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Wrestling: Two Huskers Advance to Quarters

Nebraska has two wrestlers into the quarterfinal round and eight of nine still alive

Mikey Labriola (left)
Jon Johnston / CORN NATION

One day into the NCAA Wrestling Championships, Nebraska sits in a tie for ninth place with Virginia Tech with 14.5 points. Iowa is in the lead with 33.5 points and Penn State is second with 28.

The Huskers saw the national championship hopes dashed for most of their wrestlers on Friday. After going 6-3 as a team in the first round, the Huskers lost their first five matches Thursday evening before rebounding with four straight wins to finish the day.

Nebraska now has just Mikey Labriola and Taylor Venz as their championship hopefuls.

The second day of wrestling can be seen Friday on ESPNU starting at 10 a.m. while the semifinal round will air on ESPN Friday night at 7 p.m. Central.

Weight-By-Weight Breakdown

125 pounds

After downing the 20-seed in the first round, Nebraska’s 13-seed Liam Cronin wrestled tough against 4-seed Drew Hildebrandt of Central Michigan but couldn’t find a way to score.

After a scoreless first period, Hildebrandt scored on a second-period escape. Cronin started the third period on bottom and needed an escape before Hildebrandt locked up a minute of riding time. Cronin did eventually get the escape to tie the match at 1-all, but Hildebrandt had the riding-time point locked up. Cronin put on a solid sprint with a number of attacks but wasn’t able to score.

With the 2-1 loss, Cronin drops down to the consolation second round to face 14-seed Jaret Lane of Lehigh.

141 pounds

Nebraska’s 8-seed Chad Red Jr. dropped his second round matchup against 9-seed Dresden Simon of Central Michigan. The MAC champion scored a quick takedown before action stopped with an injury to Red’s shoulder. Upon the restart, Simon chose bottom and scored an escape to go up 3-0.

In the second, Redd scored an escape and a takedown to tie things at 3-all, but Simon instantly reversed Redd to re-take the lead. Red started the third period on top and put on a good ride but didn’t give himself an opportunity to score enough points to win the match, falling by decision 6-3.

Red falls to Friday’s consolation second round to face 7-seed Ian Parker of Iowa State.

149 pounds

Facing a familiar foe in the second round, 5-seed Ridge Lovett lost to Iowa’s 12-seed Max Murin two weeks after downing the Hawkeye at Big Tens.

Murin built up a 3-0 lead into the second period before Lovett cut the lead with a takedown. Starting on bottom, Lovett needed an escape to tie the match and eventually got one with just under a minute left. Murin scored the deciding takedown with 25 seconds left to down Lovett 5-3.

Lovett will move into the consolation second round where he’ll face 27-seed Josh Finesilver of Duke.

157 pounds

After falling to 5-seed Kaleb Young in the first round, Nebraska’s 29-seed Caleb Licking took on 21-seed Andrew Cerniglia of Navy in the consolation’s first round.

In a close match, Cerniglia was able to get a late takedown to break a 3-all tie. With the 5-3 loss, Licking is knocked out of the tournament with an 0-2 record.

165 pounds

Nebraska’s 14-seed Peyton Robb had a tough matchup in the second round against 3-seed Jake Wentzel of Pitt. Wentzel quickly took Robb down and slammed the Husker down hard on a mat return, resulting in an injury stoppage for Robb. Robb was awarded a point for an illegal slam. Wentzel rode out the entire first period.

Wentzel scored an escape and a takedown in the second period and another takedown in the third to down Robb 8-1.

Robb drops down to face 20-seed Cole Moody of Wyoming Friday morning.

174 pounds

After not wrestling a first round match, Nebraska’s 4-seed Mikey Labriola took care of business in a win over 20-seed Trenton Munoz of Arizona State in Thursday’s second round.

After a scoreless first period, Labriola scored a takedown while Munoz got two escapes in the second round. Tied at 2-all, Labriola scored a quick escape to start the third period before getting a takedown and eventually securing the 5-3 win.

Labriola moves on to Friday morning’s quarterfinal round to face 12-seed Bernie Truax of Cal Poly

184 pounds

Nebraska’s 8-seed Taylor Venz again looked comfortable in a big win for the Huskers. After falling behind 2-0 in the first period, Venz scored a reversal to even things up in the second.

In the third, Venz scored another takedown and added four nearfall points after turning Kent over. True to form for Venz, he then gave up a reversal before securing his own reversal with seconds remaining for the 10-4 decision victory.

Venz moves on to face top-seeded Aaron Brooks of Penn State in Friday morning’s quarterfinal in what will be a rematch of the Big Ten final.

197 pounds

After falling in a major upset in the first round, 2-seed Eric Schultz rebounded against 18-seed Jacob Koser of Navy in the consolation bracket.

After scoring a first-period takedown, Schultz added to his lead with a reversal in the second. Schultz grinded out the third period for the 4-2 win.

Schultz moves on to face 16-seed Jake Jakobsen of Lehigh in the consolation second round.

285 pounds

Nebraska’s 12-seed Christian Lance rebounded from his first-round loss to down 28-seed Jonathan Spalding of Edinburgh.

After a scoreless first period, Lance took a 1-0 lead with a second-period escape. Spalding evened things up in the third with an escape of his own, but Lance was able to secure a takedown with 10 seconds left to earn a 3-2 win.

Lance moves on to face 11-seed Zach Elam of Missouri in Friday’s consolation bracket.