Nebraska had seven competitors at the U20 US Open this weekend in Las Vegas.
Six wrestlers are currently on the roster with the seventh incoming freshman Antrell Taylor.
The Huskers had nine entries going into the tournament, but Dominick Serrano (61 kg) and Adam Thebeau (74 kg) did not compete for unknown reasons.
The Huskers had three wrestlers earn World Team Trials berths by placing in the top seven, led by finalist Silas Allred.
So, how did they do?
65 kg (143 pounds)
The former Nebraska state champion from Grand Island, Blake Cushing started his tournament with an 11-0 tech in 4:50 over Bryce Shelton in the Round of 64.
In the Round of 32, Cushing fell to Wisconsin’s Joe Zargo 11-0. He then lost a 5-0 decision to Nicholas Bolivar, finishing his tournament with a 1-2 record.
70 kg (154 pounds)
Husker freshman Joshua Licking, a Norfolk native, fell in his opening match 10-6 to Sam Freeman before earning a win in the consolation bracket. Licking dropped Nolan Randles 12-2 via tech in 3 minutes.
Licking fell to Sam McMonagle 10-0 via tech in his next match, ending his tournament with a 1-2 record.
74 kg (163 pounds)
Incoming recruit Antrell Taylor looked to be a high-schooler to watch in this bracket full of guys who have been in a college wrestling room for at least a year.
He showed that he could hold his own against older competition as he won his first matches via tech. He beat Ashton DeVargao 10-0 in 26 seconds before downing Jack Ganos of Air Force 11-0.
But it was in the Round of 16 that things took a disappointing turn. Taylor took an early 2-0 lead over Northern Colorado’s Vincent Zerban but injured his knee in the process. Taylor continued the match but was clearly limited. He ended up dropping the match 18-8 in the second period.
In the consolation bracket, Taylor looked much less limited but obviously wasn’t 100 percent. He dropped a 5-0 decision to Clayton Ulrey.
Taylor went 2-2 and didn’t place, but he looked really explosive and strong before the injury. Hopefully, it’s not something serious.
Elise Brown Ton
79 kg (174 pounds)
The biggest surprise for Nebraska on the weekend was probably Elise Brown Ton.
The redshirt freshman already had some solid freestyle credentials, but he definitely made some people take notice this weekend.
In his first four matches, Brown Ton beat each opponent by tech fall by a combined scored of 42-0. That run vaulted the Husker into the semis where he faced Pitt’s Luca Augustine.
Against Augustine, Brown Ton jumped out to a 9-0 lead and nearly ended things via tech, but Augustine came roaring back. Then in the second period up 15-11, Augustine caught Brown Ton on his back for the pin.
Dropping down to the consolation semis, Brown Ton beat Jared Stricker 10-0 via tech but ran into super recruit Rocco Welsh in the third-place match. In that match, Welsh downed Brown Ton 12-6.
With his 5-2 record on the weekend, Brown Ton finished fourth and will compete at the U20 World Team Trials in early June.
86 kg (190 pounds)
After an early setback, Nathan Haas went on a run on the back side to qualify for the World Team Trials.
Haas won his first two matches via tech before losing to Illinois’ DeAnthony Parker 15-6 in the Round of 16.
Then in the consolations, Haas won his next four matches via tech fall. However, he dropped his final matches, falling to Brian Soldano in the consolation semis before getting pinned by Parker in the 5th-place match.
Haas did some good things in going 6-3 to finish in sixth place. In his six wins, he outscored his opponents 64-2.
92 kg (203 pounds)
Silas Allred looks more than ready to take over in the starting lineup at 197 pounds, as he tore through the bottom half of the bracket this weekend.
Allred pinned Gabe Nagel of Minnesota in the first round. He then beat Jack Darrah 10-0 in 2 minutes in the quarters. In the semis, Allred took out Martin Cosgrove 12-2 via tech late in the second period.
In the final however, Allred struggled in a 12-1 tech fall loss to Jaxon Smith, a freshman at Maryland.
Allred finished the weekend with a 3-1 record and really was dominant outside of his finals loss. He’s off to the World Team Trials now.
97 kg (214 pounds)
The former heavyweight, Zak Taylor took the mat this weekend in a small bracket of just nine wrestlers.
Taylor dropped his first match 8-5 to Colten Hink. Taylor then beat Jordan Williams 16-6 via tech fall in the consolation bracket. Then Taylor fell in his final two matches, just missing out on a World Team Trials spot with an 8th-place finish and a 1-3 record.