Northwestern Wrestling February 2019

We are approaching the apex of the season; a mere three weeks away from an opportunity to accomplish our lifelong goals and cement our legacy within the program.

It has truly been an honor to accompany this band of warriors throughout the season. To help direct and build relationships with this evolving group is something much more. Every day, every week, every month we are growing, whether it be in character or physical development, the growth is constant. The difference between average men and great men is consistency and our effort has been consistent. As coaches, the only thing we care about is our men focusing their effort on the variables they can control and maximizing that level of control. We have had lapses, but with each step backwards come two more forwards.

We had a handful of duals throughout the month of February; four Big Ten opponents and one out of conference contest that I'll get to later.

The 6th ranked Ohio State Buckeyes traveled to Evanston in a match we thought we could steal. Obviously we would need a few things to go our way, but we dropped the dual by a score of 27-15.

Top-ranked Sebastian Rivera earns a major decision against another Big Ten Backup - his fourth BTB of the season.

Redshirt Junior, Alec McKenna, acknowledges the camera after picking up an 8-3 decision.

In the marquee bout of the dual, Ryan Deakin dismantles #6 Ke-Shawn Hayes by a score of 8-0.

Conan Jennings also proved perfect, shutting out his opponent 11-0.

The following weekend we traveled to the Mitten State to take on our Michigan Big Ten rivals.

Sebastian Rivera tops 7th ranked Rayvon Foley by a score of 13-3. However, the Wildcats fell short in a handful of crucial matches that proved costly against their Spartan opponents.

We were once again reminded that no match or wrestler can ever be overlooked. We were forced to refocus and ready ourselves before our competition against the #4 ranked Wolverines two days later.

Conan Jennings gave the Wildcats their first victory as he recorded a thrilling 7-5 decision over #6 Mason Parris. This was The Purple Giant's second win over his Wolverine opponent this year.

In the surprise match of the day, #1 ranked 125 Sebastian Rivera stepped up to wrestle #1 ranked 133 Stevan Micic. Rivera was unable to overcome his adversary but continues to embody the fearless mentality we hope all of our current and future Northwestern wrestlers will embrace. Hats off to Sea Bass for bumping up to challenge himself in the first battle of 1 v 1 wrestlers in the nation this year.

Despite battling a series of injuries and setbacks, Shayne Oster steps up to get the 8-3 decision at 149 lbs.

Does Ryan Deakin ever have an easy match? The #3 ranked sophomore battled back from an early three takedown deficit to secure the 11-9 win over #5 ranked two-time All-American Alec Pantaleo. Deakin avenged a loss from last year's U.S. Open tournament.

We ultimately dropped the dual, but the effort and fire was a great improvement from our Friday match against State.

We looked to continue that momentum into our instate rival dual against #24 Illinois on alumni night. The Wildcats last win over the Illini came nearly a decade ago so it was time to end that draught. We knew there were a handful of swing matches that would be paramount to the overall team score.

Ryan Deakin gets the ‘Cats on the board with a 6-1 win over 13th ranked Eric Barone.

In the third period 165 pounder Tyler Morland stood up displaying his contorted jigsaw finger. He popped that digit back in place and proceeded to have his hand raised after securing the 5-2 decision.

In yet another pivotal match Redshirt Senior, Johnny Sebastian, battles through multiple shoulder injuries to win 10-5 in his final match donning the purple and white. Johnny recently received his first of three shoulder surgeries and will not compete the remainder of the season. Heal up bud, you will be missed.

With the team score knotted up 9-9 and the match score displaying double zeroes, Redshirt Junior Zack Chakonis earns the fall 29 seconds into the second period; a momentous win for the Junior and the Wildcat squad.

Conan Jennings uses a third period escape to take the match and build the Wildcat's lead 18-9.

In the second matchup featuring two ranked wrestlers, phenom Sebastian Rivera uses a hoard of third period takedowns to earn the major decision against number 13 Travis Piotrowski stretching the lead to 13.

In the final match of the night, 141 pounder Alec McKenna secures the 7-4 win, icing the Wildcat's 25-12 victory over the Illini.

The team celebrates Chakonis's impressive second period fall. The Wildcats take the Land of Lincoln battle in dominating fashion.
Huge thanks to all of our alumni and an even bigger thanks to those who made it out for the dual. We hope to continue building upon this wonderful tradition of which you are the pedestal. THANK YOU!

In the final dual of the season, the Wildcats honored their Senior class in the Ryan Fieldhouse. This was the first ever dual meet for the squad on the beautiful turf field. As an added bonus, The Wildcats pummeled SIUE 36-7 in which seven wins came by bonus.

Pictured: top Conan Jennings, left middle Shayne Oster, right middle Tyler Morland, Zack Chakonis, and bottom Colin Valdiviez

We'd like to take a moment to say farewell to our graduating group of Seniors. I am proud to have met and coached each and every one of these individuals. From the entire coaching staff, we wish you all happiness in your approaching journeys.

Next on the schedule, the Wildcats will travel up to Minneapolis, MN for the Big Ten Championships March 9/10. All ten men will look to punch their ticket to NCAA's March 21-23 in Pittsburgh, PA. We are excited for the moments ahead of us and the opportunity to represent the university and bring back some hardware from The Steel City.

In RTC news, Olympian Robby Smith traveled to Hungary to compete in the Hungarian Grand Prix ranking event. Smith opened up with a first round win over his Uzbekistan opponent before falling in the quarterfinals to the eventual bronze medalist from Croatia. Robby's Croatian opponent lost in the semi finals so he was not pulled back into repechage. Repechage is the international equivalent to the consolation rounds. In order to have the opportunity to compete for bronze, your opponent must make it to the championship match.

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. If you'd like to follow the club on a more intimate level, their social media handle is @thewildcatwc.

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