Northwestern Wrestling NOVEMBER, 2018

Ladies and gentleman, the season is upon us! November has been quite the roller coaster, but the men have risen to the occasion and brought with it Northwestern's first defeat over a top 10 team in nearly a decade. Walt Disney once said, "you may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you." It took a kick in the teeth to get us there, but the men responded and responded admirably.

The first weekend of November was action-packed as the first years traveled to East Lansing to compete in the MSU Open, while the starters traveled to Fargo, ND for its opener against the Bison. In the open division, Jack Jessen premiered the first year party with a bronze medal, while high-flier Mike DeAugustino finished in 6th. Closing out the group, Matt Vinci lost a heart breaker, 6-4, in his bronze medal bout in the Fr/So Division. This was an extremely tough test event for the first year crew, but each one of them fought arduously.

800 miles away, the starters composed themselves knowing the first dual of the season would be a grueling contest without All-American Sebastian Rivera. Regardless, we believed we had the firepower to bring home the "W," but lost some key swing matches on some highly questionable calls, dropping the dual 26-17. In the "not all bad news" category, we had some bright moments like when redshirt freshman Yahya Thomas secured a fall in just over a minute to narrow the margin to 3.

Ryan Deakin continued to do Ryan Deakin things, registering a major decision and racking up five takedowns in the process. Senior Johnny Sebastian avenged a loss in a gutsy 13-8 decision. The big fella, Conan Jennings, capped it off with a 12-0 major decision, scoring 11 points off tilts in the third period. We left Fargo dismayed, but not discouraged.

We sent a caravan of guys down to the Lindenwood Open for a developmental competition.

This was an amazing experience for me, because I was fortunate enough to travel with the team and watch most of them compete for the first time this season. It was an honor to share that moment with them and build new relationships in the process. Everyone came to battle which is all we can ask for as coaches. In the Fr/So division, Matt Vinci brought home his second medal of the year finishing in 5th place, while Jack Tolin and Jack Heyob finished with the bronze and silver, respectively. In the open division, Jack Jessen finished in 6th while Alec McKenna and Erich Byelick both wrestled back for 5th. In his first competition of the season, Luke Davison had a phenomenal showing falling to a two-time All-American from Missouri, 7-3 in the finals.

We had some outstanding performances and showed some serious grit in our first home dual of the season. We knew we could could win, but knowing something and doing something are two different animals. We would need someone to step up and that's what we got.

The Wildcats were excited to welcome back #2, Sebastian Rivera, to the lineup as he christened the newly renovated Welsh-Ryan arena with a 19-6 victory.

Yahya Thomas improved to 2-0 on the season scrapping through a hard fought 2-1 decision.

Junior, Shayne Oster, battled through multiple foreboding takedown attempts before knocking out #13, Ryan Blees, in the second overtime in what became the pivotal swing match of the dual.

Ryan Deakin continued the momentum in a 14-7 decision increasing the Wildcats' lead to 13-3.

Johnny Sebastian scores a takedown near the edge securing the 6-1 decision.

And finally, The Purple Giant, Conan Jennings, cements the 'Cats victory with a commanding 12-0 major decision!

In unrelated news, The Wildcats were relieved Coach Howe did not suffer a mild aneurysm during this dual.

This weekend, the men get ready to compete at the annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. Headlining the Wildcats are Sebastian Rivera with the one seed while Ryan Deakin and Conan Jennings earned two seeds. Four other Wildcats received top 13 seeds. We are eager for the opportunity to compete and go to battle once again.

Meanwhile, The Wildcat Wrestling Club celebrated some historic milestones this month!

Resident athlete, Robby Smith and his beautiful wife Kelly "hang loose," in Hawaii following their wedding ceremony
Resident athlete Joe Rau techs his way through the SA Lavrikov Cup in St. Petersburg Russia while also earning USA Wrestling's Athlete of the Week Honors. This medal is The Wildcat Wrestling Club's first gold medal of the season.

If you're interested in learning more about the Wildcat Wrestling Club and how it directly impacts the Northwestern Wrestling Team, please check out their website.

Before I wrap up, I'd like to thank each and every one of you for your continued support in this program. We believe in what we are doing here and hope to continue building upon this wonderful tradition. Our next home dual will be next Friday, December 7th, at 12 p.m. in Patten Gymnasium. We hope to see you there!

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