With qualifications for the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament and the No. 1 seed on the line this weekend, the Huskers sent five wrestlers to the 2022 USMC US Open in Las Vegas to compete at the senior level. Four former wrestlers took part in freestyle, while junior-to-be Alex Thomsen competed in the senior-level Greco-Roman competition.
Tyler Berger, who already had a World Team Trial spot locked up, was gunning for the 1-seed at 70 kg, while Collin Purinton, Isaiah White and Christian Lance were all competing with the hope of qualifying for the World Team Trials in late May. A Top-7 finish this weekend secured a WTT berth.
Let’s see how they did...
Senior Men’s Freestyle
3-seed Tyler Berger
70 kg (154 pounds)
With the retirement of former Husker great James Green from 70 kg, this spot is wide open. And this weekend did a lot to establish a pecking order going into the World Team Trials in May.
The clear frontrunner is Alec Pantaleo who defeated Jordan Oliver this weekend to win the US Open and earn the 1-seed at WTT. Then just behind him is Oliver. Next in line would have to be former Husker Tyler Berger.
Berger started things off with a 12-2 win via technical superiority over John Simmons in the Round of 32.
TMWC’s Tyler Berger gets the 12-2 tech over Simmons in his 1st round match pic.twitter.com/TrQ6O0QqJk— Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (@titan_mercury) April 29, 2022
He then beat Christian Monserrat 11-0 via tech in 4 minutes, 10 seconds. In the quarters, Berger shut down All-American Will Lewan of Michigan in a 7-0 win.
Then in the semis, Berger took on the 2-seed Oliver. Berger was outdone 6-2 and denied his quest for the top seed at WTT. He then went “no contest” through the back side of the bracket to finish in sixth place.
74 kg (163 pounds)
Talk about a guy who’s only gotten better and really had a good US Open.
Collin Purinton came in unseeded and really did some good things. After a bye in the Round of 64, Purinton won 10-0 via tech over Nektoe Demison in just 48 seconds.
In the Round of 16, Purinton fell to Pennsylvania’s Andrew Cerniglia 14-4 via tech in the second period, dropping him to the consolation bracket.
Purinton rattled off wins on the back side, downing John Van Schenk Brill 10-0 via tech before beating 5-seed Cam Amine 5-2. Amine is fresh off an NCAA final appearance for Michigan.
Purinton then rattled off four straight 10-0 tech wins to finish in third place. Purinton exacted his revenge over Cerniglia as he beat him 10-0 in 2:30 in the consolation semis. Then in the third-place match, Purinton teched Peter Pappas of George Mason in the first period.
With his 7-1 record and third-place finish, Purinton earned a spot at the World Team Trials and looks to be a rapidly improving guy on the senior level.
79 kg (174 pounds)
Just starting his senior level freestyle career, Isaiah White showed some real promise in a stacked bracket at 79 kg.
White started his tournament with a 10-0 tech over Jon Hernandez in the Round of 32. Then in the Round of 16, White fell to 3-seed Chance Marsteller 11-0 via tech.
In the consolation bracket, White ripped off a pair of wins, including a 7-5 win over 6-seed Michael O’Malley. Then in the next round of consolation, White faced 4-seed Evan Wick. White proved game against the very credentialed Wick, but the former Husker fell in a wild 16-12 decision.
White went 3-2 and didn’t place, but he definitely showed he has a future in freestyle.
5-seed Christian Lance
125 kg (276 pounds)
Fresh off his All-American finish to his Husker career, Christian Lance earned his second straight berth into the World Team Trials.
Lance downed Owen Trephan 8-1 in his first match before falling in the quarterfinal round to 4-seed Demertius Thomas 5-2. Lance then went on a run in the consolation bracket with a 4-4 criteria win over Derek White and a 6-1 win over Samuel Schuyler.
In the consolation semis, Lance fell to 3-seed Ty Walz 3-0 before losing to 7-seed Lucas Davison of Northwestern 10-2 in the 5th-place match.
Senior Men’s Greco-Roman
4-seed Alex Thomsen
60 kg (132 pounds)
Coming in with a lot of Greco-Roman experience, Nebraska’s Alex Thomsen underperformed compared to his seed.
Thomsen won his first match 12-4 via tech in just 23 seconds but fell in the quarterfinal round 3-1 to Max Black. Thomsen then beat Oscar Nellis out of California 11-2 before another setback in a 9-0 loss to Phillip Moomey.
Thomsen then faced Kegan Calkins in the 7th-place match. Thomsen held the lead in the second period before eventually falling 12-10 to finish in eighth place with a 2-3 record.