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Northwestern Wrestling JANUARY 2019

7 weeks... 7 weeks left in the season. It seems like only a moment ago when I sat down to write the first newsletter of the year. The lead month of 2019 has drifted by and with it the first half of the Big Ten Dual Season.

I'm not going to beat around the bush; January was tough. The Big Ten is the deepest conference in the nation, bar none. There is no such thing as a free week, or a free dual, or a free match. Every time you toe that line, it's going to be a battle. You're going to get their best and them yours. It's a hardening process. Iron sharpens Iron. Darwin's Survival of the Fittest epitomized in its most elementary form.

The messages we preach change week to week, but the philosophies and foundations remain the same. We must breathe positive thoughts - there is no room for anything else. Embrace the fight. I can spew out corny sport slogan after corny sport slogan, but these are absolute. The men are listening, and I believe they are hearing. March will tell if it all was resonating.

You want the truth of it all? The truth is, I'm not worried. When you look into their eyes, you can see their conviction. Every practice, every match, every tournament is an opportunity to improve. The opportunities remaining are fleeting and it is imperative we continue to take full advantage of each and every one of them.

But enough of the locker room messages; let's get to the good stuff. January was not all doom and gloom. From the Northwestern squad to the Wildcat Wrestling Club, we've had some wonderful performances. Instead of covering each and every match, I'd like to institute a new rule - Rule (1): Come to the dual. With Rule (1) now currently in effect, I don't have to cover every detail to get you up to speed. I'll just highlight some of the memorable moments. Wonderful!

In our third Big Ten dual of the season we traveled to Madison, Wisconsin to take on the #11 Badgers.

The Wildcats earned bonus points in the first two bouts of the night, but then dropped a pair of their own to lead 10-7.

Ryan Deakin got the 'Cats back on track with a technical fall drubbing at 157.

Johnny Sebastian earns a major decision as each team trades wins all the way up to 197.

With the team score nearly knotted up 19-18, Redshirt Junior Zack Chakonis was able to put the proverbial, "nail in the coffin," stretching the lead to four.

In the final match of the evening and the team leading by 4, #19 ranked Conan Jennings confidently handed his ankle bands to the referee. He knew he could lose and the team would still win, but that wasn't enough for the old junkyard dog. He wanted to win. He had to win. In a hostile environment, and a match that looked to be slipping away, Conan searched his soul for the strength to dig deep. Scoring two points in the final period, The Purple Giant was able to force overtime. He could see his opponent's energy seeping away with every passing moment. The first overtime came and it went. Both wrestlers exchanged glances as they prepared for their ninth minute of wrestling. Conan started off in the bottom position where he earned a crucial stall point against the Wisconsin wrestler. He had wrestled for eight minutes and 30 seconds thus far. 30 seconds was all that stood between him and the thrill of victory. His #9 ranked opponent miraculously stood up but Conan said, "no." He picked up his long-haired, 250 pound nemesis and slammed him to the mat. He would not be denied. As the final ticks of the clock withered away, Conan shot up to a frenzied opposing crowd, hands in the air, cementing the Wildcats 25-18 victory.

Sorry, I may have gotten carried away a bit. Forgive me for the quality of the screenshotted photos. You all deserve excellence and what kind of newsletter would I be running if I let that slide unacknowledged.

Two days later we competed in Evanston against #7 ranked Minnesota.

Sebastian Rivera received his second forfeit of the weekend. Well-earned, I might say.

Ryan Deakin continues his stellar season defeating his #7 ranked opponent 9-4

Redshirt First Year, Tyler Morland, continues to build from his injury with an impressive 9-7 overtime win.

In our final dual of January, Sebastian Rivera and Ryan Deakin continued to showcase their excellence against the 4th ranked Iowa Hawkeyes. Rivera earned the 11-1 major decision and Deakin closed out his bout 6-1 in front of a crowd of 1700.

In RTC (Regional Training Center) news, The Wildcat Wrestling Club sent a handful of men to compete at the Dave Schultz Memorial International Event in Colorado Springs, CO.

The Dave Schultz tournament is littered with former World Team Members, National Champs, and All Americans so it was an excellent opportunity to compete at a high level especially for our young bucks.

In our first day of action, Assistant Coach Cody Brewer made quick work of his opposition tech-falling every individual he faced within the first period. He took home the Gold Medal and a heaping of confidence.

In the Greco Division, Joe Rau went 4-1 on the day taking home a bronze medal in the process. But that wasn't enough for the wily veteran wrestler. He decided to compete the next day in the freestyle division dropping his bronze medal bout in a wild 20-17 match. For the record, double-styling is almost never heard of at the Senior Level. Congrats Joe!

Redshirt First Year Lucas Davison, aka The Big Tuna, came back from a six point deficit winning 8-8 in his bronze medal bout; an amazing performance at such a high level for the Redshirt First Year.

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.

Our next home dual will be this Sunday, February 3rd at 12 p.m against #6 Ohio State. The dual will take place in the Welsh-Ryan Arena. We hope to see you all there!

Alumni Night will take place Friday, February 15, for our dual against Illinois. The dual will begin at 7 p.m. The pre-match social starts at 5 p.m. in the Wilson Club located in the Welsh-Ryan Arena. This event is free to all alumni. Following our dual, the post-match social will run until 11 p.m. Please feel free to bring your friends for some cold beverages and great wrestling.

Our final update is on behalf of our departing Senior Class. We will honor these young men in our last home dual of the season on February 23, at 2 p.m. The dual will take place at the Ryan Fieldhouse against SIUE. Please, show your support and help send off this Senior Class as they look to embark on their next journey.

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