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 earns first win before conference championships

Micah Sandy/The Daily Northwestern
Redshirt sophomore Aiden Vandenbush works to break down opponent Michael Zarif in last Friday’s match-up against Binghamton.

Last weekend, Northwestern ended its regular season slate at home, taking down Indiana but losing to Binghamton and Illinois.

The Wildcats (1-9, 1-7 Big Ten) first faced the Bearcats (9-4, 7-3 EIWA) in last Friday’s senior night contest.  

After a decision loss, redshirt senior 184-pounder Troy Fisher put NU on the board at 3-3 with a 7-3 upset decision victory over No. 11 Jacob Nolan.

Once the lighter weights began competing, freshman 125-pounder Massey Odiotti was quick to get moving in his bout against opponent Carson Wagner, but Wagner was quicker in getting a takedown three in the first period. 

Yet in an action-packed third period, Odiotti caught every attempt and turned Wagner’s takedown into his own with just seconds remaining, earning an 11-5 decision win. 

Redshirt sophomore 149-pounder Aiden Vandenbush’s bout began with pulls that made it anyone’s takedown, before he took one for the ‘Cats. With the help of a stall point, Vandenbush successfully took a 10-0 major decision.

Redshirt senior 157-pounder No. 21 Trevor Chumbley hit a takedown just before the end of the first period at 3-0, maintaining a strong defense against Binghamton’s Carter Baer.

Chumbley landed a takedown near the top of the third period, falling into a takedown-escape pattern with Baer. The matchup finished with a 19-3 technical fall that left NU just one technical fall or major decision away from their first victory of the season. 

However, those hopes faded away with a scoreless last match. Binghamton took its first Big Ten win since 2017 and left the ‘Cats with only Sunday to improve their record.

NU returned hungry that afternoon, acting fast to stun the No. 23 Hoosiers (7-5, 3-5 Big Ten). 

Freshman 133-pounder Dedrick Navarro marked his dual debut with a single-leg takedown in the first eight seconds against opponent Cayden Rooks and worked to end it with a 10-4 decision win, quickly bringing up NU’s team tally to seven.

After losses from freshman 141-pounder Kolby McClain and Vandenbush put Indiana back in front, Chumbley took matters into his own hands.

Despite his opponent’s bridging attempts in what would otherwise be a technical fall, Chumbley landed a pin, earning a 13-8 team advantage at the half.

The score bounced back to 15-13 in the Hoosiers’ favor after losses from Mayfield and redshirt freshman 174-pounder Joseph Martin, but another powerful 184-pound showing from Fisher leveled the playing field. 

Fisher managed to end the third period with a 7-4 decision win, getting Hoosier Roman Rogotzke on his back with one second left on the board and giving NU a one-point team score advantage.

Redshirt sophomore 197-pounder Evan Bates followed suit in his bout against No. 33 Gabe Sollars, using mat returns to record a 2-0 decision victory that put the ‘Cats at 19-15 and one pin-free match away from a win. Despite a decision loss soon after, NU took home its first win of the season.

“I think a big aspect I’ve been working on is my top game,” Bates said. “Keeping guys down, I think it really showed.”

The ‘Cats attempted to bring the same energy against the Fighting Illini (5-9, 2-6 Big Ten) but they dropped three consecutive losses at the dual’s start, including a costly pin defeat in McClain’s match.

149-pounder Sam Cartella finally broke NU’s cold streak with a 12-3 major decision win.

Then, Chumbley continued his earlier exploits and brought the ‘Cats back to a 13-9 deficit.

With consecutive decision wins from Fisher, Bates and Jessen, NU tied the dual at 20-20. Had one of the victories been a major decision win or fall, the final score wouldn’t have been determined by criteria, which granted the Fighting Illini the win based on an advantage in the pin margin.

“Everybody in this building knows what team won this dual, and it was Northwestern University,” coach Matt Storniolo said. 

The ‘Cats will now turn their focus to postseason play, as the Big Ten Championships begin March 9.

“Going into the postseason, I feel like the guys really showed up,” Fisher said. “Finishing on a strong note in our conference dual season, that’s kind of a minimum need going into the Big Ten Tournament.”

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @TheMicahSandy

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