EVANSTON, Ill. — Hosting its first-ever Cancer Awareness Day event against Cleveland State, No. 11 Northwestern swept the lower weight classes — collecting two pins, a tech fall and a major in that stretch — and went on to post a 32-9 victory over the Vikings Saturday afternoon in Evanston. Second-ranked 125-pounder Brandon Precin and true freshman 141-pounder Kaleb Friedley were responsible for NU’s two falls on the day, with Friedley notching his team-leading sixth pin of the year.
Northwestern improved to 6-0 on the young season with the victory, its best start to a dual season since opening 9-0 in 2006.
“Our team is continuing to work hard in the practice room but we have a lot of room for improvement at this point,” said Wildcat head coach Drew Pariano. “We finished a few matches the way we need to but we need to do it every time and avoid the lapses we had today.”
In his first outing since winning the Keystone Classic on Nov. 21, the two-time All-American Precin needed only 2:19 to collect his 11th victory of the year and his third fall, doing so against Cleveland State’s Ben Willeford.
NU’s 20th-ranked Levi Mele extended the Wildcat advantage to 9-0 when he edged CSU’s Nick Flannery in a 6-5 decision win. Mele trailed 3-2 after one period but scored on an escape and takedown in the second to take the lead. Flannery came back with an escape in the third, but Mele’s riding time point was enough to give him the 6-5 victory.
Following Friedley’s first-period fall of CSU’s Josh Paviloda, sixth-ranked Andrew Nadhir came out aggressively in his 149-pound contest with Lawrence Cavello, collecting three takedowns in the opening three minutes to lead 7-3 after one period. He remained in control in the second and was able to secure the 13-5 bonus-point win late in the match thanks to a takedown and his 1 minute 20 seconds of riding time.
NU sent its fourth ranked wrestler to the mat at 157 pounds, No. 7 Jason Welch. Welch was caught on his back early by Cleveland State’s Matt Donahoe and found himself in a 4-0 hole. But from that point on it was all Welch, as the California native racked up 13 near-fall points and locked up a five-point tech fall win (21-4) as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
With NU out to a 24-0 lead at the intermission, Cleveland State was able to fight back with wins at 165 and 174. Northwestern’s Kevin Bialka was narrowly defeated, 9-6, at 165 before junior Robert Kellogg, wrestling up a weight class at 174, fell 5-2 to CSU’s Aric Thurn.
Senior Aaron Jones righted the ship at 184 pounds, using a reversal in the second period to nab a 4-0 lead. He extended his advantage in the third with a three-point near-fall and tacked on a riding time point (3:53) to win by an 8-1 decision.
At 197, John Schoen improved to 7-2 this season with a dominating 17-2 tech fall win over Ryan Crabtree, ending the bout at the 6:30 mark with his fifth takedown of the match.
In the final match of the evening, NU heavyweight Ben Kuhar gained a 3-1 lead on the Vikings’ Chris Weber with his takedown in the first minute of the final period. Kuhar couldn’t kill the clock fast enough, however, and Weber got behind Kuhar for the winning `2′ out of a restart with eight seconds remaining, drawing the final score to 32-9 in favor of the Wildcats.
The Wildcats look to extend their winning streak to seven in their next outing, a Sunday afternoon clash with Eastern Michigan on Dec. 12. Start time in Welsh-Ryan Arena is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT.
#11 Northwestern 32, Cleveland State 9
125: #2 Brandon Precin (NU) FALL Ben Willeford (CSU), 2:19 (NU 6, CSU 0)
133: #20 Levi Mele (NU) dec. Nick Flannery (CSU), 6-5 (NU 9, CSU 0)
141: Kaleb Friedley (NU) FALL Josh Paviloda (CSU), 2:19 (NU 15, CSU 0)
149: #6 Andrew Nadhir (NU) maj. dec. Lawrence Cavello (CSU), 13-5 (NU 19, CSU 0)
157: #7 Jason Welch (NU) Tech. Fall Matt Donahoe (CSU), 21-4 (6:58) (NU 24, CSU 0)
165: Rob Michaels (CSU) dec. Kevin Bialka (NU), 9-6 (NU 24, CSU 3)
174: Aric Thurn (CSU) dec. Robert Kellogg (NU), 5-2 (NU 24, CSU 6)
184: Aaron Jones (NU) dec. Nick Anthony (CSU), 8-1 (NU 27, CSU 6)
197: John Schoen (NU) Tech. Fall Ryan Crabtree (CSU), 17-2 (6:30) (NU 32, CSU 6)
285: Chris Weber (CSU) dec. Ben Kuhar (NU), 4-3 (NU 32, CSU 9)
Courtesy of Northwestern Sports Information