Northwestern Wrestling Family,

One month down and we are officially in the thick of things now. Our first-year guys already have two tournaments under their belts and have shown tremendous success thus far.

NCAA Qualifier Colin Valdiviez wrestled this past weekend at the Cyclone Open, using a technical fall and an 8-2 decision before dropping a close 6-4 match in the finals.

149 pounder Trevor Chumbley is 7-3 on the season with a bronze medal performance at the MSU Open. Trevor then competed at the Cyclone Open where he dropped his first round match against All-American Jarrett Degen 11-7 before clawing his way back to a fifth place finish.

Blair Academy Alum Chris Cannon is coming off back to back gold-medal performances at both tournaments in the frosh division and is a perfect 7-0 on the season.

After an injury sidelined him from the first tournament, Troy Fisher bounced back with a fourth place finish at the Cyclone Open... Fun Fact about Troy - we recently started a competition of farmer's carries using two 45-pound flat edge plates in which Troy is the only member of the prestigious "Down-and-Back Club." Troy owes his success in part to carrying pails of milk in the six years he worked on a dairy farm. Translation - Troy is strong.

Justin Benjamin has some momentum after a recent gold-medal performance at the Cyclone Open at 133 pounds. Justin is our resident "crypto" expert if any of you are considering adopting Bitcoin in the near future.

Our final medalist from the first-year class was California-native Ankhaa Enkhmadakh who finished in fifth place at the MSU Open in the frosh division on a 4-2 record. Today, I asked Ankhaa how he was enjoying this lovely Chicago weather to which he replied, “I hate it,” and jogged away. A man of few words, I fear he was not kidding.

The starting 10 were busy preparing for their match with #11 Virginia Tech. Last year, we were able to upset the then #10 Hokies at Welsh-Ryan Arena. This year, we knew entering our match that it would be another tight contest, relying upon bonus points and swing matches.

The match certainly did not disappoint from a fan's perspective, however the Wildcats fell short, 21-18, in a match that had nine lead-changes.

The Wildcats split five matches to five with major decision wins from All-Americans Sebastian Rivera, Ryan Deakin, and Junior World Team Member Yahya Thomas. Other notable performances came from Junior World Silver Medalist Luke Davison as he overcame a hostile crowd in his first match donning the purple. Possibly the most electric match of the day came from returning National Qualifier Tyler Morland as he competed at 174 pounds, up a weight class from last year. The redshirt-sophomore battled through a handful of deep leg attacks and walked away with a 6-1 victory.

Up next for the Wildcats wrestlers is a home contest featuring #9 University of Northern Iowa. The Panthers return two All-Americans and a handful of other NCAA qualifiers. We expect this to be another awesome opportunity for each one of our 10 starters as they take the mat this Sunday at 5 pm at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

On that note, it's not too late to lock in your season tickets to support our men. We have already sold 500 season tickets and would like to reach 600 before the season starts. Please follow this link to support the Wildcats and see some great wrestling. Following every dual meet, there will be a post-match social to slurp down some beverages and hang with some familiar faces. The cost of entry is $10 to help offset food and snacks, and drink tickets will be available for purchase as well.

In RTC news, we have three athletes competing in the upcoming Bill Farrell Memorial in New York City this Friday and Saturday. World Team member Joe Rau will be competing on Friday at 87 kilograms alongside Lucas Sheridan in the 97 kg weight class. Recent-addition Ben Whitford takes the mat for the first time representing the Wildcat Wrestling Club this Saturday. Competition starts at 9:30 am ET Friday so be on the lookout for results.

Thank you for taking the time to support our Wildcat wrestlers and I hope to see you all this Sunday!