There are 12 wrestlers competing this weekend at the 2021 Senior and Junior Nationals at the Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa that have ties to Nebraska. The 10 winners at the junior level will earn Junior World Team spots, while the top five finishers at the senior level qualify for the 2021 Senior World Trials later this year.
Former Husker standouts Tyler Berger and James Green are both competing at 70kg (154 pounds) at the senior level, while Christian Lance is competing at 125kg (276 pounds).
At the junior level, Nebraska is well represented with six current Huskers and two incoming recruits competing. Five of the current Huskers are true freshman and the other is a redshirt freshman.
At 57kg (125 pounds), true freshman Jeremiah Reno is set to take the mat, while fellow true freshman Dominick Serrano will compete at 61kg (134 pounds). Husker signee Scott Robertson of Millard South is wrestling at 65kg (143 pounds), while both redshirt freshman Kevon Davenport and true freshman Nic Stoltenberg will compete at 70kg. Incoming recruit Adam Thebeau of Illinois and Husker freshman Elise Brown-Ton will both wrestle at 74kg (163 pounds), and true freshman Nathan Haas will wrestle at 86kg (190 pounds).
In Greco-Roman, Nebraska sophomore Alex Thomsen looks to defend his 2020 senior title at 60kg (132 pounds).
Between James Green and Tyler Berger, the Huskers have a great shot at representation at 70kg at the World Team Trials in early September.
Green has been the United States’ representative at the World Championships every year since 2015 and doesn’t look to give up that spot after winning bronze in 2015 and silver in 2017.
After an unsuccessful run at an Olympic spot all the way down at 65kg in March, Green is back up at his more natural weight but will have to fend off the young up-and-comers.
Berger is another to watch out for. Much like Green, Berger is at a more natural weight class at 70kg. But unlike Green, Berger chose to chase an Olympic team up at 74kg and came up just short of a berth in the US Olympic Trials, finishing third. Now they’ll both compete in the same bracket.
Christian Lance is competing at 125kg this weekend. The senior for the Huskers who has not yet announced his intentions on coming back will have a tough road at this weight. Perhaps him competing at all after the college season is a sign he’ll return.
In Greco-Roman, sophomore Alex Thomsen looks to defend his unlikely title run in 2020 at 60kg. Here’s him taking out the 1-seed in that tournament.
UPSET ALERT No. 9 Alex Thomsen takes out No. 1 Taylor LaMont, 10-4 pic.twitter.com/GF7PuOTe9N— USA Wrestling (@USAWrestling) October 9, 2020
Winning Greco titles is nothing new for Thomsen though, as he also won the 2017 Junior Championship at 126 pounds.
True freshman Jeremiah Reno will compete at the junior level in an attempt to earn a spot on the world team. He won national championships at Fargo at both the cadet and junior levels in freestyle, so he’s a real threat here.
Dominick Serrano came in with Reno in 2020 after undefeated high school careers. Yes...careers. They are the future for Nebraska at 125 and 133, so this weekend will go a long way in gauging their development after barely seeing them during this year’s shortened season.
Serrano won a cadet national title in 2018 after finishing runner-up the year before. In 2019, he won a junior national championship in freestyle. There are more freestyle accolades, but the bottom line is he’s a real threat in this bracket this weekend.
Husker signee Scott Robertson won’t be on campus for two years as he completes his Mormon mission, but he’ll try to earn a spot on a world team in the meantime. The Millard South product last competed at the Ultimate Club Duals where he went 5-2.
Redshirt freshman Kevon Davenport is extremely talented and will have every chance to earn a starting gig this year, but he’ll have to navigate a tough field to earn a spot on the world team. In 2017, Davenport won a cadet national title in Greco-Roman and a silver in freestyle. Then in 2018, he finished third at the UWW Cadet World Team Trials.
Davenport has some serious freestyle chops and could surprise some people and make a run.
Nic Stoltenberg is a true freshman for Nebraska and will take the mat at 70kg. The three-time Nebraska state champ for Omaha Skutt, Stoltenberg is giving freestyle a go and I’m excited to see how he does.
Husker true freshman Elise Brown-Ton is another guy with a ton of talent that I’m excited to see how he’s developed. Brown-Ton won the 2019 Reno Tournament of Champions and took second at the 2018 USA Wrestling Preseason Nationals. He finished fourth at the 2019 Cadet World Team Trials at 71kg.
He’s another of Nebraska’s youngsters that had some serious freestyle success coming into the program.
Also competing at 74kg is Adam Thebeau, an incoming recruit out of Illinois. He’s a two-time placer at the Illinois State Tournament.
True freshman Nathan Haas, who went 2-1 in three dual starts this past season, is another Husker who won a cadet national title, his in 2018. The top-ranked 182-pounder coming out of California a year ago, Haas has a ton of talent and potential.