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Wrestling: Lovett, Robb and Wilson Make it to Semis at U23 WTT

With a couple front-runners in Ridge Lovett and Peyton Robb, all three of Nebraska’s semifinalists fell short of the best-of-three final

Nebraska’s NCAA finalist Ridge Lovett (right) fell just short in the semis of the U23 World Team Trials Sunday.
Dylan Guenther / CORN NATION

Nebraska had seven competitors in the U23 division of the World Team Trials this weekend at the Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio.

And unlike last year when the Huskers had both Peyton Robb and Mikey Labriola make the U23 World Team, they won’t be represented on the age-level world stage this year.

One thing that was made clear this weekend was that the middle of Nebraska’s lineup this next season is going to be very salty. Ridge Lovett (149 pounds), Robb (157), Bubba Wilson (165) and Labriola (174) will be a tough stretch for any team to contend with.

Despite not earning any world team spots, Nebraska had some impressive performances.

U23 Men’s Freestyle

Alex Thomsen

61 kg (134 pounds)

A contender this coming season at 133 pounds, Alex Thomsen started things good with a pair of wins by technical superiority in the opening rounds.

Then in the round of 16, Thomsen fell to Brody Teske of Northern Iowa 16-5 via tech in the second period. After that loss, Thomsen forfeited out of the consolation bracket.

Thomsen ended the tournament with a 2-2 record.

Ridge Lovett

65 kg (143 pounds)

An NCAA finalist in March, Ridge Lovett was considered one of the favorites at 65 kg this weekend.

Lovett won all three of his matches Saturday via technical superiority before downing Kellyn March 16-4 in the quarterfinal round on Sunday morning.

Then in the semis, Lovett faced Cole Matthews of Pitt, who was an All-American this past season at 141 pounds. In that semi, Lovett held a 5-4 lead with 10 seconds left before giving up a late takedown, giving Matthews the 6-5 win. Matthews went on to win the tournament.

Dropping down to the consolation semis, Lovett downed Penn State’s Beau Bartlett 6-0 to move on to face Ohio State’s Jordan Decatur in the 3rd-place match. Lovett made short work of Decatur, 10-0 teching him in 1:38.

Lovett finished the weekend with a 6-1 record to finish third.

Nic Stoltenberg

70 kg (154 pounds)

A redshirt freshman, Nic Stoltenberg started his tournament with a 5-2 win over Gabriel Onorato before falling in the second round 13-2 to Indiana’s Graham Rooks.

Stoltenberg rattled off wins in the consolation bracket over Joseph Clement and Teagan Hendricks before falling to Dayne Morton via technical superiority.

Stoltenberg went 2-2 on the weekend.

Peyton Robb

74 kg (163 pounds)

An All-American in March, Peyton Robb is also the defending U23 World Team member at 74 kg.

Robb started his tournament with two quick tech wins before beating Justin McCoy 6-4 in the round of 16. Then in the quarterfinal round, Robb took out Charles Darracott 12-1 in the second period.

Robb went on to face Iowa’s Patrick Kennedy in the semifinal round. Robb took a quick 4-0 lead, but Kennedy chipped away until he took a 6-4 lead and ended the match with a pinfall win over Robb.

Robb then earned a win via injury forfeit in the consolation semifinal round before a no contest against teammate Bubba Wilson in the third-place match.

Robb finished the weekend with a 5-1 record to finish fourth.

Bubba Wilson

74 kg (163 pounds)

Last year’s starter at 165 pounds as a freshman, Wilson started his tournament with a tough 5-4 win over Penn State’s Terrell Barraclough. He then earned a 12-1 tech in the second round before another close 3-2 win over John Ridle.

In the quarterfinal round, Wilson took on Jeremy Ridge, winning another close match, this time a 6-4 decision win to advance to the semis.

In the semis, Wilson faced West Virginia’s Peyton Hall. Hall controlled Wilson throughout for the 9-0 win, knocking Wilson down to the consolation semis.

Wilson went on to beat Sonny Santiago 4-2 to advance to the 3rd-place match where he and Robb registered a no contest.

Wilson went 5-1 on the weekend to finish in fourth place.

Adam Thebeau

74 kg (163 pounds)

Adam Thebeau started his tournament with a 5-3 loss to Dajun Johnson before bouncing back for a 10-0 tech win over Tommy Baldwin in the consolation bracket.

Thebeau then fell to Michael Petite 10-0 in the first period, ending his tournament with a 1-2 record.

Brandyn Van Tassell

86 kg (190 pounds)

Brandyn Van Tassell started his tournament with a pair of wins via technical superiority, but he fell to Krystian Kinsey 10-0 in the first period in the round of 32.

Van Tassell then downed Jon Halvorsen 10-0 in the consolation bracket before falling to Sam Skillings 8-2.

Van Tassell finished with a 3-2 record on the weekend.