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Huskers’ Depth on Full Display at Big Tens

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Nebraska in Second Place after Day 1 of Conference Tournament

No. 2-seed Eric Schultz advanced to the Big Ten finals Saturday at the Big Ten Wrestling Championships in New Jersey.
Jon Johnston

Not a single Husker was eliminated after the first day of the Big Ten Wrestling Championships, but their results weren’t exactly what they were looking for.

The No. 4 Nebraska wrestling team only advanced one wrestler to the championship round despite having five guys in the semifinals. However, those five semifinal matchups were against five of the best wrestlers in the country.

After Session II, Nebraska sits in 2nd place with 102.5 points. Iowa is in first with 121.5 points and Ohio State is third with 94. Penn State sits at 4th with 93.5 points. It looks as if the Husker are the favorites to finish in third place, as Iowa has four wrestlers set to compete in the finals and Penn State has six gunning for conference titles. Despite Nebraska’s lone finals participant, the fact that the Huskers have eight guys in the consolation semifinals bodes well for their point-scoring prospects. Third place may come down to Nebraska or Ohio State, which has three wrestlers in the finals.

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

After upsetting 7-seed Liam Cronin of Indiana and losing to 2-seed Devin Schroder, 10-seed Alex Thomsen continued playing spoiler with a mild upset (at least according to the seeds) over 9-seed Eric Barnett of Wisconsin in the second round of the consolation bracket. Thomsen secured a takedown in the first period and a reversal in the second while giving up a pair of escapes to take a 4-2 lead into the final period. In the third period, Thomsen got another takedown, putting Barnett on his back for four nearfall points to take a 10-3 lead, winning 11-3 by major decision with the riding-time point to advance to the consolation quarterfinals and punch his ticket to the NCAA tournament (ensuring at least an 8th-place finish so he’s guaranteed to receive one of the 8 NCAA allocations).

In the consolation quarterfinal match, Thomsen faced 12-seed Logan Griffin of Michigan State. With the match tied at 2-all after two periods, Thomsen secured a third-period reversal and a 5-2 win with the riding-time point.

Thomsen will face 5-seed Jack Medley of Michigan in the consolation semifinal round Sunday afternoon.

133 pounds

After a first-round pin and a loss to 3-seed Austin DeSanto of Iowa in the quarterfinal round, 6-seed Ridge Lovett continued his tournament run in the second round of the consolation bracket. The freshman Husker recorded his second pinfall of the tournament when he put 12-seed Travis Ford-Melton of Purdue on his back for the pin at the 4:29 mark in the match. More bonus points for the Huskers.

In the consolation quarterfinal match, Lovett took on 7-seed Sammy Alvarez of Rutgers, a match the Husker freshman lost 9-3 by decision.

Lovett will face 8-seed Joey Silva of Michigan in the 7th-place match. This match holds extra importance considering the 133-pound division has 7 NCAA allocations, so the top 7 placers earn automatic qualifying bids to the NCAA tournament. If Lovett can get the win, he’ll punch his ticket to the big dance.

141 pounds

After a pair of Session I victories to advance to the semifinal round, 4-seed Chad Red Jr took on top-seeded Nick Lee of Penn State. Down 5-0 in the second period, Red rolled for a reversal late in the period to cut Lee’s lead to 5-2. In the third, Red secured an escape and a takedown, but it wasn’t enough, as Lee picked up the 7-5 win to advance to the final.

Red will face 3-seed Max Murin of Iowa in the consolation semifinal Sunday afternoon.

149 pounds

After a first-round win and a loss to top-seeded Pat Lugo in the quarterfinal round, 7-seed Collin Purinton took on 8-seed Jarod Verkleeren of Penn State. With the match tied up at 2-all going into the third period, Purinton recorded an escape and scored a takedown in the final period to get the 5-2 win.

In his consolation quarterfinal match, Purinton took on 12-seed Alex Hrisopoulos of Michigan State. Purinton was able to earn a 6-3 decision victory to advance to the consolation semifinal, where he’ll take on 4-seed Kanen Storr of Michigan.

157 pounds

After an upset win over 2-seed Kaleb Young of Iowa, 7-seed Peyton Robb fought hard in a 3-2 loss to 3-seed Kendall Coleman of Purdue. With the match knotted up at 2-all after two periods, Coleman scored an escape and was able to hold off Robb for the one-point victory.

Robb will face 6-seed Jake Tucker of Michigan State in the consolation semifinal Sunday.

165 pounds

After winning both his Session I matchups, No. 4-seed Isaiah White took on top-seeded Vincenzo Joseph in the semifinal match. White wrestled the top-ranked Nittany Lion to a 2-all tie after two periods, but a third-period takedown by Joseph proved to be the difference in a 5-3 Joseph win.

White will face off against 7-seed Danny Braunagel of Illinois in Sunday’s consolation semifinal.

174 pounds

After a quick first-round pin and falling in the quarterfinal round to 4-seed Devin Skatzka of Minnesota, 5-seed Mikey Labriola got back on track against 11-seed William Scott in the second round of the consolation bracket. Labriola shot out to an 8-1 first-period lead with two takedowns and four nearfall points. Labriola secured three more takedowns and four more nearfall points in the second period to earn an 18-3 victory by tech fall. In the consolation quarterfinal match, Labriola again was dominant as he defeated 8-seed Layne Malczewski 17-7 by major decision.

Labriola will face 4-seed Dylan Lydy of Purdue in the consolation semifinal Sunday.

184 pounds

After running through the first two rounds of the conference tournament, 4-seed Taylor Venz took on top-seeded Aaron Brooks of Penn State in the semifinal round. The two wrestled to a 3-all tie after the first period, but Brooks was able to take Venz down and put him in a cradle in the second period, pinning the Husker junior at the 4-minute mark.

Venz will face off against 6-seed Rocky Jordan of Ohio State in the consolation semifinal round Sunday afternoon.

197 pounds

After earning a pin in the quarterfinal round, 2-seed Eric Schultz faced 6-seed Shakur Rasheed of Penn State in the semifinal match. Schultz led 3-2 after the first period and increased that lead to 4-2 after the second. Schultz surrendered an escape in the third period but fought off Rasheed’s comeback bid to punch his ticket to the finals.

Schultz will face top-seeded Kollin Moore of Ohio State in Sunday’s championship match.

285 pounds

After going 1-1 in Session I, 5-seed David Jensen worked his way through the consolation bracket. Jensen easily defeated 11-seed Christian Rebottaro 5-0 before advancing to the consolation semifinal match with a 6-1 decision win over 9-seed Luke Luffman of Illinois.

Jensen will take on 3-seed Tony Cassioppi of Iowa in Sunday’s consolation semifinal.

Nebraska’s Outlook

On Sunday, Nebraska’s Eric Schultz will wrestle for a conference title while eight other wrestlers will be taking part in the consolation semifinal rounds, with Ridge Lovett set to wrestle for 7th place.