Three of Nebraska’s recruits competed last week at the USMC/USAW Junior National Championships in Fargo, N.D. And all three went home with All-American honors.
Nebraska had two 2023 commits compete at 120 pounds in both freestyle and Greco-Roman in Kael Lauridsen and Alan Koehler. Lauridsen is currently ranked No. 6 in the country at 120 pounds while Koehler is ranked No. 14 at that same weight. Lauridsen is out of Bennington, Neb., while Koehler hails from Minnesota.
Also competing was Ismael Ayoub, a former Wisconsin commit who flipped to Nebraska this summer. Ayoub, a 2022 recruit, is set for his freshman season in just a few months. The Ohio native competed at Fargo at 138 pounds in freestyle.
So, how’d they do?
Lauridsen was again a wrecking ball in Greco-Roman. Last season, Lauridsen won a national title at Fargo in Greco and he repeated that performance this year to earn back-to-back champ status.
Lauridsen went 7-0 in Greco with two wins by pinfall and five via technical superiority. Lauridsen met fellow Husker commit Koehler in the semifinal round and beat him 11-2 in 2 minutes, 23 seconds (highlights below).
Kael Lauridsen WINS‼️ He’s going to the Fargo FINALS for the second year in a row‼️ pic.twitter.com/mwNIayTOV4— NE USA Wrestling (@NEUSAWrestling) July 22, 2022
In the final, Lauridsen found himself down 4-2 but was able to reverse Massey Odiotti’s throw attempt, putting him on his back for the first-period fall.
KAEL LAURIDSEN WINS IT AGAIN‼️ pic.twitter.com/wHITuYFrEI— NE USA Wrestling (@NEUSAWrestling) July 22, 2022
In freestyle, things weren’t as easy for Lauridsen, as he went 7-2 to finish in 5th place, securing double All-American honors.
Lauridsen won his first four matches to advance to the quarterfinal round, but he ran into eventual champion Nate Jesuroga there. An Iowa commit and the No. 1-ranked high-schooler at 120 pounds, Jesuroga handed Lauridsen an 11-0 loss.
In the consolation bracket, Lauridsen started with two wins via tech, including a 10-0 demolishing of Vinny Kilkeary, the No. 15-ranked wrestler in the country at 120 pounds.
Kael Lauridsen scores 8 points in just 7 seconds here and tech falls his opponent. He now advances to the consolation semi-finals!! pic.twitter.com/aXeHas2IFr— NE USA Wrestling (@NEUSAWrestling) July 18, 2022
Then came one of the matches of the tournament, as Lauridsen faced Braeden Davis of Michigan in the consolation semis. Davis is ranked No. 3 at 120 pounds and is committed to Penn State. Lauridsen took an 8-0 lead into the break, then held a 13-4 lead early in the second period. But Davis stormed back and scored 18 unanswered points for the 22-13 win over Lauridsen.
Dropping down to the 5th-place match, Lauridsen easily beat Tennessee’s Kenneth Hendricksen 10-0 in just under two minutes.
Kael Lauridsen wins his 5th place match with ease, 1 minute and 52 seconds was all it took for the tech fall! pic.twitter.com/TCt3fsKiwQ— NE USA Wrestling (@NEUSAWrestling) July 19, 2022
Alan Koehler started things off as a man possessed in the Greco-Roman bracket. He beat his first four opponents via tech, outscoring them a combined 34-1 in those matches.
Then in the semifinal round, Koehler fell to Lauridsen 11-2 via tech in the second period. Koehler rebounded to earn an 18-7 tech in the consolation semis before downing Marcello Milani 11-2 in the 3rd-place match, finishing with a 6-1 record on the tournament.
In freestyle, Koehler got off to a similarly hot start, beating his first four opponents via tech by a combined score of 43-2.
Then in the quarterfinal round, Koehler faced off against Kilkeary out of Pennsylvania. Koehler won a hard-fought 7-5 decision to advance to the semis. Kilkeary is an Ohio State commit and is ranked No. 27 on the class of 2023 Big Board.
In the semis, Koehler faced off against top-ranked Jesuroga, falling via tech 10-0 in the second period.
In the consolation semis, Koehler downed Hendrickson 5-4 to advance to the 3rd-place match against Davis. After putting 22 points on Lauridsen in the consolation semis, Davis was largely shut down by Koehler. Davis scored the initial takedown of the match, but Koehler scored 12 unanswered points to earn the 12-2 win via tech to earn third place for double All-American honors.
Facing a loaded 131-man bracket at 138 pounds, Nebraska’s newest addition Ismael Ayoub turned a lot of heads in Fargo.
After a 12-0 win in the opening round, Ayoub faced New York’s Cameron Catrabone, the No. 15-ranked wrestler in the country at 138 pounds. Ayoub showed he was serious with the 19-9 upset win via tech.
Ismael Ayoub takes out #15 Cam Catrabone in the round of 64. pic.twitter.com/UmsveP2aHq— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) July 17, 2022
Ayoub won his next two matches to advance to the quarters, where he took on Zeke Seltzer, ranked No. 5 at 132 pounds. Ayoub pulled out the 8-6 win in that match to advance to the semis, where he beat Kansas’ Easton Taylor 10-0 via tech.
In the finals, Ayoub fell short against Iowa’s Ryder Block, the 10th-ranked 138-pounder in the country. Ayoub fell 12-2 late in the second period.
Despite the loss in the final, Ayoub really showed that he’s a high-caliber recruit and the Huskers poached a good one from a conference rival in Wisconsin.