Nebraska had six wrestlers compete on Friday night at the US Senior Nationals in Greco-Roman wrestling in Coralville, Iowa.
Alex Thomsen, a sophomore this coming season who started at 125 pounds for Nebraska as a redshirt freshman, blitzed through a 60 kg bracket while taking out some tough competition on the way to a first-place finish as the No. 9 seed. He was by far the lowest seed to win a Greco title on Friday.
Nebraska’s next best finisher was 8-seed Peyton Robb at 77 kg, who went 4-2 to finish fourth. Austin Emerson, an unseeded Husker at 130 kg, finished in eighth place.
Nebraska had three other wrestlers compete on Friday, but they did not place. The No. 4 seed at 60 kg, senior Liam Cronin went 2-2, while 8-Seed Ridge Lovett went 2-2 at 67 kg. Brock Hardy, an incoming freshman for Nebraska who’s taken two years away from wrestling to complete his LDS mission, went 0-2 at 67 kg.
Thomsen began the tournament’s round of 32 with a bye before downing 8-seed Camden Russell 9-0 by tech fall in the round of 16. Against top-seeded Taylor LaMont in the quarterfinal round, Thomsen earned an impressive 10-4 victory. After all, Thomsen does love his upper body throws.
UPSET ALERT No. 9 Alex Thomsen takes out No. 1 Taylor LaMont, 10-4 pic.twitter.com/GF7PuOTe9N— USA Wrestling (@USAWrestling) October 9, 2020
In the semifinal round, Thomsen downed unseeded Chance Rich 8-0 by tech fall.
In the final, Thomsen faced 7-seed Mosha Schwartz, who previously knocked off the No. 2 seed. Thomsen struck first with a point for a push out, but Schwartz earned a takedown and two points after an extended flurry of action shortly after. With 30 seconds left in the first of two periods, Thomsen was able to throw Schwartz on his back for a takedown and a 3-2 lead.
In the second period, Thomsen struck early to build his lead, as he took Schwartz down with a beautiful high dive on the edge.
Alex Thomsen high-dives his way to a 60kg Senior Nationals Championship.— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) October 10, 2020
Thomsen led 5-2 and conceded a point on a step-out halfway through the period. Not much action happened until the final seconds when a crazy scramble ensued where there was an argument for two points for either side or for no points awarded at all. After official review, no points were awarded in the exchange, giving Thomsen the 5-3 win. Thomsen has now officially added a Senior Nationals title to his 2017 Junior National Championship in Greco.
At 77 kg, the No. 8-seeded Robb won his first match in the round of 16 before losing in the quarterfinal round to top-seeded Pat Smith 11-0 by tech fall. Robb then won three straight matches in the consolation bracket by a combined score of 27-6 on the way to the third-place match. Robb fell to 4-seed Alec Ortiz 6-1 to finish fourth, but he out-placed his seed.
Austin Emerson, unseeded at 130 kg, won his first match in the round of 16 8-0 by tech fall before losing to top-seeded Cohlton Schultz 5-0. After a win in the consolation bracket, he was forced to injury default in the consolation quarterfinal after injuring his right arm against 4-seed Donny Longendyke. Emerson, a sophomore-to-be for Nebraska, still finished 8th.
Cronin, a senior transfer from Indiana, had a high seed (No. 4) at 60 kg but definitely underperformed at the tournament, especially when you consider that the very guy he’s competing with for the job at 125 pounds for Nebraska won the whole thing.
I was also surprised that Lovett, the No. 8 seed at 67 kg, didn’t do better. He has a solid Greco history, but he finished with a 2-2 record. Also at 67 kg, Hardy showed that he has some work to do as he gets himself back into wrestling shape, as he lost both of his matches, although his second loss was a close 3-2 match.
Former Husker football player, a three-year starter on the offensive line, Tanner Farmer finished in fourth place with a 3-2 record.
17 more Huskers or former Huskers will be in competition on Saturday and Sunday when the men’s freestyle competition takes place. Keep an eye on Corn Nation for the breakdown.