NORFOLK, Va. -- Northwestern wrestling started its dual season as strong as possible on Sunday, picking up wins against Old Dominion and Gardner-Webb at the Jim Jarrett Gymnasium.
The more dramatic dual win of the two was NU's 17-16 squeaker over Old Dominion. Trailing 16-6 after the 174 lb. bout, the Wildcats won three-straight -- including two by major decision -- to top ODU by one point.
In that dual, all four of the Wildcats' ranked wrestlers won their matchups. Additionally, redshirt sophomore Zack Chakonis (197 lbs.) notched a 3-2 decision that kept Northwestern's winning hopes alive.
With NU needing at least a major decision to take a one-point win over Old Dominion, redshirt junior heavyweight Conan Jennings came in clutch. The 14th-ranked wrestler in the nation dominated ODU's Ali Wahab from the beginning, netting a 6-0 advantage after only one period. He held on to record the 8-0 major decision, giving the Wildcats their second dual win of the day.
Earlier in the morning, Northwestern easily handled Gardner-Webb, winning 37-3. Nine of 10 Wildcat wrestlers won in the match, including two pins, a tech fall, and two major decisions. First-year Colin Valdiviez (133 lbs.) took only 1:44 to pin his first-ever collegiate opponent, while #9 Ryan Deakin pinned Gardner-Webb's Joby Armenta in 3:25 to give NU a 19-0 advantage.
#17 Mitch Sliga posted one of the more impressive performances of the day against Gardner-Webb, a 16-0 tech fall in only three minutes. Impressively, he posted a tech fall and a major decision in his two bouts on Sunday. #12 Sebastian Rivera (125 lbs.) also went two-for-two in his first collegiate event, including a major decision win against GWU.
The Wildcats wrestle again next Sunday, Nov. 19, at the Keystone Classic in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Northwestern 37, Gardner-Webb 3
125: #12 Sebastian Rivera (NU) maj. dec. Keegan Duncan (GWU), 12-2 | NU 4, GWU 0
133: Colin Valdiviez (NU) Fall Philip Anderson (GWU), (1:44) | NU 10, GWU 0
141: Alec McKenna (NU) dec. Denton Spencer (GWU), 6-0 | NU 13, GWU 0
149: #9 Ryan Deakin (NU) Fall Joby Armenta (GWU), (3:25) | NU 19, GWU 0
157: Tyler Marinelli (GWU) dec. Shayne Oster (NU), 8-4 | NU 19, GWU 3
165: Michael Sepke (NU) maj. dec. Josh Walker (GWU), 12-3 | NU 23, GWU 3
174: Johnny Sebastian (NU) dec. Christian Maroni (GWU), 8-2 | NU 26, GWU 3
184: #17 Mitch Sliga (NU) Tech. Fall Cole Graves (GWU), 16-0 (3:00) | NU 31, GWU 3
197: Zack Chakonis (NU) dec. Anthony Perrine (GWU), 9-5 | NU 34, GWU 3
285: #14 Conan Jennnings (NU) dec. Lathan Bumgarner (GWU), 9-2 | NU 37, GWU 3
Northwestern 17, Old Dominion 16
125: #12 Sebastian Rivera (NU) dec. Michael McGee (ODU), 8-3 | NU 3, ODU 0
133: Caleb Richardson (ODU) dec. Colin Valdiviez (NU), 8-2 | NU 3, ODU 3
141: Alex Madrigal maj. dec. (ODU) Alec McKenna (NU), 12-1 | ODU 7, NU 3
149: #9 Ryan Deakin (NU) dec. Kenan Carter (ODU), 5-3 | ODU 7, NU 6
157: #20 Larry Early (ODU) dec. Shayne Oster (NU), 8-5 | ODU 10, NU 6
165: Luke Drugac (ODU) dec. Michael Sepke (NU), 6-1 | ODU 13, NU 6
174: Seldon Wright (ODU) dec. Johnny Sebastian (NU), 3-2 | ODU 16, NU 6
184: #17 Mitch Sliga (NU) maj. dec. Dean Drugac (ODU), 14-4 | ODU 16, NU 10
197: Zack Chakonis (NU) dec. Noah Bushman (ODU), 3-2 | ODU 16, NU 13
285: #14 Conan Jennings (NU) maj. dec. Ali Wahab (ODU), 8-0 | NU 17, ODU 16