consolation points to bring the final tally to 21-12.

Tsirtsis had a good weekend despite his team’s outcome.

Mid-match against Penn State’s Zack Beitz, a clock malfunction threatened to interrupt Tsirtsis’ flow, but Pariano said Tsirtsis showed his maturity and remained poised. The freshman recorded NU’s first points Sunday with an overtime victory at 149 pounds.

Tsirtsis also prevailed Friday over Ohio State’s Ian Paddock, who was ranked No. 18 in the nation at 149 pounds.

“I feel I wrestled more toward what I want to be (over the weekend),” Tsirtsis said. “But I made a few mental errors going through the match. … I know what I need to work on to fix those things.”

Tsirtsis began the season with 11 straight wins but lost a pair of matches in late December. He suffered another defeat Jan. 10 against Minnesota.

“As a freshman, I think you’re figuring things out,” Pariano said. “And he’s figuring things out right now. At the same time, he demands a ton out of himself and his abilities.”

NU will return home to face Wisconsin on Saturday, as the Cats will try for their first win in more than three weeks.

“The preparation will be a little altered (in practice),” Pariano said, “but we’re not going to stop ramming the things we’ve been ramming down their throat.”

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Twitter: @Jesse_Kramer