Redshirt freshman Jason Tsirtsis made his mark during his first Big Ten Championships tournament, earning the 149-lb. crown March 9 at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin.
Tsirtsis clinched the title with a wire-to-wire 6-2 decision over the Big Ten’s top seed, Jake Sueflohn of Nebraska.
The performance also earned Tsirtsis the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award and a spot on the 2014 All-Big Ten Team.
“I knew I was going to have a battle on my hands,” Tsirtsis said. “I just embraced it and went out and stuck to the game plan.”
Under head coach Drew Pariano, Tsirtsis becomes the second consecutive NU wrestler to win a Big Ten Championship after Jason Welch brought home the 157-lb. conference title in 2013. The ’Cats have recorded a Big Ten champion in six of the last 10 seasons, and Tsirtsis is the 31st different Wildcat to win a Big Ten championship in school history.
Tsirtsis, a freshman from Crown Point, Indiana, led Sueflohn 2-0 one minute into the first period. After an escape by Sueflohn to make it 2-1, Tsirtsis kept the pressure on to rack up the points and close out the match with a 6-2 decision.
As a team, the ’Cats finished No. 9 in the conference with 57 points. Tsirtsis is one of five Northwestern wrestlers to reach the podium in the conference championships. All five will compete at the NCAA Championships.
The NCAA Championships take place March 20–22 in Oklahoma City.