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Wrestling: Huskers Impressive in Triangular

The No. 7-ranked Huskers easily dispatched of No. 25 Northwestern and Maryland

The Husker team celebrates a win by Chad Red Jr. last season.
Jon Johnston / CORN NATION

The No. 7 Nebraska wrestling team bounced back from its loss to No. 1 Iowa with two dual wins over the weekend to improve to 3-1 on the season. The Huskers downed No. 25 Northwestern 26-10 before blanking Maryland 38-0 Saturday at the Devaney Sports Center.

Match-By-Match Breakdown

*FloWrestling individual rankings used

125 pounds

Nebraska did an amazing job in bringing in No. 8 Liam Cronin (3-1) as a graduate transfer from Indiana this season. He’s proven to be an upgrade and has been one of the best in the Big Ten this season at 125.

Cronin started things off with a 15-5 major decision victory over Northwestern’s Matt Vinci that saw the Husker notch six takedowns. He then finished his day with a first-period pinfall over Maryland’s Noah Spence.

Team Score: Nebraska 4, Northwestern 0
Team Score: Nebraska 6, Maryland 0

133 pounds

Alex Thomsen (1-3) continues to struggle at 133 pounds despite the fact he got his first win of the season on Saturday.

In his first match against Northwestern’s No. 23 Chris Cannon, Thomsen was unable to get anything going. Thomsen earned a first-period escape but that would be his only points of the match. Cannon was dominant in a 14-1 major decision victory.

Against Maryland’s Jackson Cockrell, Thomsen jumped out to a 2-0 lead with a first-period takedown before going up 3-1 in the second with an escape. Cockrell earned a third-period escape to cut the Thomsen lead to 3-2, but Thomsen was able to secure a late takedown and a ride out to earn a 6-2 decision win.

Team Score: Nebraska 4, Northwestern 4
Team Score: Nebraska 9, Maryland 0

141 pounds

Nebraska’s No. 6 Chad Red Jr. (4-1) had a solid day with three wins, two in the varsity duals and one in an extra match.

Against Northwestern’s Colin Valdiviez, Red fell behind 2-0 in the first period but scored an escape shortly after. To start the second period, Red secured a reversal and Valdiviez got a quick escape to knot things up at 3-all. In the third period, Red built up his riding time over a minute then cut Valdiviez loose for an escape. Red then took Valdiviez down, but the Northwestern coaches challenged the call on the mat. After review, the takedown was wiped away and Red found himself trailing 4-3 with 30 seconds left. Red shot on a single leg and got a late takedown and ride out for a 6-4 win. Also against Northwestern in the extra matches, Red beat Frankie Tal-Shahar 3-2 by decision.

Against Maryland’s Danny Bertoni, Red went up 2-1 with a takedown and a Bertoni escape. In the second, Red scored a reversal (video below) from the bottom position then gave up another escape to go up 4-2. In the final period, Red scored another takedown but Bertoni notched two escapes. Red secured the 7-4 win with the riding time point.

Also at 141 pounds, sophomore Ridge Lovett earned a 10-2 major decision over Northwestern’s Justin Benjamin in the extra matches to improve to 2-0 on the year.

Team Score: Nebraska 7, Northwestern 4
Team Score: Nebraska 12, Maryland 0

149 pounds

No. 18 Brock Hardy (2-2) continued his string of ranked opponents to start his freshman season when he took on Northwestern’s No. 11 Yahya Thomas. Thomas scored a first-period takedown and scored points in the second period on an escape and a stall call on Hardy to go up 4-0. In the third, Hardy earned an escape to get on the board but was noticeably gassed in the 4-1 loss.

Against Maryland’s Hunter Baxter, Hardy secured two takedowns in a 4-0 shutout for the win by decision.

Team Score: Nebraska 7, Northwestern 7
Team Score: Nebraska 15, Maryland 0

157 pounds

Caleb Licking (1-3) lost a close overtime match against Northwestern before earning his first win of the season against Maryland.

Against Northwestern freshman Maxx Mayfield, a graduate of Lincoln East High School, it was a bout between Nebraska kids with Licking coming from Norfolk. Mayfield opened things up with a takedown, but Licking was able to escape. Mayfield then scored two nearfall points in the second period before a Licking escape made it a 4-2 Mayfield lead. Licking tied things up with a third-period takedown, so the match went into sudden victory, where Mayfield secured a takedown to win the match 6-4.

Against Maryland’s Michael Doetsch, Licking took a 4-0 lead after the first period with a takedown and two nearfall points. Licking rode out Doetsch for the second period and held on in the third for a 5-1 decision win.

Team Score: Northwestern 10, Nebraska 7
Team Score: Nebraska 18, Maryland 0

165 pounds

Nebraska’s No. 18 Peyton Robb (3-2) got his first wins of the season on Saturday.

Against Northwestern’s David Ferrante, Robb secured two first-period takedowns and another in the third to go up 7-2. Robb then gave up an escape and a takedown in the third but held on for the 8-5 decision win. Also against Northwestern, Robb earned a 17-5 major decision over Ankhaa Enkmandakh in the extra matches.

Against Maryland’s Jonathan Spadafora, Robb notched four takedowns in the first period to go up 8-2 before Spadafora scored an escape and takedown in the second period. Robb gave up a third-period escape but was able to get another takedown to earn an 11-5 decision win.

Team Score: Nebraska 10, Northwestern 10
Team Score: Nebraska 21, Maryland 0

174 pounds

For the Huskers, No. 3 Mikey Labriola (4-0) continued his impressive season with two wins over the weekend.

Against Northwestern’s Troy Fisher, Labriola scored three first-period takedowns before taking down Fisher twice more in the second period. Three more takedowns in the third helped Labriola earn a 19-7 major decision.

Against Maryland’s Philip Spadafora, Labriola continued his run of takedowns as he finished with five takedowns and a reversal in a 14-5 major decision win.

Team Score: Nebraska 14, Northwestern 10
Team Score: Nebraska 25, Maryland 0

184 pounds

After a disappointing season-opener against Iowa, Nebraska’s No. 11 Taylor Venz (3-1) earned three wins on Saturday.

Against Northwestern’s Jon Halvorsen, Venz was dominant as he took down the Wildcat early and racked up 10 nearfall points throughout the first period. Venz then scored a takedown in the second period to earn a 16-0 tech fall win. In the extra matches against Northwestern, Venz pinned Jack Jessen in 1:57.

Against Maryland’s Kyle Cochran, Venz had more trouble. After a Cochran takedown, Venz scored a reversal before riding out the first period. In the second, Cochran rode Venz out for the entire two minutes. With 30 seconds to go in the third period, Venz broke the tie with a takedown on the way to a 4-2 decision win.

Team Score: Nebraska 19, Northwestern 10
Team Score: Nebraska 28, Maryland 0

197 pounds

Nebraska’s No. 3 Eric Schultz (4-0) continues his steady performances as he took part in the day’s biggest matchup.

Schultz took on Northwestern’s No. 6 Lucas Davison. After a scoreless first period, Davison got on the board first with an escape. In the third, Schultz tied things up with an escape of his own. Late in the period, Schultz was able to get a takedown on a go-behind on the edge of the mat. Davison escaped, but Schultz was able to earn the 3-2 win for his second straight win over a top-10 opponent.

Against Maryland’s Jaron Smith, Schultz fell behind early when Smith secured an early takedown. Schultz earned a takedown and a reversal in the first to go up 4-3. Schultz then scored five more takedowns to earn a 16-7 major decision win.

Team Score: Nebraska 22, Northwestern 10
Team Score: Nebraska 32, Maryland 0

285 pounds

Nebraska’s No. 13 Christian Lance (3-2) got to show just how good he can be with a trio of wins on Saturday.

After a scoreless first period against Northwestern’s Jack Heyob, Lance scored a pair of takedowns in the second period and added three more in the third to earn a 12-4 major decision win, helping the Huskers close out their dual with Northwestern with five straight wins.

Against Maryland’s Garrett Kappes, Lance secured six takedowns but it didn’t matter as the Husker big man turned Kappes on his back late in the third period for the win by pinfall. Lance also scored a win by pinfall against Maryland’s Connor Bowes in the extra matches.

Team Score: Nebraska 26, Northwestern 10
Team Score: Nebraska 38, Maryland 0

What’s Next for Nebraska?

The Huskers will play host to Wisconsin on Sunday, Jan. 31 in what will be Nebraska’s final home date of the season.