Welcome to the first Northwestern power rankings for the quarter. Every week, NBN will rank the active NU sports teams, letting you know which squads had the best week and which just want to drink the past seven days away. Northwestern should welcome 2008 with cautious optimism. While the teams already playing don’t have much to cheer about, the clubs yet to begin in 2008 (especially those with racquets) have had great off-field victories.
1. Men’s Tennis – NU nabbed three “five-star” high school seniors over the break, signing Eric Spector (the No. 2-ranked player in the Great Lakes region), Josh Graves (No. 3 in the Great Lakes) and Michael Sicora (the top-ranked player in the Plains region). The future appears bright on the clay.
2. Wrestling – The team finished fifth at the Midlands Championship at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Dec. 30, a solid accomplishment. Even more impressive, the team scored the third-best recruiting class in the country according to Wrestling International Newsmagazine.
3. Women’s Tennis – Unlike the men, the women’s team only signed one high-school prospect over Winter Break. But it was Stacey Lee, a senior from New York who’s the 20th-ranked woman nationally in the U.S. Tennis Association’s Under-18 charts, and also pegged 16th by The Tennis Recruiting Network.
4. Men’s Swimming – The Wildcats split a Winter Break competition, besting host Florida Atlantic but floundering to Denver. The team is still No. 17 in the country, one of the few NU teams nationally ranked.
5. Women’s Swimming – Tough way to ring in ’08: The ‘Cats lost to No. 9 Tennessee in a meet Saturday. Bright spot for the team — freshman Katie Eschenburg recorded the first individual win of her collegiate career.
6. Fencing – The quietest squad of Winter Break, with no competitions. The team travels to Philadelphia for the Temple Invitational on Jan. 13.
7. Willie the Wildcat – Props for Willie making it out to the NU-Penn State basketball game, but Willie barely reared his furry head. We need a heavier mascot presence, stat.
8. Men’s Basketball (5-6) – Not the way to start the Big Ten season. The Wildcats hung tough with Penn State for a half before unraveling in the second, and lost to Ohio State on Sunday. NU finds themselves in a deep hole two games in.
9. Women’s Basketball (4-11) – Who will win a Big Ten game first, the guys or the gals? The ‘Cats lost to Indiana, and followed that up by falling to Michigan in Ann Arbor on Sunday night. Not great times on the hardwood.