Trio of Wildcats Win Big Ten Titles
Lang, Herbert and Tamillow give NU three champions for first time since 1931
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Northwestern captured three titles at the 2007 Big Ten Championships as Ryan Lang (North Royalton, Ohio/St. Edward), Jake Herbert (Wexford, Pa./North Allegheny) and Mike Tamillow (Oak Park, Ill./Fenwick) all reigned supreme in their respective weight classes. NU will send six wrestlers to the NCAA Championships.
Herbert's title is his second while Lang and Tamillow won their first Big Ten championships. Herbert was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler as Northwestern finished sixth with 84 points.
NU will send six wrestlers to the 2007 NCAA Championships as Dustin Fox (Galion, Ohio/Galion) finished third at heavyweight and Brandon Precin (Orland Park, Ill./Carl Sandburg) and Nick Hayes (Council Bluffs, Iowa/Lewis Central) finished seventh at 125 and 174 lbs., respectively.
In the 141 lbs. final, the second-seeded Lang took on Wisconsin's fifth-seeded Kyle Ruschell.
After early hand-fighting, Lang landed one of his first shots for a two-point, double-leg takedown just over halfway through the first period. The Wildcat took a two-point lead into the second frame.
Lang started down in the second and needed 15 seconds to land a two-point reversal for a 4-0 lead. Ruschell scored an escape to close to 4-1 with 30 seconds remaining in the second and put both grapplers neutral. No more points were scored in the second and Lang maintained a 4-1 lead going into the third period.
Lang held a three-point lead and a healthy riding time advantage to start the third, and he did not surrender another point en route to his first Big Ten title. The top-ranked Lang notched a 5-1 decision over Kyle Ruschell to remain undefeated at 25-0.
After topping No. 4 seed Tyrel Todd of Michigan in the semifinals, the top-ranked and top-seeded Herbert took to the mat against second-seeded and second-ranked Roger Kish of Minnesota in one of the most anticipated bouts of the tournament.
The two danced around for most of the first period, but it was Kish who took the first shot. Herbert countered and no points were scored.
It was the Wildcat who scored first with a swift two-point takedown with 20 seconds remaining in the first. Herbert rode Kish for the rest of the frame and maintained a two-point advantage going into the second.
Herbert started down to begin the second and he freed himself from Kish's grasp in less than 15 seconds, forcing the wrestlers to neutral with Herbert leading 3-0. Kish took another shot toward the end of the second period, but Herbert defended again to keep his three-point advantage.
It appeared Herbert had added to his lead with a takedown on the edge of the mat, but the original call by the official was overturned and the match stayed at 3-0 as time had expired in the period.
With the wrestlers neutral to start the third, Herbert dove in to score his second takedown of the match and with a violation by Kish, the Wildcat extended his lead to 6-0 and started the next part of the period on top.
Kish escaped to close to 6-1 with one minute remaining, but Herbert scored another takedown at the end of the third and captured his second Big Ten title -- Northwestern's second of the tournament -- with an 8-1 decision. With the win, Herbert remains undefeated at 26-0.
Tamillow faced J.D. Bergman in his 197-pound final match and struck first with a two-point takedown after one minute had elapsed. Tamillow continued to dominate the first period, scoring a three-point near-fall at the halfway mark.
Bergman escaped to close to 5-1 with 40 seconds remaining in the first and he notched a takedown to make the score 5-3 with just under 20 seconds remaining in the period. Tamillow reversed to extend his lead to 7-3 and maintained the four-point advantage heading to the second.
Tamillow escaped quickly to start the second and opened up an 8-3 cushion. The Wildcat, determined to win NU its third Big Ten title, scored another takedown to pull ahead 10-3. Bergman escaped late and the Wildcat led 10-4 moving into the final stanza.
Tamillow managed his lead in the third period and captured his first Big Ten title with an 11-5 decision -- giving NU three Big Ten champions for the first time since 1931.
Besides the three champions, three other Northwestern wrestlers had notable success on the second day of the championships.
In his consolation semifinal match, Fox topped Wisconsin's fifth-seeded Kyle Massey by a 5-3 decision. The junior scored his first points with a reversal in the second period and added to his lead with a late takedown in the third.
In his next match, Fox used an escape in overtime to overcome fifth-seeded Matt Fields of Iowa and capture third place.
Precin, a true freshman, punched his ticket to the NCAA Championships when he pinned Ohio State's Will Livingston in the first period of their seventh-place bout.
Precin scored a takedown early and after riding the Buckeye for most of the first frame, he finally turned him.
The freshman kept his opponent slightly off his back for nearly 30 seconds before the referee declared the fall. The win was Precin's 31st of the season.
Sixth-seeded Hayes also secured entry into the NCAA Championships with a seventh-place finish at 174 lbs.
The junior downed Illinois' eighth-seeded Matt Winterhalter with a 4-2 decision. Hayes scored an early takedown, added an escape and built a healthy riding time cushion to secure the win.
All six of the aforementioned Wildcats will return to Michigan for the NCAA Championships in Auburn, Mich. from March 15-17.
#2 Lang dec. #5 Ruschell (WIS), 5-1
#1 Herbert dec. #2 Kish (MINN), 8-1
#2 Tamillow dec. #4 Bergman (OSU), 11-5
#3 Fox dec. #5 Fields (Iowa), 2-1 (OT)
#3 Fox (NU) dec. #5 Massey (WIS), 5-3
#6 Precin (NU) fall Livingston (OSU), 2:32
#6 Hayes (NU) dec. #8 Winterhalter (ILL), 4-2
More Northwestern Articles:
> Three Wildcats Set to Wrestle for Big Ten Titles
> Session One Complete at Big Ten Wrestling Championships
> 'Cats Hungry for Titles at Big Ten Wrestling Championships