Nebraska really put their best foot forward yesterday at the Navy Classic.
The 9th-ranked Huskers crowned six champions out of their nine finalists while having 11 total placers in the tournament. Nebraska’s starters went a combined 40-5 with six of them still undefeated on the year.
As you can see, Nebraska also took home the team title, beating runner-up Navy by 75 points.
With two weeks until Nebraska’s trip to Vegas for the Cliff Keen Invitational, this was a perfect tune-up for the season’s toughest non-postseason tournament at the beginning of December.
*FloWrestling individual rankings used
Other guys on the team may have had bigger wins, but Nebraska’s No. 12 Caleb Smith may have had the best tournament by a Husker. With top-ranked Anthony Noto of Lock Haven not entered, Smith was the 1-seed.
Smith lived up to that seed with five bonus-point wins. With three tech falls and two major decisions, Smith ended things with a 9-1 major over 2-seed Tucker Owens of Air Force, the No. 22-ranked guy in the country.
If you dive deeper, you see just how dominant Smith was — he recorded an obscene 25 takedowns in five matches and didn’t give up a single one. On the season, Smith is 7-0 with 29 takedowns and none given up.
Nebraska had two wrestlers here with redshirt freshman Jacob Van Dee (3-seed) and junior Kyle Burwick (5-seed).
Van Dee and Burwick both started with two straight wins going into the semifinal round. In the semis, Van Dee downed 2-seed Gable Strickland of Lock Haven 9-5, while Burwick fell to 1-seed Kurt Phipps of Bucknell 3-0.
Van Dee then faced the 12th-ranked Phipps in the final but dropped the match 3-2 on a riding-time point. Burwick beat Strickland via pinfall in the 3rd-place match.
Van Dee is now 5-1 on the year, while Burwick is 3-1. With this starting spot open, the competition continues as neither guy really separated himself — both guys lost to the same wrestler in Phipps. Considering he placed higher and has been the starter so far this year, I’d expect Van Dee to keep the starting gig.
Nebraska’s No. 4 Brock Hardy came in as the 1-seed and did what he was supposed to do.
Hardy started with a win via pinfall before teching Princeton’s Tyler Vazquez 16-1. Hardy then used a third-period ride-out to down 5-seed Jacob Silka of the Citadel 11-5. In the final, Hardy beat 2-seed Josh Koderhandt of Navy (ranked No. 9) in a controlled 4-0 decision.
Hardy improves to 5-0 on the year with the Navy Classic title and a Top-10 win to go with it.
Nebraska’s top-ranked Ridge Lovett was able to stay perfect, although it wasn’t without some tense moments.
Lovett started things with a pair of tech falls before squeaking out a 1-0 decision over 5-seed Jeffery Boyd of The Citadel. In the final, Lovett quickly took down and pinned 3-seed Dylan Chappell of Bucknell (ranked No. 29).
Despite the hickup, Lovett is now 6-0 and has yet to give up a takedown all year.
Also at 149, Nebraska true freshman Scott Robertson wrestled. He went 0-2 with both losses via major decision.
Nebraska’s No. 3 Peyton Robb was the 1-seed here and showed why as he blew through the competition with two pins and two techs in five matches.
Robb started his tournament with a first-period pin before teching Lock Haven’s Kaiden Wagner 17-2. In the quarters, Robb pinned Ohio’s Daniel Segura. Then in the semis, Robb beat 4-seed Cade Wirnsberger of Bucknell via 17-0 tech fall.
In the final, Robb beat 2-seed Jonathon Ley of Navy 8-1, improving to 7-0 on the year.
Much like at 133, Nebraska had two guys wrestling here. No. 24-ranked Antrell Taylor has been the starter so far and was the 2-seed. A two-time NCAA qualifier, junior Bubba Wilson was also entered.
Taylor started his day with a 17-2 tech before an 11-1 major decision over Kent State’s Aaron Ferguson in the quarters. In the semis, Taylor beat 3-seed Garrett Thompson of Ohio (ranked No. 20) 10-3. In the final, Taylor again won a 10-3 decision, this time to 4-seed Giano Petrucelli of Air Force (ranked No. 26).
With his Navy Classic title, Taylor is now 6-0 on the year and poised to move up in the rankings.
Wilson started strong with a tech and a pin, but he fell to 1-seed Noah Mulvaney 5-4 in the quarters. A true freshman, Mulvaney is ranked No. 12 in the country for Bucknell.
Wilson then won a match in the consolations but fell in the consolation semis via pinfall to 5-seed Avery Bassett of Lock Haven. He finished the day with a 3-2 record.
With no shortage of options here, Nebraska went with sophomore Adam Thebeau and true freshman Christopher Minto.
Junior Elise Brown Ton started the year at this weight, dropping his dual match at NDSU before going 3-2 at the Grand View Open, falling to Minto 2-1 in overtime in the consolation semis. Thebeau got the other dual start, recording a tech fall win against Campbell.
On Saturday, Minto and Thebeau both had 4-1 records with their lone losses coming to 1-seed Danny Wask of Navy (ranked No. 28). Minto made it to the final with a major decision and three regular decisions before falling to Wask 5-0 in the final.
Thebeau pinned his first opponent before getting pinned by Wask. He then rattled off three wins in the consolations, ending with a 30-second pin of 6-seed Myles Takats of Bucknell.
Minto is 9-2 on the year, while Thebeau is 5-1 — really, it’s anyone’s guess who the Huskers elect to go with in Vegas in two weeks.
Nebraska’s No. 14 Lenny Pinto improved his stock this weekend by adding a Navy Classic title to his name. As the 2-seed, he went 4-0 with all four wins with bonus points.
Pinto started things with a 21-2 tech fall before a pair of pins in the quarters and semis. In the semifinal, Pinto stuck No. 30 Nate Dugan of Princeton in 1:16.
In the final, Pinto downed No. 12-ranked David Key (the 1-seed) of Navy 18-8 via major decision.
Now 6-0 on the year, Pinto just notched his first “upset” of the season. I’m guessing it won’t be his last.
In one of the only downsides to Nebraska’s weekend, No. 6 Silas Allred was knocked off a bit as he finished runner-up.
Allred won his first match 17-4 via major decision before pinning his next opponent. In the quarters, Allred won via 18-1 tech fall. Moving on to the semis, Allred beat 4-seed Aidan Conner of Princeton 10-5.
In the final, Allred fell to No. 15 Luke Stout of Princeton 4-1 in sudden victory.
Allred is now 6-1 on the year.
Nebraska is 0-2 in duals at heavyweight, so both of its guys were in the field. Redshirt freshman Harley Andrews and true freshman Matthew Moore both competed.
Nebraska’s starter so far this year, Andrews pinned his first opponent before falling to 4-seed Dorian Crosby 12-5 in sudden victory. Andrews then recorded a pin and a tech before getting pinned in the consolation semis, ending his tournament.
Moore fell to 2-seed Dan Bucknavich (ranked No. 22) 2-0 to start the day before earning a 9-3 win over Cleveland State’s Mason Cover in the consolation bracket. Moore then fell to The Citadel’s Ben Stemmet 4-1.
Andrews is now 3-4 on the year, while Moore is 1-2. I’d imagine they continue with Andrews as the starter and Moore in redshirt.