Over spring break, the biggest news by far was Northwestern's unionization victory. Amid the excitement stemming from the NLRB decision, freshman wrestler Jason Tsirtsis became the Wildcats' newest NCAA champion wrestler. But, he wasn’t the only one in action. While most of us watched Netflix and slept til noon, some winter sports wrapped up their seasons, and the spring ones are finally ramping up. Get caught up on all the action here.
From March 20 to March 22, Northwestern had three All-Americans advance the team to ninth place in the country. In addition to Tsirtsis winning the championship in the 149-pound weight class, senior heavyweight Mike McMullan finished his Northwestern career by coming in third place and junior Pierce Harger came in eighth in the 165-pound weight class. Tsirtsis was the first ever freshman to win an NCAA championship for Northwestern, winning his last three matches in overtime. In the final match, it took three overtime periods for him to take the crown. Head coach Drew Pariano has now coached three NCAA champions, but Tsirtsis is the first one while Pariano has been the head coach.
The Wildcats made it to the third round of the WNIT tournament before falling in a heartbreaker to Indiana 66-65. The 'Cats led almost the entire contest, but a late basket by the Hoosiers ended Northwestern's season. They finished the season with a 17-16 record, including victories over Ball State and UIPUI in the first two rounds of the NIT tournament. The future is bright for this young squad as all five starters will return for the 2014-15 season. Freshman Nia Coffey led the team with 15.3 points per game this year, and the next two highest scorers are Maggie Lyon and Lauren Douglas – both sophomores. Get ready for next year, because these 'Cats will be a force in the Big Ten.
The lacrosse team only played two games over the break and went 1-1 with a loss to No. 3 Syracuse and a win over No. 10 Massachusetts. The season hasn’t quite gone as planned for the Wildcats, as they have a 5-3 record overall and are 1-1 in the conference. Last year, the team only had four losses the entire season, two of which were to North Carolina, whom the 'Cats play Monday.
After going into spring break on a three-game winning streak, the 'Cats went 2-2 with losses to two top-10 teams. They beat No. 26 Georgia Tech Mar. 21, then fell to No. 10 North Carolina and No. 1 Duke. On Mar. 29, the ‘Cats defeated No. 54 Ohio State and played Penn State Sunday. Heading into the final month of the season before the Big Ten tournament, the 'Cats have an 11-5 overall record and are 4-0 in conference play.
The Wildcats gave the No. 2 OSU Buckeyes a run for their money March 28, but weren’t able to close it out and lost 4-3. Freshman Strong Kirchheimer had a new best in this match, defeating No. 97 Hunter Callahan, making that his first victory over a ranked opponent in his young career. The No. 28 ‘Cats then went to Penn State to take on the Nittany Lions on Sunday and ended up with another 4-3 loss.
The Wildcats have had a tough stretch of games during spring break, which mirrors how this entire season has gone. They played five games while classes were out and went 1-4, bringing their season record to 4-19. They only won two games in March. But starting April 4, they’ll finally be playing on their home field, something they haven’t been able to do yet this year.
Unlike the baseball team, the softball team has had some success over the break, winning a three-game series against Wisconsin and an individual game against Northern Illinois. The rubber game in a series against No. 19 Nebraska was Sunday, in the first game of the year played on their home field. Their season record is now 19-8 with a 3-3 conference record after the series against Wisconsin and three games against Nebraska.
In their first action since the end of February, the men's golf team played in the Goodwin hosted by Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif. Saturday, the teams competed against each other and the weather, as rain fell constantly, leading to one stoppage of play. On Sunday, Northwestern finished eight at the end of the tournament. Northwestern had a 15-over-855 after Sunday’s round.
The women’s golf team participated in the Bryan National Collegiate tournament and finished in 14th place out of 18 teams. They're set to play in the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic next weekend.
The NCAA Championships were held in Austin, Texas March 27 to March 29, and Northwestern sent only sophomore Jordan Wilimovsky to the competition. There, he posted 14:44.36 time in the 1,650 freestyle race to finish fourth. This was his second consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships.
Northwestern had a freshman standout finish her first year as a Wildcat with a top-25 finish in the 1,650 freestyle competition. Lauren Abruzzo came in 21st and had the fifth fastest time in the Big Ten. Abruzzo also set a Northwestern record in the race earlier in the season with a 16:10.40 time. At the NCAA Champinships, she also swam in the 500 free and the 400 yard IM.