Wrestling: Northwestern blown out by No. 1 Penn State, falls to 2-5 on the season


Daily file photo by Alison Albelda.

Sebastian Rivera spars with an opponent. The No. 1 ranked sophomore was one of two Northwestern wrestlers to win his bout Friday.

Greg Svirnovskiy, Reporter


After Northwestern’s (2-5, 0-2 Big Ten) disappointing 33-8 loss to No. 1 Penn State, (6-0, 1-0) sophomore Sebastian Rivera led the team through the tunnel and into the locker room. The top-ranked 125-pound wrestler in the country — who earlier in the night scored the Wildcats’ only technical fall against the Nittany Lions — was vocal after the match, despite his personal victory.

“You gotta buy in,” Rivera said. “Some of these guys aren’t buying in all the way. We train way too hard to let some guys do that to us.”

The recent Big Ten Wrestler of the Week sports a 15-0 record and has won eight of his last nine bouts by significant margins. But Rivera said the best way to get past NU’s recent struggles is to work harder to transfer what they’ve done in practice to the arena.

Even though the Cats’ 8 points against the Nittany Lions are the most Penn State had given up at the time, Rivera himself accounted for five of those points while the rest of the lineup struggled.

“Some of these guys (are) going out there and we’re not fighting enough,” Rivera said. “What we do in the practice room really isn’t what some of them are representing here. You need to translate what we’re doing in the practice room onto the mat.”

Coach Matt Storniolo said Rivera’s constant emotion and infectious attitude can only help NU get better.

“It’s great to see a young guy like that step up and be a leader,” he said. “And try to offer some guidance to all the other guys on the team.”

Rivera’s major decision and redshirt freshman Tyler Morland’s 11-9 win in the 165-pound weight class were the only times the Cats picked up points against Penn State’s lineup, which boasted five undefeated wrestlers.

But Morland’s win over the Nittany Lions’ Bo Pipher was the first win he has picked up all season, a campaign marred by a nagging knee injury he’s just now bouncing back from.

“The being in shape thing is tough,” Morland said. “That was a little tougher for me this time. Later in the season it’ll get better and better every week.”

The loss drops the Cats to 0-2 in Big Ten play, something that can be remedied in quick fashion with matches against Wisconsin and Minnesota this weekend.

Storniolo said his team can find success by better trusting themselves and the skills they’ve picked up in practice.

“You just be consistent in things you’re preaching,” Storniolo said. “These guys work harder than anybody. I truly believe that. They need to have confidence in themselves confidence in their training and believe that they can go out there and compete with and beat everybody.”

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