This weekend, things didn’t go quite as planned for the Northwestern wrestling team when they traveled to Madison, Wisc., to compete in the Big Ten Wrestling Championships. There, they came in ninth place, finishing with 44 total team points. Though the team’s conference record was 1-7 going into the tournament, they had high hopes, counting on senior heavyweight Mike McMullan to pull the team to a victory.
Instead, he lost in the semifinals to his Indiana University opponent. The one bright spot was redshirt freshman Jason Tsirtsis, who won his 149-pound weight class. The Crown Point, Ind., native defeated the No. 1 seed from Nebraska to take the title.
He is one of five Wildcats who earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, which will be held in Oklahoma City, Okla., Mar. 20-22. The other four are Dominick Malone, Pierce Harger, Alex Polizzi and McMullan.
After winning his weight class, Tsirtsis was named the Big Ten Freshman Wrestler of the Year and earned a spot on the 2014 All-Big Ten Team. Harger and Polizzi both lost in the third-place matches, and McMullan ended up finishing fifth place after defeating his Penn State opponent.