They’ve met on the mat for the 2013 Big Ten conference heavyweight title, then in the finals at the 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. Now familiar foes Tony Nelson of Minnesota and Mike McMullan of Northwestern face off yet again in the heavyweight bout at the 2013 NWCA All-Star Classic, event sponsors announced Tuesday.
In their previous mat meetings in last season finals, Nelson won the conference crown with a 4-1 win over McMullan… then, two weeks later, successfully defended his heavyweight title against the big man from Northwestern, 6-2, at the NCAAs.
Nelson, a redshirt senior from Cambridge, Minn., earned back-to-back Big Ten and NCAA titles in 2012 and 2013. He is the fifth Minnesota wrestler to win an NCAA heavyweight title… and only the second to have grabbed two championships (the other being Cole Konrad, in 2006 and 2007). Nelson, who has compiled a 98-11 overall record as a Golden Gopher, earned Best Male Athlete honors at Minnesota at the end of last season.
A native of wrestling hotbed Easton, Pa., McMullan is a junior who is a two-time NCAA qualifier, earning All-American honors at the 2012 and 2013 national championships. McMullan sports a 41-10 overall record in two seasons as a starter for the Wildcats. He also brings valuable All-Star experience to his match with Nelson; McMullan took on Missouri’s Dom Bradley at last year’s All-Star Classic.
The two big men from the Big Ten confound traditional stereotypes of heavyweight wrestlers. Both Nelson and McMullan have lean-muscled physiques, and quick and agile in action.
Nelson vs. McMullan is the fourth match revealed by the National Wrestling Coaches Association for the 2013 All-Stars. Other bouts already announced include Oregon State’s Taylor Meeks vs. Nelson’s teammate Scott Schiller at 197 pounds… Cornell’s Nahshon Garrett vs. Oklahoma’s Jarrod Patterson at 125… and, an historic a first-ever out-of-weight-class match-up between Ohio State’s Logan Stieber, and Oklahoma’s Kendric Maple at 149 pounds. All these matches – and others to be announced in the coming days -- will take place Nov. 2 at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. just outside Washington, D.C.
An annual fixture on college wrestling schedule since 1967, the NWCA All-Star Classic traditionally features match-ups of the two top wrestlers in each weight class. For the past decade, the event has served as the kickoff for the national college wrestling season.
The 2013 All-Star Classic takes place Saturday, Nov. 2 at 7:15 p.m. Eastern at Patriot Center on the GMU campus in suburban Washington, D.C. To purchase tickets to the event, visit the Ticketmaster website. For more information on the All-Star Classic, visit the NWCA website.
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