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Wrestling: Northwestern goes winless in January

The ‘Cats have lost five straight matches to kick off 2024.

John Konstantaras/Northwestern Athletics

January was a month to forget for Northwestern wrestling.

After a solid showing at the Ken Kraft Midlands tournament to conclude 2023, the Wildcats headed to College Park on Jan. 14 to take on Maryland in their first Big Ten matchup of the year. Massey Odioti shone in his first in-conference match, and Maxx Mayfield notched an impressive win of his own, but NU ultimately fell to the Terrapins 29-15.

Unfortunately, that’s about as competitive as things would get for Northwestern. After a Jan. 20 match against Illinois was postponed, the ‘Cats hosted No. 6 Nebraska for their home opener. Trevor Chumbley forced an impressive third-period comeback to win his match 8-5. But he would be the only Wildcat to emerge victorious that day, as the team lost 39-3.

On Jan. 28, Northwestern welcomed in No. 3 Iowa in an absolute disaster of a match. NU lost 46-0, failing to win a single contest on the day. However, the team showed some steady improvements in last Friday’s contest against Wisconsin. Though the Badgers won 30-12, three Northwestern wrestlers — Chumbley, Evan Bates, and Jack Jessen — were able to rack up victories.

Regrettably, the indications of progress demonstrated during the Wisconsin match did not translate to Sunday’s match against No. 10 Minnesota. Just like against Iowa, Northwestern was completely shut out by the Golden Gophers, losing 39-0 after every team member dropped his match.

With the loss to Minnesota, Northwestern sits at 0-6 on the season heading into February. Next up on the docket for the ‘Cats is a match against Purdue, which will take place this Friday at Welsh-Ryan Arena. The competition is set to begin at 7 p.m. CT, and it can be viewed on Big Ten Plus.