Rivera Returns, Wildcats Dominate in Big Ten Finale
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Northwestern wrestling closed out
the Big Ten dual season in impressive fashion Sunday afternoon, cruising
to a 37-9 victory over Maryland in the conference finale.
The Wildcats were triumphant in eight of the 10 matches on the day, with three of those wins coming via fall. The final team total marked the most points in a match for NU since Nov. 12, 2017, in a 37-3 win over Gardner-Webb.
The contest was highlighted by the return of No. 5 Sebastian Rivera, who made his first appearance since the Midlands Championships in December. Taking on King Sandoval at 133 pounds, Rivera wasted no time in picking up where he left off. The redshirt junior notched the first takedown of the match and turned it into a pin within seconds, winning by fall in the first period.
The ‘Cats also got wins from Jack Heyob, Michael DeAugustino, Alec McKenna, Yahya Thomas, Ryan Deakin, Shayne Oster and Jack Jessen in a contest they led 22-0 at the midway point.
The action began at heavyweight, where Heyob took on Parker Robinson in the opening bout. The first year was aggressive from the first whistle, leading early and scoring throughout the match in a dominant performance. The 9-0 victory by major decision was the first Big Ten win of Heyob’s young Northwestern career.
At 125, No. 11 DeAugustino followed suit by taking his opponent down early in the first period and maintaining his lead throughout the match. He came away with a 6-3 decision over Brandon Cray to stretch the visitors’ lead to 7-0.
After Rivera’s pin at 133, McKenna took to the mat in his final Big Ten dual as a Wildcat. Facing off against Hunter Baxter at 141 pounds, the senior showed no interest in savoring the moment. He took Baxter to his back halfway through the first and got the pin in just 1:55, making it consecutive wins by fall for NU.
In the final bout before intermission, No. 18 Yahya Thomas was matched up with Ryan Garlitz at 149. Despite missing Friday evening’s match against Rutgers, he showed no signs of rust, going on the attack while still holding his opponent scoreless in a 9-0 major decision. Thomas’ performance put Northwestern up by a score of 22-0 at the break.
As the second half of the dual got underway, No. 1 Deakin looked to continue the string of recent showings that have cemented his status as the best in his weight class. He did so quickly and convincingly, recording the team’s third win by fall and second in under two minutes as he stuck Lucas Cordio in 1:58. The junior improved to a perfect 17-0 on the campaign.
Oster was on next, coming in off the back of six-straight victories that have helped him climb to No. 13 in the nation. Wrestling against Kyle Cochran at 165, he showed the solid form that has made him tough to beat all season in a hard-fought match, pulling away late in a bout that he won via decision. The senior will look to finish off his last regular season with eight-straight wins in the ‘Cats final match.
At 184, Jessen was aggressive early against Kyle Jasenski, racing out to a 4-0 lead in the first minute and a half. After Jasenski suffered a leg injury and was unable to finish, Jessen’s win by injury default ran NU’s team score up another six points, putting the final at 37-9.
Chicago’s Big Ten Team will be back on the mat next weekend for the final dual meet of the 2019-20 regular season. The Wildcats will travel to face SIU-Edwardsville on Sunday, Feb. 23, with the action set to start at 2 p.m. CT.
No. 24 Northwestern 37, Maryland 9
College Park, Md. | XFINITY Center
HWT: Jack Heyob (NU) maj. dec. Parker Robinson (MD), 9-0 | NU 4, MD 0
125: #11 Michael DeAugustino (NU) dec. Brandon Cray (MD), 6-3 | NU 7, MD 0
133: #5 Sebastian Rivera (NU) Fall King Sandoval (MD), 2:41 | NU 13, MD 0
141: Alec McKenna (NU) Fall Hunter Baxter (MD), 1:55 | NU 19, MD 0
*Northwestern deducted one team point following the match at 141
149: #18 Yahya Thomas (NU) maj. dec. Ryan Garlitz (MD), 9-0 | NU 22, MD 0
157: #1 Ryan Deakin (NU) Fall Lucas Cordio (MD), 1:58 | NU 28, MD 0
165: #13 Shayne Oster (NU) dec. Kyle Cochran (MD), 9-3 | NU 31, MD 0
174: Philip Spadafora (MD) dec. Ankhaa Enkhmandakh (NU), 4-0 | NU 31, MD 3
184: Jack Jessen (NU) inj. def. over Kyle Jasenski (MD), 1:18 | NU 37, MD 3
197: Jaron Smith (MD) Fall #9 Lucas Davison (NU), 2:18 | NU 37, MD 9
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