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Wrestling: All Three Husker Commits at Fargo Finish As All-Americans

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In addition to three Junior-level All-American commits, Nebraska as a state crowned a number of Junior and Cadet National Champions

Nebraska Head Wrestling Coach Mark Manning
Jon Johnston / CORN NATION

Three future Huskers competed recently at the 2021 US Marine Corps Junior National Championships in Fargo, North Dakota. One was incoming freshman Adam Thebeau out of Illinois, while both of Nebraska’s class of 2022 commits also competed in Antrell Taylor of Nebraska and Harley Andrews of Oklahoma.

The trio of future Huskers was led by Millard South’s Taylor, who is currently ranked No. 12 in the country at 160 pounds by FloWrestling. After winning five straight matches, four by tech fall, Taylor advanced to the semifinal round. Taylor fell to Iowa’s Aiden Riggins 19-6, down into the consolation bracket. Riggins is ranked No. 10 at 160 pounds.

Taylor then faced off against No. 8-ranked 160-pounder Rocco Welsh of Pennsylvania in the consolation semifinal, falling 9-1 by decision. Taylor then earned fifth-place via forfeit.

Future Husker heavyweight Andrews had a strong tournament before being derailed by an injury. Andrews, ranked No. 3 in the country at 220 pounds, was competing at heavyweight (285 pounds).

Andrews won three straight matches into a quarterfinal showdown against top-ranked heavyweight Chase Horne of Georgia. Andrews wrestled the NC State commit extremely close in the first period. With Andrews trailing just 7-6 at the break, the match was derailed by a knee injury suffered by Horne. Horne eventually pushed through the injury, pinning Andrews late in the match.

Pushed to the consolation bracket, Andrews found himself in a dog fight against Aden Attao of Idaho. Andrews was up 16-7 when he went down with a left knee injury but was able to finish the match, narrowling beating Attao 18-17 to secure All-American honors. Andrews forfeited due to injury in the consolation round of 4 and the seventh-place match to finish in eighth place.

Thebeau of Illinois was impressive, winning his first five matches at 160 pounds before losing to Riggins in the quarterfinal round. Thebeau then went on to win his first consolation match, a tight 9-8 decision over Indiana’s J Conway. However, Thebeau suffered a knee injury in the second period while down 8-6. He then secured a takedown and a push-out to earn the 9-8 win.

Thebeau injury defaulted out of his next two matches, finishing in eighth place.

Home-Grown Talent

A lot of Nebraska high school talent was on display in Fargo, as five wrestlers earned six total national titles.

Going forward, Nebraska would be smart to make many of these guys priority targets.

Joel Adams of Millard South led Team Nebraska by becoming the second Nebraska wrestler ever to win national titles in both freestyle and Greco-Roman in the same year. A junior-to-be, Adams is not currently ranked in FloWrestling’s Class of 2023 Big Board. I imagine that’s about to change.

Adams went 7-0 in freestyle at 138 pounds, downing Tyler Kasek of Pennsylvania 7-6 in the final. Kasek is currently the No. 31-overall recruit in the class of 2023. Down 6-5 with six seconds remaining, Adams secured a takedown to earn a last-second championship win.

In Greco-Roman, Adams was dominant. He went 6-0 and outscored his opponents 68-1 on the way to the national title at 138 pounds.

Kael Lauridsen, a junior-to-be from Bennington, also had an impressive tournament. After going 5-2 to finish in fourth place in freestyle, Lauridsen went 6-0 to earn a national championship at 120 pounds in Greco. Lauridsen was dominant, outscoring his opponents 63-0 on the way to the title.

Also winning national titles from Nebraska were Evan Canoyer of Waverly, Tyler Antoniak of Millard South, and Nick Hamilton of Papillion-La Vista. All with titles in Greco-Roman at the junior level, Canoyer is committed to NC State while Antoniak and Hamilton have not committed to a college.

Hamilton, a one-time Iowa state champion at 145 pounds, moved to Papillion-La Vista before his junior year and won a Nebraska state title at 152, going a combined 98-0 the past two seasons. Hamilton defeated Nebraska signee Scott Robertson in the final to finish his perfect season. He won his Greco title at 152 pounds.

Antoniak, a 2019 U15 World Champion, is now a two-time national champ and should be a top priority for Nebraska. Antoniak earned his Greco title at 145 pounds. The Huskers can’t let talent like that out of the state.