EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern senior Jason Welch captured his second Midlands title at the 50th Ken Kraft Midlands Championships Sunday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Wrestling in the 157 lbs. finals for the second time in as many years, top-seeded Welch shut out No. 3 seed Joey Napoli of Lehigh, 4-0, to capture back-to-back titles.
The Walnut Creek, Calif., native joins elite company as he is just the third Northwestern wrestler to win two Midlands titles. Jake Herbert won three titles for the Wildcats in 2004, 2005 and 2008 while Brandon Precin captured two in 2008 and 2010.
Welch was one of eight Northwestern wrestlers to place at this year's Midlands. Sophomore Lee Munster finished fifth at 174 lbs. after a medical forfeit for Michigan's Dan Yates and fellow sophomore Mike McMullan also placed fifth at heavyweight with a medical forfeit to Central Michigan's Jarod Trice.
Sophomore Alex Polizzi placed eighth at 197 lbs. in his first trip to the Midlands and true freshman Jason Tsirtsis, who wrestled unattached, also took eighth at 141 lbs.
Welch was a perfect 5-0 at Midlands with three shutouts, including his finals bout against Napoli. He took the 2-0 lead with a takedown late in the third period and rode Napoli for the entire second period to carry the 2-0 lead and 2:01 of riding time into the third. Welch started the final period down, registered an escape and hung on for the 4-0 win with 1:57 of riding time.
With the win, Welch now has 98 career victories, needing two more to reach the 100-win milestone. He also posted his 25th career victory at Midlands in his fifth year of competition at the tournament.
Complete results can be found in the bracket link up top and finals results, along with award winners, are listed below.