Predicting Northwestern sports in 2015


Daily file photo by Meghan White

Maggie Lyon is second on Northwestern in scoring, with 12.6 points per game. The junior guard will be one of the leaders in the Wildcats’ attempt to make it to the NCAA Tournament.

Daily Sports Staff

From the football unionization controversy to the rise of freshman NCAA Champion wrestler Jason Tsirtsis, it was a crazy year for the Wildcats in 2014. Controversy followed the football team on and off the field, with former quarterback Kain Colter’s charge for college athlete unionization stealing the spotlight from the gridiron and a troubling second consecutive 5-7 campaign.

The world had looked bright for men’s golf with reigning U.S. Amateur champion and star freshman Matt Fitzpatrick in the fold after a productive opening half of the season in the fall of 2013. But he bailed from school less than two weeks into 2014, and the team never recovered in the spring.

Wrestling produced an individual NCAA Champion for the first time since 2009 in Jason Tsirtsis — who also became the first freshman in school history to be crowned a national champion in wrestling. Fencing had a 15th straight top-10 finish at NCAA Championships and women’s tennis captured a 16th-consecutive Big Ten title.

The Cats also boasted a women’s golf squad that produced a second-consecutive top-15 finish at nationals and a field hockey group that won its first-ever Big Ten title and made it to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1994.

What is in store for 2015? Here are our predictions, some more aspirational than others, for NU athletics in the upcoming year:

Bobby Pillote, Assistant Sports Editor: Quarterback Clayton Thorson will win Big Ten Freshman of the Year and lead NU back to a bowl game.

Ava Wallace, Reporter: Women’s basketball will make it into the Tournament. Even if they don’t, they will continue to be my favorite team to watch.

Alex Putterman, Web Editor: Although men’s basketball misses the postseason again, women’s basketball not only makes the NCAA Tournament but also wins a game there.

Jesse Kramer, Reporter: Wrestling heavyweight Mike McMullan wins that elusive national championship. The football team misses a bowl game for the third-straight season.

Mike Marut, Reporter: Women’s tennis wins a 17th-consecutive Big Ten title and makes it to at least the elite eight in NCAAs. Men’s basketball finishes second in the Big Ten behind Wisconsin and makes the NCAA Tournament.

Kevin Casey, Sports Editor: Women’s basketball makes the NCAA Tournament, but women’s golf will be the story with a top-three finish at NCAA Championships.

Julian Gerez, Reporter: In men’s soccer, both Joey Calistri and Cole Missimo will pick up first-team all Big Ten selections in their final year as NU players.