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Nebraska Wrestling: Huskers in the Rankings, January 28

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Eric Schultz again makes biggest move up rankings

2019 NCAA Div I Wrestling Championships Session Three
Nebraska’s No. 4 Isaiah White, seen here in a match against Penn State’s top-ranked Vincenzo Joseph at the 2019 NCAA tournament, again lost to the undefeated Nittany Lion on Friday.
Photo by Hunter Martin/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Another week down and the Huskers didn’t make too many moves within the rankings. After falling to No. 2 Penn State and defeating Michigan State in conference play over the weekend, Nebraska (6-3, 1-3 Big Ten) jumped from No. 7 a week ago to No. 6 in this week’s NWCA Coaches Poll. The Huskers made their modest jump due to an upset above them in the rankings. Then third-ranked Virginia Tech lost to No. 12 North Carolina last week, allowing Nebraska to jump the Hokies.

*Individual rankings according to InterMat

125 - Redshirt Freshman Alex Thomsen (8-9) enjoyed one of the best weeks of any Husker after some early-season struggles against some of the best competition the country has to offer. The freshman went 2-0 over the weekend with wins over Brandon Meredith of Penn State and Logan Griffin of Michigan State. If Thomsen keeps up his winning ways, I expect him to sneak into the rankings before the Big Ten tournament.

133 - True Freshman Ridge Lovett (9-6) holds onto the No. 13 spot after dropping another match to one of the country’s elites before grabbing his first career conference win. Lovett lost via major decision to No. 3 Roman Bravo-Young of Penn State but bounced back with a 5-0 win over Michigan State’s Garrett Pepple.

141 - Junior Chad Red Jr. (12-5) is still ranked No. 8 after splitting matches over the weekend. After falling to No. 2 Nick Lee of Penn State in a match where he was controlled throughout, Red came back with a vengeance with a first-period pin of Michigan State’s Matt Santos. Red gets another shot at shooting up the rankings this week as he’s set to face Ohio State’s top-ranked Luke Pletcher for a second time this season in a dual on Sunday.

149 - Senior Collin Purinton (12-5) is surprisingly still ranked at No. 14 after an impressive weekend. Purinton pinned Penn State’s Jarod Verkleeren before defeating Michigan State’s Alex Hrisopoulos 3-2. Purinton faces a tough test this weekend when he faces Ohio State’s second-ranked Sammy Sasso.

157 - Redshirt Freshman Peyton Robb (13-4) dropped five spots to No. 16 in this week’s rankings. After downing Penn State’s Bo Pipher 7-5, Robb let one slip away in a 7-5 loss to No. 20 Jake Tucker of Michigan State, a match that Robb was controlling throughout.

165 - Senior Isaiah White (12-3) jumped up one spot to No. 4 despite losing his lone match of the week, a 5-1 setback against top-ranked Vincenzo Joseph of Penn State. Much like the Nebraska team ranking, White benefited by a Virginia Tech loss. Then-No. 3 David McFadden for the Hokies fell to the No. 17 wrestler in the land, hence White moving up a spot. White is on a three-match losing streak, but his three losses are all to the top three wrestlers in the country. Also, White took the Michigan State dual off to rest, so junior Dalton Peters took his spot, falling by pinfall in the second period.

174 - Sophomore Mikey Labriola (14-5) holds firm at No. 6 after splitting a pair of matches over the weekend. Labriola fell to top-ranked Mark Hall of Penn State by pinfall, but he rebounded with a 17-6 major-decision victory over Michigan State’s Layne Malczewski.

184 - Junior Taylor Venz (12-6) is still ranked No. 8 after going 1-1 over the weekend against a pair of ranked wrestlers. After defeating sixth-ranked Aaron Brooks of Penn State 9-5, Venz fell to No. 17 Cam Caffey of Michigan State 11-6. This season has been a strange one from Venz, who has proven capable of beating the best in the country, yet he still seems to have lapses that cause him to drop matches he shouldn’t.

197 - Junior Eric Schultz (17-2) moved up for the second straight week, going from No. 8 to No. 6 in this week’s rankings. Schultz won both of his matches over the weekend, a 3-1 win over No. 19 Shakur Rasheed of Penn State and a 3-2 win over Michigan State’s Nick May. Riding a six-match win streak, Schultz faces his toughest test of the year on Sunday when he faces top-ranked Buckeye Kollin Moore.

285 - Senior Christian Lance (9-6) fell one spot to No. 16 after losing to Penn State freshman Seth Nevills 4-0. Lance was replaced in the starting lineup on Sunday against Michigan State by David Jensen.

285 - Senior David Jensen (11-3) is unranked, but he was Nebraska’s starter last season and to begin this season. Before losing the job to Lance, Jensen was ranked as high as No. 13. Against Michigan State on Sunday, Jensen beat Michigan State’s Christian Rebottaro 6-0. I anticipate Jensen holding onto the starting spot in the lineup for the rest of the season, as he seems to offer much more upside offensively than Lance.

Next Up for Nebraska

Nebraska takes on No. 3 Ohio State Sunday, Feb. 2 at noon at the Devaney Sports Center. The dual will be streamed on BTN+ (subscription required).