Northwestern Welcomes Nation s Elite for 40th Midlands

By Melissa Wilson | Dec. 27, 2002, 12 a.m. (ET)
EVANSTON, Ill. - The wait is over. The 40th Midlands Championships is here, as Northwestern welcomes more than 40 schools and club teams from around the nation to Welsh-Ryan Arena. Action is set to begin Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Of this year's favorites are Iowa and the Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club. The Hawkeyes, who knocked off top-ranked Minnesota in a dual meet earlier this year, upended the field last season as three wrestlers won individual titles. Iowa State finished second, 24.5 points off the pace. Minnesota, Ohio State and Pennsylvania rounded out the top five. The Sunkist Kids placed 16th in 2001 and are fully loaded this year, as the lineup features wrestlers who have won a combined 18 Midlands individual titles. John Fisher is back after winning four Midlands titles. Chris Bono and Joe Hesket have each won three titles. In addition, Matt Azevedo was a finalist last year at 133 pounds. Joe Williams, a member of the Sunkist Kids wrestling club, is shooting for a record ninth straight Midlands title. Northwestern placed 41st in 2001 and is expecting to improve this year. John Giacche (Flemington, N.J./Blair Academy) reached the round of 16 in 2001 at 141 pounds. Giacche has had a solid start this fall, including a second-place finish at the Northern Iowa Open. More than 350 entrees are expected to make the trip this year, including representatives from approximately 65 schools and clubs from around the nation. Session two is slated for Saturday at 7 p.m. On Sunday, session three is set for noon and session four at 7 p.m.