Northwestern Wrestling december 2018

Happy New Year, Wildcat Wrestling fans and family! We hope you’ve all had an enjoyable holiday season. 2019 is upon us, but before we turn the page on a new year, let’s revisit the final chapter of 2018. December started off with a bang as the Wildcats traveled out west for the annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. The Cliff Keen tournament is arguably one of the most difficult tournaments outside of the post-season action and it offers us the unique opportunity to wrestle a plethora of teams we wouldn’t normally encounter. We had standout performances from Sebastian Rivera and Ryan Deakin as they dismantled their competition en route to their gold medal performances.

Sebastian demonstrated some serious grit, battling through multiple injuries before concluding his gold medal performance with an electric overtime win over No. 3, Ronnie Bresser, by a score of 6-4.
Ryan Deakin continued his stellar season scoring a total of 46 points and a Fall with wins over multiple ranked opponents securing his CKLV title.

Northwestern finished with the second highest number of champs.

Encouraging as this may be, we believe we have the talent and capability to have all ten of our wrestlers share in the podium ceremony.

No less than five days later, Ryan Deakin cemented his status as the Number 2 ranked wrestler in the country defeating Number 3, Larry Early, by a score of 6-1.

Before dismissing the men for holiday break, we traveled to San Luis Obispo for a pair of duals against Stanford and Cal Poly. With a few of our starters sidelined by injuries, we narrowly missed sweeping both contests but fell short in our match against Stanford 21-15.

Shayne Oster had a thrilling 7-5 victory, avenging a loss from Las Vegas in the match of the night against Stanford. Shayne has made tremendous adjustments and continues to improve on a daily basis.

We wrapped up the day with a 32-16 trouncing defeat over Cal Poly, in which every win came by bonus point margin.

During our time in California, the redshirt first years traveled to beautiful Cleveland, Ohio to compete in their third tournament of the season. The men brought home four medals headlined by Jack Jessen's silver medal performance. Mike DeAugustino prevailed in his bronze medal bout by a score of 4-1 while Erich Byelick lost a heartbreaker in overtime to finish in 4th place. Concluding the group, Jack Heyob finished 3-2 on the day, good enough for a 7th place finish.

Pictured Top Left-Jack Jessen, Bottom Left-Luke Davison and Right-The Human Highlight Reel, Mike DeAugustino.

One topic of criticism that presented itself at the start of the month was our ability to close out contests; separating ourselves in close matches and wrestling through every position. It is critical that we continue to expand our minds and abilities in preparation for March. We saw great improvement in this area last weekend as Wildcat Wrestling posted it’s second highest team finish ever at the 56th annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships.

Along with a team effort that earned the 'Cats a third place finish, Sebastian Rivera and Ryan Deakin continued their unblemished assault on college wrestling en route to their first Midlands titles. In total, 6 Wildcats earned a spot on the podium for placing at the prestigious event.

Rivera tech-falled his way to the finals where he handled returning NCAA Champion, Spencer Lee, by a score of 7-3. Rivera scored three takedowns to Lee’s zero and out scored his opponents 85-16 on the weekend.

A performance good enough to take home the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler and Champion of Champions awards. He was also named the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week and USA Wrestler of the Week.

Ryan Deakin cruised to his first place finish in dominating fashion - posting two falls, a major decision and two decisions on his way to the final where he defeated #6, Kaleb Young, by a score of 6-2.

Conan Jenning’s Cinderella story came to a close in the championship bout, where he lost a narrow 4-3 decision to ASU’s Tanner Hall. This was Jenning’s career best finish at the Midlands.

Yahya Thomas improved upon last year’s Midlands success as he fought his way back to a third place finish after losing to the eventual champion.

First-Year Lucas Davison continues to impress in his redshirt campaign knocking off the #4 ranked wrestler in the nation in his bronze medal bout.

Colin Valdiviez once again showed that he can compete with the best wrestlers in the country as he notched a 7th place finish at 133lbs.

The team gained unmeasurable experience at the Midlands and will look to use this performance to catapult themselves into 2019 as we begin the Big Ten dual season.

Our next home dual will be January 11th at 7 p.m. against top ranked Penn State so mark your calendars and come make some noise at the beautifully renovated Welsh-Ryan Arena.

Our final update comes on behalf of the Wildcat Wrestling Club. Our athletes traveled to Northern Michigan for one of its National Team Training Camps where they were able to gain some crucial greco-specific training with other senior level athletes. The resident athletes, alongside assistant coach, Cody Brewer, will next compete at the Dave Schultz Memorial International Tournament January 24-26, in Colorado Springs.

Pictured (L-R) Resident Athlete Robbie Smith, National Team Coach Andy Bisek, and Resident Athlete Joe Rau.

If you'd like to learn more about the Wildcat Wrestling Club and how it directly impacts the Northwestern Wrestling Team, please check out their website.

As always, thank you for your continued support and may you all have a wonderful 2019.

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