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Northwestern non-revenue sports update: Winter sports looks to get into swing of things

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This is the second non-revenue update of the winter sport season; not a lot has happened since our last one. Both swimming teams have yet to return to action, as are both tennis team.

Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Swimming

The women's swimming team is still off for winter break and thier next competition will be Saturday, Jan. 16. But don't worry, there is still action to catch up on from before break started: the team was in Boca Raton on Dec. 19 for the FAU FUN Invite. The Wildcats were most likely the team having the most fun as they easily notched a first-place finish over Northern Arizona, Maryland and the hosts Florida Atlantic. Collectively, the team earned 12 first-place finishes in different events, with many other Wildcats finishing in the top-five of events, as well. Singaporean Annika Winsnes took home three first-place medals on her own, in the 400 free, 50 free and 200 free. She was also part of the 200 free relay team which finished first, along with Julia Pratt, Mary Warren and Maddy Sims. Pratt also had a nice meet. In addition to the first-place relay finish, she earned another gold in the 50 fly and finished second in the 50 free, behind Winsnes.

Winsnes performance at FUN Invite was impressive enough to earn her Swimmer of the Week award in the Big Ten, while fellow Wildcat Alex Grimes won Freshman of the Week. It was both of their first Big Ten weekly honors.

Men's swimming has not had any action since the last update, but returns this weekend, as well, traveling to South Bend to take on Notre Dame Saturday.

Wrestling

The wrestling team has had two events since the winter quarter started here at Northwestern. One went well, while the other, not so well. Let's start with the better result. Right before the New Year, the 53rd annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships were held at Welsh-Ryan Arena and the Wildcats defended their home, with redshirt junior Jason Tsirtsis finishing second after a sudden victory loss in the championship against Iowa's Brandon Sorensen, while senior Dominick Malone finished fifth in his weight class. The team finished ninth overall with 61 points.

Now, the not so good result. Sorensen and Iowa came to Evanston again on Sunday and creamed Northwestern, 54-0. The Wildcats lost with five falls, a forfeit and one default due to injury. The default came in the most anticipated match of the day, a rematch of the Midlands final, Tsirtsis vs. Sorensen.

The team hosts Penn State next Sunday in their next match.

Fencing

The fencing team has only had one competition since the last update: traveling to St. Louis for the North American Cup, which took place from Jan. 8 to Jan. 11.

The team performed well, especially given the talent of the other teams competing. Seniors Juliana Barrett and Courtney Dumas both earned top-40 finishes in the Women's Epee weapon group, with the former going 7-2 while the later went 6-2. In the Junior Women's Epee group, sophomore Katie Van Riper and freshman Ella Lombard both made it to the Division 1 Women's Epee group, where Van Riper won three matches. The team sent 19 fencers in total to the competition.

Tennis

The women's tennis team begins winter action this week, hosting Wildcat Duals Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Meanwhile, the men's team starts its winter season next week and beings the season just outside the Top 25, at No. 26. However, the team did have three singles teams and one doubles team recognized in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's first rankings for 2016. Junior Konrad Zieba begins the year No. 16 after a fall season in which he finished 7-2, including five wins over ranked opponents. Fellow junior Sam Shropshire checks in at No. 50 while Strong Kirchheimer comes in at No. 55. Kirchheimer's doubles team with senior Fedor Baev is also recognized, beginning the year ranked No. 52.