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Husker Wrestlers Rack Up Bonus Points at Big Ten Tourney

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No. 4 Nebraska sits in second place after Session I

No. 4-seed Chad Red Jr. (right) advances to tonight’s semifinal round with impressive showing at the Big Ten Wrestling Championships Friday in New Jersey.
Jon Johnston / Corn Nation

The Huskers put on an early show to finish Saturday’s first session of the Big Ten Wrestling Championships sitting just behind top-ranked Iowa for second place.

The No. 4 Nebraska wrestling team went a perfect 9-0 during the first round of the Big Ten tournament this morning. In the second round which followed, Nebraska took a few losses but also found success, including a big upset.

After Session I, Nebraska sits in second place with 58.5 points, behind only Iowa’s 72 points. Penn State sits in third place with 56.5 points. The Huskers advanced five of its 10 wrestlers into tonight’s semifinal round, with only Iowa (7) and Penn State (6) advancing more guys to the semis.

As far as bonus points are concerned, Nebraska racked them up in a big way. The Huskers won five matches by pinfall, one by tech fall, and two more by major decision, giving Nebraska 13.5 bonus points.

How to Earn Team Points

For those who don’t know how the team points are earned, there are three ways to score points: placement points, advancement points and bonus points.

Placement points are awarded for placing in the top 8 in each weight class as follows:

1st place: 16 points

2nd place: 12 points

3rd place: 10 points

4th place: 9 points

5th place: 7 points

6th place: 6 points

7th place: 4 points

8th place: 3 points

Advancement points are awarded for wins, with one point being awarded for each advancement in the championship bracket and 0.5 points being awarded for advancement in the consolation bracket. Also, since the top two seeds are awarded first-round byes, these wrestlers can earn a point for these byes, but only if they win their following match. So, for example, if a top-seeded wrestler wins his first match in the quarterfinal round, he’s awarded two points, with one for the quarterfinal win and another for his first-round bye.

Bonus points are awarded when a wrestler wins a match by more than just a normal decision. For each win by fall, forfeit, default or disqualification, the wrestler earns two extra team points. For a tech fall (win by 15 or more), 1.5 bonus team points are awarded. For a major decision (win by between 8-14 points), one bonus team point is awarded.

You got that?

Weight-By-Weight Breakdown

125 pounds

No. 10-seed Alex Thomsen looked to be shot out of a cannon to start the day, as he built up a 12-3 first-period lead over 7-seed Liam Cronin of Indiana. After scoring an escape in the second, Thomsen took a 10-point lead into the third period. Cronin put together a big final period as he tried to storm back, but the lead was too large. Cronin secured four takedowns while giving up four escapes to Thomsen, but the Husker freshman secured the 17-12 win. In the quarterfinal round, Thomsen was clearly overmatched, as 2-seed Devin Schroder of Purdue won by tech fall 15-0 at the 3:40 mark in the match.

Thomsen will attempt to wrestle back through the consolation bracket this evening in Session II, as he’ll take on 9-seed Eric Barnett of Wisconsin in the second round of the consolation bracket.

133 pounds

No. 6-seed Ridge Lovett made easy work of 11-seed Boo Dryden of Minnesota. After a scoreless first period, Lovett started the second period on top and controlled the Gopher, nearly racking up nearfall points multiple times until locking up a cradle and putting Dryden on his back for the win by pinfall at the 4:51 mark in the match, earning his team two bonus points. In the quarterfinal, Lovett took on 3-seed Austin DeSanto of Iowa. The Husker freshman wrestled DeSanto extremely tough but couldn’t pull the upset, instead taking a razor-thin 1-0 loss to the Hawkeye. The only point scored was a second-period escape by DeSanto.

Lovett will also attempt to wrestle back through the consolation bracket, starting with a matchup this evening against 12-seed Travis Ford-Melton of Purdue in the second round of the consolation bracket.

141 pounds

No. 4-seed Chad Red Jr. put in work this morning and afternoon. The returning Big Ten finalist started the day with a 12-2 major-decision victory over 13-seed Eddie Bolivar of Indiana, highlighted by a four-point nearfall in the second period that gave the Husker a comfortable lead. In the quarterfinal round, Red exacted revenge for a regular-season loss to 5-seed Tristan Moran of Wisconsin. Red started strong, as he secured two takedowns and two nearfall points to take a 6-1 lead into the first period. Red upped his lead to 8-1 with a second-period reversal. Moran did secure a takedown in the third period, but it wasn’t enough to get back into the match, giving Red a 10-4 decision victory.

Red advances to tonight’s semifinal match against top-seeded Nick Lee of Penn State. Red lost to Lee by major decision during the regular season, but the Husker is clicking on all cylinders today and certainly has the ability to score the upset to head into his second-straight conference final.

149 pounds

No. 7-seed Collin Purinton took part in one of the day’s most dramatic matches in the first round, as he and 10-seed Griffin Parriott of Purdue wrestled to a 1-all tie in regulation. After a scoreless sudden-victory period, the pair went into a pair of tie breaker periods (each wrestler gets 30 seconds from bottom position). Purinton gave up an escape in TB1 to fall behind 2-1, but in TB2, the senior Husker secured a takedown and a pin with just one second left, securing the all-important team bonus points. In the quarterfinal round, Purinton took on 2-seed Pat Lugo. Lugo showed why he’s one of the country’s top 149-pounders, as he downed Purinton 11-3 by major decision.

Purinton heads to the consolation bracket, where he’ll take on 8-seed Jarod Verkleeren of Penn State in the second round.

157 pounds

No. 7-seed Peyton Robb was the star of the first session for the Huskers. In his first-round matchup, Robb earned a bonus-point victory over 10-seed Jahi Jones of Maryland. Robb used a takedown and eight total nearfall points to go up 10-1 in the first period. The redshirt freshman cruised from there to a 14-3 major-decision victory. In the quarterfinal round was where Robb made his hay, as he upset second-seeded Kaleb Young of Iowa. Robb didn’t give up any offensive points while securing a first-period takedown for a 3-2 decision victory.

Robb heads to the semifinal round to face 3-seed Kendall Coleman of Purdue. Robb earned an injury-default win over Coleman in the regular season, a match Robb was winning at the time of the stoppage. I like Robb’s chances here to advance to the conference final.

165 pounds

No. 4-seed Isaiah White took care of business in Session I, as he downed 13-seed Nate Limmex of Purdue by pinfall at the 6:02 mark in the match. White was leading the match 9-2 at the time. In the quarterfinal round, White eventually pulled away in a close match against 5-seed Ethan Smith of Ohio State. Holding a close 3-2 lead with 30 seconds left, White secured a takedown to earn a 5-2 decision victory.

White advances to tonight’s semifinal round where he’ll take on top-seeded Vincenzo Joseph of Penn State. White has historically struggled against Joseph, so this will be a tough match for the Husker senior. But if there’s ever a perfect time to get over the hump against Joseph, it’s now.

174 pounds

No. 5-seed Mikey Labriola didn’t waste time in the first round, as he locked up a cradle and pinned 12-seed Max Maylor of Michigan in 33 seconds. In the quarterfinal match, Labriola took on 4-seed Devin Skatzka for the third time this season. After splitting their first two matches, Labriola once again fell to the senior Gopher. Skatzka scored two takedowns against the sophomore to earn a 6-2 victory.

Labriola drops to the consolation bracket, where he’ll take on 11-seed William Scott of Rutgers in the second round tonight.

184 pounds

No. 4-seed Taylor Venz was another Husker that was impressive in Session I. In the first round, Venz made it look easy, securing the 18-0 tech-fall victory over 13-seed Jacob Hinz of Indiana in the first period. In the quarterfinal round, Venz took on 5-seed Billy Janzer of Rutgers. Near the end of the first period, Venz spun into a cradle, racking up four nearfall points to go up 6-1. Janzer did get a second-period takedown, but Venz secured two escapes in the period to go up 8-3 heading into the final period. Janzer chose bottom position in the third period, and Venz put on a show in top position, riding Janzer out for the entire period to secure the 9-3 decision win.

Venz advances to tonight’s semifinal match against top-seeded Aaron Brooks of Penn State. Venz defeated Brooks 9-5 during the regular season, so I like Venz to get the upset to advance to the final.

197 pounds

After a first-round bye, No. 2-seed Eric Schultz didn’t mess around in the quarterfinal round. The junior Husker took on 10-seed Hunter Ritter of Minnesota and made quick work of the Gopher with a first-period victory by pinfall.

Schultz advances to tonight’s semifinal match where he’ll face 6-seed Shakur Rasheed of Penn State. Schultz defeated Rasheed 3-1 during the regular season, but the Nittany Lion is peaking right now after upsetting 3-seed Jacob Warner of Iowa in the quarterfinal round. This will be a fun match to watch, but I expect Schultz to advance to tomorrow’s final.

285 pounds

No. 5-seed David Jensen didn’t have much of a problem against 12-seed Jake Kleimola of Indiana in the first round, as he secured an 8-3 decision victory. In the quarterfinal round, Jensen faced 4-seed Trent Hillger of Wisconsin. After a scoreless first period, Jensen took a 1-0 lead after two periods with an escape. Hillger scored a reversal and four nearfall points in the third period on the way to a 7-2 decision victory over Jensen.

Jensen heads to the consolation bracket tonight, where he’ll face 11-seed Christian Rebottaro of Michigan State.