Northwestern wrestling has emerged as one of the strongest programs in the NU athletic department, notching eight top 20 finishes in the past nine seasons. This run includes three individual national championships, multiple individual Big Ten championships and numerous All-Americans. Head coach Drew Pariano helped to sustain the momentum by signing a highly regarded recruiting class on Wednesday. The group includes three members who ranked No. 1 in the nation in their weight class, plus a state champion from Ohio.
Johnny Sebastian (Bergen Catholic High School, New Jersey): Amateur Wrestling News’ #1 ranked 182 pound HS wrestler in the nation
Sebastian was recruited by every major program in the nation. His Wednesday night commitment was such a big deal that it was covered live online by New Jersey media. You can see a recording of his commitment here. Sebastian, a two-time state champion in high school, chose NU over other Big Ten powers such as Minnesota, Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan.
Stevan Micic (Hanover Central HS, Indiana) AWN’s #1 ranked HS wrestler in the US at 120 lbs.
Micic is a two-time state champion in Indiana, and has accumulated a 95-0 record during the past two seasons. He earned the 119 lb. FILA Cadet freestyle championship in May. Micic chose NU over Ohio State, Iowa, Harvard, and Illinois.
Bryce Brill (Mt. Carmel HS, Illinois) AWN’s #1 ranked wrestler at 152 lbs.
Brill is a two-time state champion in Illinois, and is ranked as the third best overall recruit in the nation. He won the 2012 Junior Freestyle National Championship, losing only one period in nine matches at the event. Brill committed to Northwestern in the spring in 2011 during his freshman year of high school.
Sam Gross (Beachwood HS, Ohio)
Gross won the Ohio State Champioship during his sophomore year. He finished third in the state during his freshman and junior seasons. In addition, he wrestled overseas in the Maccabiah Games this past summer in Israel. He won the Freestyle Wrestling at 60 kilograms (132 pounds) gold medal at that event. Gross is expected to compete at 133 lbs. for the Wildcats.
This class continues a strong recruiting trend for Northwestern under Drew Pariano. Pariano, a former Wildcat wrestler, returned to Evanston in 2005 as an assistant coach, then took the head coaching job in 2010. As an assistant he was the lead recruiter for future NU All-Americans such as Brandon Precin and Jason Welch. As head coach, he landed Jason Tsirtsis in 2012. Tsirtsis, now a redshirt freshman, was a four-time Indiana State Champion and among the most sought after recruits in the nation. The current Wildcat team, currently undefeated, is preparing for its Big Ten opening match this Sunday at Nebraska.