After the first day of the 2022 Big Ten Championships, Nebraska has largely struggled but also has seen some bright spots.
The Huskers had five wrestlers in the semifinal round but only went 1-4 in the round. Their only finalist for Sunday night will be 1-seed Eric Schultz at 197 pounds.
In the team race, Nebraska sits in 6th place with 65 points on Day 1. Michigan leads the team race with 116 points, while Penn State is second with 111.5 points. Iowa is third with 109 points, while Ohio State is fourth with 72. Northwestern sits in fifth with 70.5 points.
The Huskers will be back in action tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. Central with the consolation matches on BTN+ before the finals Sunday at 3:30 p.m. on BTN.
Freshman Jeremiah Reno finished a tough season with a tough tournament showing.
Reno, the 13-seed, went 0-3 and did not place at the Big Ten Championships and will finish his season with a 4-15 record.
Reno fell to 4-seed Malik Heinselman of Ohio State 10-1 via major decision in the first round. In the consolation bracket, Reno lost his next match 13-11 in sudden victory to 12-seed Jacob Moran of Indiana.
Due to the Big Ten earning 10 NCAA allocations at 125 pounds, there is a 9th-place bracket to figure out who will qualify for nationals. In the first round of the 9th-place bracket, Reno dropped another match to Moran, this time a 9-7 decision.
Another freshman starter for the Huskers was 10-seed Dominick Serrano here at 133. In the first round, Serrano fell to 7-seed Chris Cannon via 7-3 decision.
Then in the consolation bracket, Serrano dropped another match to 9-seed Matt Ramos via 5-3 decision.
Due to the Big Ten earning 10 NCAA allocations at 133 pounds as well, there is a 9th-place bracket. In the first round of the 9th-place bracket, Serrano took out 14-seed Dylan Koontz of Ohio State 14-4 via major decision, although the 9th-place matches don’t count toward the team race.
Serrano will face 8-seed Joe Olivieri of Rutgers in the 9th-place semifinal on Sunday.
In probably Nebraska’s biggest disappointment on the day, 4-seed Chad Red finished with a 1-2 record and did not place.
Red was upset by 13-seed Cayden Rooks of Indiana in the first round, losing a tight 9-8 decision on a stalling call in the final 10 seconds for not working up from Rooks’ legs after a late takedown. It was the right call, but it was still a gut shot for the Huskers.
Red did record a pinfall win over 12-seed Matt Santos (video below) in the consolation bracket, but the Husker senior dropped his next match to 11-seed Parker Filius of Purdue via 10-6 decision.
Red is 12-6 on the year and will need an at-large bid to get back to the NCAA Championships.
Nebraska’s 3-seed Ridge Lovett looked good early in the tournament before struggling in the semifinal round.
Lovett beat 14-seed Alec White 8-1 in the opening round before downing 6-seed Mike Van Brill 2-0 in the quarterfinals.
149 | Ridge is on to the semis❗️— Husker Wrestling (@HuskerWrestling) March 5, 2022
Lovett takes down Van Brill by decision, 2-0. pic.twitter.com/olHIO8CR59
Then in the semifinal round, Lovett ran into a buzzsaw in the form of 2-seed Austin Gomez of Wisconsin. Gomez rushed into a double-under position before tossing Lovett to his back for the pinfall in just 20 seconds.
Lovett will move on to Sunday’s consolation semifinal against 10-seed Michael Blockhus of Minnesota.
For Nebraska’s 5-seed Peyton Robb, he had a pretty solid Day 1 on Saturday.
Robb downed 12-seed Joe Roberts of Illinois 4-0 in the first round before taking out 4-seed Kendall Coleman of Purdue 6-4 in sudden victory.
On to the semis, Robb took on 1-seed Ryan Deakin of Northwestern. Deakin went up 3-0 in the second quarter, but Robb cut the lead to 3-2 with a double-leg takedown in the second. Deakin held on in the end for a 5-3 decision win.
Robb will take on 2-seed Kaleb Young of Iowa in Sunday’s consolation semifinal.
Possibly Nebraska’s best performance of the day came from freshman 8-seed Bubba Wilson.
Wilson started the day with a 5-1 win over 9-seed Cael Carlson of Minnesota before falling to top-seeded Carson Kharchla of Ohio State 7-2.
Then Wilson put together two impressive matches in the consolation bracket. Wilson took out 7-seed Hayden Lohrey of Purdue first via 3-2 decision. In his next match, Wilson beat 5-seed Caleb Fish of Michigan State 5-2 to advance to Sunday’s consolation semifinal match against 3-seed Dean Hamiti of Wisconsin.
165 | Bubba keeps on rollin'.— Husker Wrestling (@HuskerWrestling) March 6, 2022
He gets the ✌️ and hangs on for the 5-2 dec. over No. 5 Fish. pic.twitter.com/DYVGJEumAW
Nebraska’s 3-seed Mikey Labriola was impressive on Saturday, but it wasn’t enough to get him to Sunday’s Big Ten final.
Labriola beat 14-seed Nate Jimenez 15-5 via major decision in the first round before earning an injury default win over 6-seed Bailee O’Reilly of Minnesota when the Gopher hurt his knee early in the second period and couldn’t continue.
However, Labriola stumbled in the semifinal, dropping a close 6-5 decision to 2-seed Logan Massa of Michigan. After earning the opening takedown of the match (video below), Labriola wasn’t able to hold on against the Wolverine senior.
174 semifinal | Mikey strikes first. He leads 2-1 after the first period. pic.twitter.com/1JGh4EZ2MU— Husker Wrestling (@HuskerWrestling) March 6, 2022
Labriola will face 5-seed Ethan Smith of Ohio State in Sunday’s consolation semifinal.
Nebraska’s 4-seed Taylor Venz opened his tournament with a few wins before falling to the defending NCAA champion.
Venz beat 13-seed Max Lyon of Purdue 6-2 in the first round before downing Iowa’s 5-seed Abe Assad 4-2.
Then in the semis, Venz again fell to 1-seed Aaron Brooks, this time a 7-2 decision loss.
Venz moves on to face 12-seed Zac Braunagel of Illinois in Sunday’s consolation semifinal.
Nebraska’s best and most consistent wrestler all season did it again on Saturday. Top-seeded Eric Schultz advanced to his third straight Big Ten final.
After an opening-round bye, Schultz downed Ohio State’s 9-seed Gavin Hoffman 3-1 before beating Michigan’s 5-seed Pat Brucki 3-2 in the semifinal round.
Schultz advances to Sunday evening’s Big Ten final against 2-seed Max Dean of Penn State.
In a stacked heavyweight bracket, Nebraska’s 6-seed Christian Lance had an up-and-down day.
First, Lance took out 11-seed Michael Woulfe of Purdue via 7-2 decision before falling to Penn State’s 3-seed Greg Kerkvliet 7-1.
HWT | Christian Lance battles for a 7-2 decision over Woulfe (Purdue) pic.twitter.com/lhKgMhiOZo— Husker Wrestling (@HuskerWrestling) March 5, 2022
In the consolation bracket, Lance earned a 7-4 win over 12-seed Boone McDermott of Rutgers before falling to 9-seed Luke Luffman of Illinois 3-2.
Lance will face Ohio State’s 8-seed Tate Orndorff in Sunday’s 7th-place match.