Northwestern wrestlers to compete in March Matness

EVANSTON, Ill. (WLS) -- The Northwestern basketball team isn't participating at March Madness this year, however, five Wildcats are headed to March Matness.

NU wrestler Sebastian Rivera is the No. 1 seed in the 125-pound bracket for March Matness, a play on the nickname for the NCAA basketball tournaments.

"I got the best position in the tournament. Doesn't mean anything. Numbers go away at the NCAA tournament. Anything can happen but, to be in that position to know that all my hard work this season has come to this point. I got rewarded for it. It's a good feeling," Rivera said.

Rivera, a sophomore from New Jersey, is a perfect 22-0 this season, having already pinned his toughest competition on his way to the Big Ten title.

"I was not losing that match," he recalled. "I was not going to walk out of here a loser. My dad's right there, I was not walking out of here a loser there was no way."

Rivera said that mental mindset plays a large part of winning. "You got to be confident in your training and confident in your abilities," he said.

That mindset comes straight from dad, Steve Rivera, who won a state title as a high school senior before grabbing a national championship in Division 3.

"He wanted me to perform well but it was no pressure because he did before. He wasn't living through me like some of these dads do. So it was a lot of hands off, go out there and wrestle hard," Sebastian Rivera said.

Along with his unbeaten record, relentless preparation will set him apart on the biggest stage.

"He's a different breed when he steps out there, and it keeps going back to his training, his confidence. Yeah, he's an animal," coach Cody Brewer said.

"I just believe that I train the hardest in the country. I push myself every day. I do extra workouts. I do everything that I need to do to believe that I am the best and that's why I believe it," Rivera said.
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