By Northwestern Athletics
CLEVELAND — Redshirt first-year Sebastian Rivera won his Round of 12 matchup on Friday night at the Quicken Loans Arena and became the 40th Wildcat wrestler to earn All-American honors in school history.
Rivera is the first Northwestern All-American since 2015, when current assistant coach Mike McMullan and Jason Tsirtsis earned the honors. Rivera is also the highest-seeded Wildcat to become an All-American since a 10th-seeded McMullan finished in third place in 2012.
The Jackson, New Jersey, native earned the 68th overall All-America honor in NU history and becomes the fifth 125-pound Wildcat to earn the status, joining Brandon Precin (2008-09, 2011), John Velez (2006), Ralph Lupton (1928), and Bryan Hines (1924).
He also beat ninth-seeded Ronnie Bresser of Oregon State in the consolation quarterfinals and will wrestle No. 2 Nathan Tomasello of Ohio State tomorrow morning. The winner will wrestle for third place.
“It feels awesome. Listening to Cody [Brewer], and Matt [Storniolo], and [Andrew] Howe, and [Mike] McMullan all year, [saying] that, ‘This is going to happen,’ and for it to happen and make them proud and give Northwestern a name, I couldn’t be more stoked,” Rivera said after his win.
Rivera started his bout against Virginia’s Louie Hayes, the 14th-ranked wrestler in the nation, with a very quick takedown and rode out the Cavalier wrestler for the rest of the period.
“I knew that [Hayes] didn’t have anything on his feet and he couldn’t get out from bottom,” Rivera said. “I knew I was going to dominate the rest of the match and so I went down there and got my riding time … and continued to score.”
Rivera continued to score points against Hayes, finishing with a commanding, 8-0 major decision to earn his All-American honor.
Against Bresser, Rivera used many of the same tactics that he did against Hayes, including an early takedown and amassing a wide riding time advantage. A late point-scoring flurry gave Rivera a 12-2 major decision over the 10th-ranked 125-pounder in the nation.
Session V begins on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. CT and will be broadcast on ESPNU.
Round of 12
125: (10) Sebastian Rivera (NU) maj. dec. (12) Louie Hayes (Virginia), 8-0
125: (10) Sebastian Rivera (NU) maj. dec. (9) Ronnie Bresser (Oregon State), 12-2