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Wrestling: Labriola Earns WOW Honors; Huskers Making Big Moves in Rankings

Seven of Nebraska’s 10 starters moved up in the national rankings after winning the CKLV team title

2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Wrestling Championship
Mikey Labriola earned Wrester of the Week honors from both the NCAA and USA Wrestling after knocking off NCAA champion Mekhi Lewis in the CKLV finals.
Photo by Scott Rovak/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The Husker wrestling team went to Vegas this past weekend and won its third straight Cliff Keen Invitational team title. Almost every one of Nebraska’s wrestlers either met or exceeded expectations, led by Mikey Labriola.

Labriola moved up in the rankings to No. 2 after beating NCAA champion Mekhi Lewis of Virginia Tech 3-1 in sudden victory. For his effort, he was named the Wrestler of the Week by USA Wrestling.

Then he earned the same honor from the NCAA.

Huskers Move Up the Rankings

No. 11 Liam Cronin (8-2)

At 125 pounds, Cronin may have had the gutsiest weekend of the whole team as he lost early at CKLV but managed to win six straight matches to earn third place. Along the way, he beat No. 9 Brandon Kaylor of Oregon State and No. 21 Eddie Ventresca of Virginia Tech.

No. 5 Brock Hardy (14-2)

Nebraska’s biggest mover was Hardy at 141 pounds. He beat four ranked opponents in a row to win the CKLV title and increased his win streak to 13 matches, putting him into the Top 5. He pinned No. 20 Jesse Vasquez of Arizona State for the second time this season. He also pinned No. 9 Cole Mattin of Michigan and exacted revenge for an early loss by downing No. 6 Ryan Jack of NC State. He then defeated No. 15 Cael Happel of South Dakota State in the finals.

On the year, Hardy leads the team with five wins by pinfall and has added four major decisions and a tech fall. He’s not just beating guys, he’s dominating.

Hardy looks like he’s a legitimate threat to All-American and even win a national title. The 141-pound weight class is wide open this year, so don’t rule it out.

No. 2 Peyton Robb (12-0)

Peyton Robb continued his stellar junior season by winning a CKLV title this past weekend at 157 pounds. Along the way, he beat No. 12 Ed Scott of NC State and No. 11 Kendall Coleman of Purdue. He also has wins this year over then-No. 6 Jared Franek of North Dakota State and No. 17 Chase Saldate of Michigan State.

Robb moves up from No. 3 to No. 2 in the rankings after his impressive performance combined with a pair of losses by previously-No. 2 Will Lewan of Michigan.

No. 14 Bubba Wilson (8-4)

After missing the first few weeks of the season, it looks like Bubba Wilson is back healthy and ready to hold down the 165-pounds spot for the Huskers. He went 5-2 at CKLV this weekend, making it all the way to the 3rd-place match after losing in the opening round to No. 6 Carson Kharchla of Ohio State. He won four straight matches in the consolation bracket after that.

Wilson beat two ranked opponents in Vegas in No. 18 Tony Negron of Arizona State and No. 12 Joshua Ogunsanya of Columbia. For his performance, he makes his first appearance in this year’s rankings at No. 14.

No. 2 Mikey Labriola (12-0)

As already mentioned, Labriola upset then-No. 2 Mekhi Lewis of Virginia Tech in the 174-pound CKLV finals. He also has a ranked win over Army’s No. 19 Ben Pasiuk.

Labriola looks like a legitimate title contender in his final season, but he’ll have to go through two-time NCAA champ Carter Starocci of Penn State if he wants to stand on top of the podium in March.

No. 17 Lenny Pinto (6-5)

At 184 pounds, Pinto hasn’t been perfect but the freshman has shown that he’s going to be a tough out. This past weekend, Pinto picked up a pair of Top-10 wins on the way to finishing 6th at CKLV. He beat both No. 7 Jonathan Loew of Cornell and No. 6 Trey Munoz of Oregon State.

Because of those impressive wins, Pinto cracks the rankings for the first time at No. 17.

No. 18 Silas Allred (12-3)

Another redshirt freshman for the Huskers, Allred moved up a spot in the rankings from No. 19 to No. 18 after finishing fifth at CKLV.

Allred beat No. 12 Gavin Hoffman of Ohio State at CKLV and also holds a ranked win over then-No. 17 Owen Pentz of North Dakota State.

Allred has shown that his pinning ways have continued to Division I competition, as he’s second on the team with four sticks. He also has three wins by major decision.