Jason Tsirtsis First Freshman in School History to Win NCAA Wrestling Championship


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.