The Daily Northwestern

Wrestling: After wins against Duke and North Carolina State, Northwestern heads to Big Tens on 3-game streak

No. 1 heavyweight Mike McMullan wrestles former No. 1 Bobby Telford of Iowa, whom McMullan beat Jan. 31 to take his current ranking. The junior lost to No. 6 Nick Gwiazdowski on Saturday and will likely drop in the rankings this coming week.

Daily file photo by Annabel Edwards

No. 1 heavyweight Mike McMullan wrestles former No. 1 Bobby Telford of Iowa, whom McMullan beat Jan. 31 to take his current ranking. The junior lost to No. 6 Nick Gwiazdowski on Saturday and will likely drop in the rankings this coming week.

Jesse Kramer, Reporter

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No. 21 Northwestern (9-7) finished the regular season Saturday with victories against North Carolina State (14-7) and Duke (6-15) in Durham, N.C. The Wildcats defeated the Wolfpack 24-15 and the Blue Devils 23-16.

The Cats have now won three straight matches entering Big Ten Championships, which start March 8.

(Wrestling: Late rally pushes Northwestern past Stanford for first win in over a month)

“Now we’re on to focusing on winning a Big Ten title and putting ourselves in great position for the NCAAs,” coach Drew Pariano said.

North Carolina State’s Nick Gwiazdowski, ranked No. 6 at 285 pounds, upset Northwestern junior Mike McMullan. McMullan entered the match ranked No. 1.

McMullan bounced back in his second match with a 17-1 win by tech fall against Duke’s Brendan Walsh.

“He showed really good poise,” Pariano said. “He was upset, but he collected himself and went back out there for a great second match.”

McMullan has been ranked No. 1 since Feb. 4 when he knocked off Iowa’s Bobby Telford. McMullan will likely lose the top ranking after the defeat.

However, Pariano said a drop in the rankings does not bother him, and he does not think it bothers McMullan.

“If you’re worried about (rankings), you’re not worrying about the right things,” Pariano said. “You need to worry about the process and getting ready for winning a Big Ten championship.”

Two more nationally ranked Cats, junior Pierce Harger and redshirt freshman Jason Tsirtsis, each went 2-0 on Saturday.

Harger, ranked No. 6 at 165 pounds according to Intermat rankings, pinned Max Rohskopf in 3:17 and then pinned Marcus Cain in 54 seconds.

“He’s starting to peak at the right time,” Pariano said. “It’s awesome to watch a guy progress the way he has. He knew that the team needed him, and he got the job done.”

Tsirtsis, ranked No. 5 at 149 pounds, has now won his last seven outings.

Sophomores Garrison White and Dominick Malone also picked up their first victories of the month.

White defeated North Carolina State’s Micah Perez at 125 pounds and won his second match at Duke by forfeit.

Malone, who had not won a match since Jan. 4 against Indiana, beat Chris Wilkes and Evan Botwin.

Redshirt senior Kevin Bialka filled in for junior Lee Munster at 174 pounds. Munster missed Saturday’s matches after suffering an ankle injury last match against Stanford. Pariano said the junior’s status for Big Ten Championships is still uncertain.

Bialka has suffered injuries throughout his NU career, and Pariano said the fifth-year senior was not 100 percent healthy either.

Bialka won by major decision against North Carolina State’s Nijel Jones but lost to Duke’s Trey Adamson.

“The guys really got behind him, and he filled in extremely well and admirably,” Pariano said.

The Big Ten Championships start March 8 in Madison, Wis.

Email: jessekramer2017@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @Jesse_Kramer

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