At the U17 level at the USMC US Open, formerly known as cadet, Nebraska had a recent commit compete as well as a priority in-state target.
Nebraska’s most recent commitment to its class of 2023 Kael Lauridsen competed in both Greco-Roman and freestyle at 55 kg while Millard South standout and Husker target Joel Adams wrestled both styles as well at 65 kg.
On the Class of 2023 Big Board by FloWrestling, Adams is No. 37 and Lauridsen is No. 39. Adams is No. 4 in the country at 145 pounds, while Lauridsen checks in at No. 6 at 113 pounds.
U17 Men’s Freestyle and Greco-Roman
55 kg (121 pounds)
Starting off in Greco-Roman, Lauridsen began the tournament with two wins by technical superiority before falling 4-4 on criteria in the quarterfinal round to Otto Black.
Lauridsen then went on to win his final four matches to finish in third place, including a 5-2 win over Black in the 3rd-place match.
In freestyle, Lauridsen was dominant to start with two wins via tech and another by pinfall. In the quarterfinal round, Lauridsen beat Drew Gorman 11-7 before falling to Nate Jesuroga 5-3 in the semis. Jesuroga is the No. 4-ranked 120-pounder in the country and is No. 5 on the 2023 Big Board.
Lauridsen then injury defaluted out of the back side, finishing in sixth place.
65 kg (143 pounds)
In Greco-Roman, Joel Adams outscored his first five opponents 50-0 on the way to the best-of-three finals. Facing the No. 12-ranked 145-pounder in the country and Pennsylvania state champion Pierson Manville, Adams won the first match 10-1 before winning a much tighter second match 7-6 to earn a spot on the Cadet World Team in Greco at 65 kg.
In freestyle, Adams again started strong, outscoring his first four opponents 44-0 to advance to the semifinal round. In the semis, Adams again downed Manville, this time a 5-3 decision.
In the final, Adams faced Tyler Kasak, the No. 5-ranked 138-pounder in the country out of Pennsylvania. Kasak is No. 25 on the 2023 Big Board.
After beating Kasak last year in the Fargo final and at Super 32, Adams again outlasted Kasak in their first match of a best-of-three series. Adams held on for a 4-3 win.
In their second match, Kasak controlled things for a 7-0 win. In a pivotal and wild third match, Adams fell short 6-4 and will not be representing Team USA in freestyle.
As far as Adams’ prospects and importance to the Huskers, he’s not only one of the best in-state recruits in years, he’s also at a weight of need. Looking into the future, Adams’ first year on campus (likely a redshirt year) would coincide with Ridge Lovett’s senior season. Meaning Adams could be the heir apparent to Lovett at 149 pounds and could take over the starting spot as a redshirt freshman with four years of eligibility remaining.
Without a future replacement at 149 currently on the roster, this matchup between Adams and Nebraska is kismet.