Jason Tsirtsis is taken off where he left off at Crown Point.
Now a redshirt freshman at Northwestern, the four-time high school state champion is a perfect 9-0 on the season for the No. 10 Wildcats. Tsirtsis, who wrestles at 149 pounds, won the championship at the Keystone Classic at the University of Pennsylvania on Nov. 24.
Tsirtsis went 4-0 in the tournament to claim his weight title as Northwestern finished third among 12 teams. Tsirtsis continues to climb the national ladder at 149; he was ranked No. 11 in the Amateur Wrestling News’ preseason poll and has moved all the way up to third. There are only juniors and seniors among the rest of the wrestlers ranked in the top 10 in his weight class.
Tsirtsis redshirted during the 2012-13 season and had an impressive first year, going 18-3 while wrestling unattached. He won three of the four tournaments he was in and was eighth at 141 pounds at last year’s Midlands. Tsirtsis represented the United States at the 2013 FILA Junior World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria in August. He went 2-1 at 145.5 pounds (66 kg) and was seventh overall.
* Oklahoma’s Andrew Howe (Hanover Central) still mans the No. 1 spot at 174 pounds in the AWN poll. The senior standout, who won a national title at Wisconsin in 2010, is 6-0 on the season.
Alabama State’s Kourtney Berry (Merrillville) was named the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Newcomer of the Year and also received first team All-SWAC honors at linebacker.
The 6-foot, 215-pound Berry had a team-leading 107 tackles (57 solo, 48 assists) in 11 games. He also added seven sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss, one interception, two fumble recoveries, three pass breakups and two quarterback hurries. He was also selected as a nominee for the Jerry Rice Award (FCS Freshman of the Year).
* Eastern Illinois junior DJ Bland (de LaSalle) has 39 tackles and two interceptions for the Panthers (12-1), who crushed Tennessee State 51-10 Saturday and advanced to the 2013 FCS NCAA Division I-AA quarterfinals. Eastern Illinois will play Towson, which beat Fordham and Portage grad Jake Dixon 48-28 Saturday. The game will be televised Friday night on ESPN2.
Men’s cross country
Manchester’s Jon Caffarelli (Marian Catholic) was named to the Academic All-Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference team. The senior runner just completed his college career while maintaining a grade-point average of at least 3.5 while being the Spartans’ top runner.
University of Alabama-Birmingham’s Karisma Chapman (T.F. North) was named the Plaza Lights Classic MVP after scoring 56 points to lead UAB to the tournament title.
The senior, who was also named to the all-tournament team, had 19 points, five rebounds, four assists, four steals and one block in a win over Eastern Illinois. She later posted a career-high 37 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Blazers past Sam Houston State.
* Olivet’s Stefanie Lang (Valparaiso) was named the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Player of the Week after three consecutive double-doubles. Lang, a junior center, averaged 21.7 points, 13 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots in leading the Comets to a 2-1 record. She had 21 points and 12 boards in a setback to Hope, then followed with 26 points and 17 points (in just 19 minutes of play) in a win over Oberlin. Lang also came up with 18 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks in a win over Lawrence Tech. This was Lang’s second honor of the season and third of her career.
Western Michigan’s Austin Richie (Lowell) is averaging 9.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and a team-high 2.9 assists. Richie had five points and two assists in Saturday’s 51-35 loss to Northwestern. The Broncos are 5-3 on the season.
The Times welcomes information about local athletes for inclusion in Region Collegians. E-mail Brian Waddle at firstname.lastname@example.org.