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Minnesota tops Northwestern, 26-12, but McMullan beats hwt. champ Nelson

Slide from ESPN's 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships shows heavyweight finals rivals Mike McMullan of Northwestern (left) and Minnesota's Tony Nelson
Slide from ESPN's 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships shows heavyweight finals rivals Mike McMullan of Northwestern (left) and Minnesota's Tony Nelson

Second-ranked University of Minnesota defeated Big Ten rival No. 16 Northwestern, 26-12, at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill. Friday night… but the biggest news was in a battle of the big men, as Wildcat heavyweight Mike McMullan upset defending champ Tony Nelson.

The two are familiar foes, having wrestled each other three times in 2012-13, including for the Big Ten and NCAA heavyweight titles last season, with Nelson coming out on top in all three matches. The two also faced off against each other at the 2013 NWCA All-Star Classic in November; although an exhibition that does not officially count towards a wrestler's record, Nelson edged McMullan, 2-1 TB.

Nelson, top-ranked in the 285-pound weight class, put the first points on the board with an escape in the first period. No. 8 ranked McMullan tied the score with an escape in the second period. After no scoring in the third period, the match was tied 1-1 at the end of regulation. In the first overtime, McMullan scored a quick takedown on the two-time NCAA heavyweight champ, getting a 3-1 sudden victory win… and handing Nelson his first loss of the season.

Despite Nelson’s loss, the Gophers were still able to win six of ten matches, with bonus points being a factor in four of those victories. Minnesota got major decision wins from David Thorn at 133 pounds, and from Kevin Steinhaus at 184… while two from the visiting squad pinned their Wildcat opponents: 157-pounder Brandon Kingsley, and, at 197, Scott Schiller.

In addition to Mike McMullan’s upset win at heavyweight, Northwestern scored victories from 125-pounder Garrison White, and Lee Munster at 174.

With the win, Minnesota rises to 5-0 for the season, while Northwestern is now 3-2.

Match Results

  • 125: Garrison White (Northwestern) dec. Jordan Kingsley (Minnesota), 6-0
  • 133: David Thorn (Minnesota) maj. dec. Dominick Malone (Northwestern), 16-5
  • 141: Chris Dardanes (Minnesota) dec. Pat Greco (Northwestern), 3-2
  • 149: Nick Dardanes (Minnesota) dec. Jason Tsirtsis (Northwestern), 5-3
  • 157: Brandon Kingsley (Minnesota) pinned Dylan Marriott (Northwestern), 1:00
  • 165: Pierce Harger (Northwestern) dec. Danny Zilverberg (Minnesota), 7-5
  • 174: Lee Munster (Northwestern) dec. Alec Ortiz (Minnesota), 4-1
  • 184: Kevin Steinhaus (Minnesota) maj. dec. Jacob Berkowitz (Northwestern), 14-5
  • 197: Scott Schiller (Minnesota) pinned Alex Polizzi (Northwestern), 4:05
  • Hwt: Mike McMullan (Northwestern) dec. Tony Nelson (Minnesota), 3-1 SV 1

Want to know more? Read the individual recaps from the official Minnesota wrestling website, and from Northwestern.

About the photo: This image from the ESPN telecast of the 2013 NCAA Division I finals shows Northwestern's Mike McMullan in his singlet, while Minnesota's Tony Nelson is shown bare-chested, in fight shorts. According to an NCAA runner-up who was shown shirtless, all finalists were photographed by ESPN in singlets and fight shorts, then the sports network selected the images used. Both McMullan and Nelson are among the new breed of lean-muscled heavyweights.

Take a look back... Check out College Wrestling Examiner's list Top Ten Stories of 2013.

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