With the regular season behind them and conference tournaments taking place this weekend and next, the Huskers have put themselves into prime position to contend for a team trophy at both the Big Ten Championships and the NCAA tournament.
Nebraska heads into Big Tens as the No. 8 team in the country according to the NWCA Coaches Poll. The Huskers went 7-1 on the year and have three starters with undefeated records and two more with only one loss, both coming to the top-ranked wrestler in their weight class.
With the weekend off of action for the Huskers, I’ll take you through what else is going on for the Huskers off the mat.
Second Set of Coaches Rankings
The second round of the NCAA DI Coaches Rankings were released this week. These rankings are the official rankings used when determining NCAA qualifiers and their seeds, as explained by the NCAA:
“The coaches rankings are determined by a vote of 14 coaches in each weight class with two head coaches from each conference. For ranking purposes, coaches may only consider a wrestler that has been designated as a starter at a respective weight class. For the second ranking, wrestlers must have three Division I matches in the weight class to be considered with at least one within the last 30 days. For the final coaches ranking that will be utilized during the at-large selection and seeding process, wrestlers will need a minimum of four Division I matches in the weight class.”
Nebraska has a ranked wrestler in eight of the ten weight classes, failing to make the cut so far at 133 and 157 pounds.
Nebraska’s Starters and their Rankings
125 pounds: No. 7 Liam Cronin (7-1)
133 pounds: NR Tucker Sjomeling (3-3)
141 pounds: No. 5 Chad Red Jr. (8-1)
149 pounds: No. 25 Ridge Lovett (5-0)
157 pounds: NR Caleb Licking (3-4)
165 pounds: No. 18 Peyton Robb (6-3)
174 pounds: No. 2 Mikey Labriola (8-0)
184 pounds: No. 10 Taylor Venz (4-2)
197 pounds: No. 1 Eric Schultz (8-0)
285 pounds: No. 11 Christian Lance (6-3)
Husker Recruits Impress at State Tournaments
Nebraska has a total of six commits between the classes of 2021 and 2022. With top-ranked Lenny Pinto of Pennsylvania out for the season with a knee injury, the Huskers have five guys competing in their state tournaments.
It’s a shame Pinto, the top-ranked 182-pounder in the country, wasn’t able to defend his Pennsylvania state title but he missed the season after suffering a knee injury at FloWrestling’s Who’s No. 1 event when he moved up from 170 pounds to take on then-top-ranked Rylan Rogers at 182. Despite injuring his knee with a 1-0 lead midway through the second period, Pinto was still impressive in gutting out a 7-5 win.
Pinto with the magic stick to defend the #1 spot.— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) October 3, 2020
Live: https://t.co/Eg09Omo5Sm pic.twitter.com/csLX6Nr3ep
Pinto isn’t the only stud from Pennsylvania making his way to Lincoln, as fellow Pennsylvania native Jagger Condomitti is also committed to Nebraska. Condomitti is ranked No. 4 in the country at 160 pounds, five spots ahead of Millard South phenom and fellow Husker commit Antrell Taylor. After finishing second at state a year ago, Condomitti is laying waste to the competition on his way to state this year. Here’s a video of Condomitti pinning his opponent in last year’s state semifinal.
After two insane matches to get him into the state semis, @KKidWrestling Jagger Condomitti comes out and sticks Keslar in the first period! Boom. #KKids pic.twitter.com/2xisqokAqp— Pat Mineo (@MrPatMineo) March 7, 2020
Condomitti is the only Husker commit whose state tournament hasn’t yet taken place, but that doesn’t mean that the future Husker hasn’t run through the postseason so far in one of the country’s best prep wrestling states. Condomitti is 10-0 on the year after rolling through his district and regional tournaments. At the District XI AA Tournament, Condomitti went 4-0 with three wins by pinfall and another a 23-8 win by tech fall. At the PIAA Northeast Regional Tournament yesterday, Condomitti went 3-0 with two wins via pinfall and a 20-3 tech fall in the finals. He took only 1:53 to score the 20 points for the win. In his 10 wins this year, he’s won seven by pinfall.
Next up for Condommitti is this Saturday’s PIAA Super-Regional Tournament.
Also part of the 2021 class is Scott Robertson of Millard South, who is ranked as the No. 2 152-pounder in Nebraska. As a senior, Robertson finished with a 47-2 record and a second-place finish at the Nebraska Class A State Tournament. He fell to Papillion-LaVista’s Nick Hamilton, who went 47-0 as a junior, in the state final.
Scott Robertson (Millard South) advances to tonight’s finals with a second round semifinal pin. pic.twitter.com/8acR1Mpm2k— Mike Sautter (@MikeSautter_) February 18, 2021
Nebraska’s final 2021 commit is Adam Thebeau of Bellevue East High School in Illinois. After finishing in fifth place as a junior, Thebeau went 5-2 at the 2021 Class 3A Illinois State Tournament to again finish in fifth place.
The Huskers are off to a very impressive start to their 2022 recruiting class, as both of their committed juniors won their second straight state titles.
At 160 pounds, Antrell Taylor of Millard South won his second straight Nebraska state title with ease. As a freshman, Taylor made it to the state final but fell short of a state title. As a sophomore, he won the Class A 145-pound title. This season, Taylor moved up to 160 pounds and went a perfect 43-0 on the year. At the state tournament, Taylor recorded three straight wins by pinfall before downing fellow undefeated wrestler Joshua Licking of Norfolk 18-5 by major decision.
Prepare for liftoff: Antrell Taylor is headed back to the Nebraska state finals. pic.twitter.com/QOxA0fRoNE— Trackwrestling (@trackwrestling) February 18, 2021
Out of Oklahoma, Nebraska has junior Harley Andrews committed. The No. 6-ranked 220-pounder in the country, Andrews attends powerhouse Tuttle High School. Tuttle just won its state record 13th-straight team title in Class 4A.
Much like Taylor, Andrews lost as a freshman in the state final (160 pounds) with his loss coming on a last-second reversal. As a sophomore, Andrews won his first state title at 195 pounds. As a junior, Andrews moved up to 220 pounds and won his second straight state title this weekend. After an undefeated season, he ran through the bracket with three straight wins via first-period pinfall and spent a total of 3 minutes, 16 seconds on the mat.
Harley Andrews finishes his Oklahoma state title run with all falls and an undefeated season. pic.twitter.com/TkwpxcQ4cs— Trackwrestling (@trackwrestling) February 27, 2021