Northwestern wrestler Jason Tsirtsis became the first freshman in school history to win an NCAA wrestling championship.
Tsirtsis (32-3) claimed NU’s first individual NCAA title since 2009 (Jake Herbert 184 lbs) with a 3-1 OT win over Oklahoma State No. 11 seed Joshua Kindig. The Greek-American wrestler is the Wildcats first national champion in the 149 lbs. weight class.
“I don’t think it’s hit me yet that I’m an NCAA champ. I get to keep that claim for the rest of my life. It’s what you work for as a wrestler ever since you set your goals as a little kid,” Tsirtsis said to nusports.com.
“So being out on that center stage, I don’t think the big aspect of importance really hit me. I don’t think it still has. But I think that’s a good thing. I went out there, I was confident, and I wasn’t worried about it being NCAA Finals. I was just focused on winning that match and wrestling tough.”
With Tsirtsis winning the 149 lbs. title, heavyweight McMullan finished No. 3 and first time All-American Harger finished No. 8 at 165 lbs.
The freshman’s win over Kindig (24-9) was Tsirtsis’ third straight decision he’d need to pull out in overtime. After a scoreless first period, Kindig scored first with an escape after starting down in the second period. Tsirtsis tied things up to start the third at 1-1. He held a small 0:36 riding time advantage, but the match reached overtime after a stalling warning. In the extra session, Tsirtsis controlled Kindig and was able to grab both of the Cowboy’s ankles to score a two-point takedown and secure the 3-1 OT win.
Tsirtsis reached the NCAA Championship title bout after winning two consecutive overtime matches. He defeated top-seeded Drake Houdashelt of Missouri in the semifinals and No. 4 seed Kendric Maple of host school Oklahoma in the quarterfinals, both 2-1 decisions in overtime.