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Wrestling: Huskers Crown Two Champs at CKLV, Fall Short of Team Title

Both Ridge Lovett and Peyton Robb won titles as four other Huskers placed at the nation’s toughest in-season tournament

Nebraska’s Ridge Lovett (right) won a CKLV title Saturday night by defeating 3-seed Caleb Henson of Virginia Tech in the finals.
Dylan Guenther / CORN NATION

In a tournament that came down to the last few matches to determine the team champion, the Huskers fell just short of their quest for a 4-peat at the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas.

Nebraska had six of its ten starters place as they finished in second place behind champions Iowa State. The Cyclones finished with 130.5 points, ahead of the Huskers with 125.5. Ohio State came in third with 123.5 points.

The Huskers had six wrestlers still alive to start Day 2 and ended the day with a pair of champions in Ridge Lovett and Peyton Robb.

For a recap of how the Huskers did on Day 1, click here.

Husker Finalists

1-seed Ridge Lovett - 1st Place

#1 at 149 pounds

After a fairly dominant Day 1, Lovett continued where he left off in Saturday’s semifinal round.

Facing 4-seed Dylan D’Emilio, the 7th-ranked wrestler in the country for Ohio State, Lovett was again dominant with an 11-0 major decision victory. He took D’Emilio down twice while collecting two nearfall points and racking up an absurd 5 minutes, 21 seconds of riding time. In all seriousness, Lovett may have the best top wrestling in the country of anyone at any weight class.

In the finals, Lovett faced off against 3-seed Caleb Henson (ranked No. 4) of Virginia Tech. The Husker junior used an early takedown and some savvy mat work to get the 4-3 decision win over Henson, only solidifying his standing as the top-ranked 149-pounder in the land.

With his perfect 5-0 weekend, Lovett is now 11-0 this year.

1-seed Peyton Robb - 1st Place

#3 at 157 pounds

After plowing through the field on Day 1, Robb did more of the same on Saturday.

The Husker senior started the day with a dominant 8-2 decision over 4-seed Will Lewan (ranked No. 6) of Michigan, his first career win over Lewan.

In the finals, Robb took on 2-seed Jacori Teemer (ranked No. 4) of Arizona State. He fell behind early with a takedown by Teemer, but Robb came back for the 6-4 decision win.

With his 5-0 weekend and second CKLV title, Robb is now 12-0 on the year.

Husker Placers

4-seed Caleb Smith - 3rd Place

#10 at 125 pounds

In what may end up being the highlight of Nebraska’s tournament, Smith started the day with a marathon overtime win over top-seeded Matt Ramos of Purdue. Ranked No. 3 in the country, Ramos struck first with a takedown in the first period. Smith then got an escape before riding the Boilermaker out for the entire second period, essentially collecting a riding-time point in the process. Smith then tied the score at 3-all with a third-period escape.

Moving on to a 2-minute sudden victory, neither man was able to score although Smith was nearing a takedown as time expired. They moved on to tiebreakers, where each man gets a 30-second period to start from bottom if they choose.

After both tiebreaker periods, both men scored escapes to tie the match at 4-all. After a review, it was determined that the riding time was at zeroes, meaning both guys escaped in the same exact amount of time.

Moving onto another sudden victory period, this time one minute long, the period ended scoreless. Moving onto another tiebreaker round with each man getting 30 seconds from bottom, Smith escaped in just two seconds in his to go up 5-4, leaving Ramos to choose neutral in search of a winning takedown. In the end, it was Smith who got the late takedown to get the 8-4 statement win.

Smith then advanced into the 3rd-place match via medical forfeit by Michigan’s Michael DeAugustino.

In the 3rd-place match against 6-seed Brandon Kaylor (ranked No. 21) of Oregon State, Smith was able to score the only takedown for the 4-1 decision win.

With his 6-1 record on the weekend, Smith is now 13-1 on the year and poised for a Top-5 ranking.

2-seed Brock Hardy - 6th Place

#4 at 141 pounds

After going 3-0 on the first day of competition, Hardy was the victim of a semifinal slide.

He dropped his semifinal match via 11-3 major to 3-seed Jesse Mendez (ranked No. 5) of Ohio State. In the consolation semis, Hardy then fell in a back-and-forth 15-13 decision to 5-seed Cael Happel (ranked No. 17) of UNI.

In the 5th-place match, Hardy lost to 10-seed Tagen Jamison 13-5. Hardy beat Jamison 4-0 in the quarferfinals earlier in the weekend.

With his 3-3 weekend, Hardy is now 8-3 on the year.

5-seed Lenny Pinto - 4th Place

#12 at 184 pounds

A man on a mission, Pinto nearly took out the top-ranked guy in the country in Parker Keckeisen of UNI in the semifinal round. Pinto got an early takedown to go up 3-0 but couldn’t hold on as Keckeisen showed why he’s No. 1, downing Pinto 8-4.

In the consolation semis, Pinto beat Michigan’s Jaden Bullock 9-6 which set up a rematch of Friday’s quarterfinal where Pinto beat No. 5 Dustin Plott 12-10.

Facing Plott for the second time, Pinto scored early but fell via 11-7 decision. With his 4-2 record this weekend, Pinto is now 10-2 on the year.

6-seed Silas Allred - 5th Place

#11 at 197 pounds

Allred started the day with a big consolation win over Wyoming’s Joey Novak via 17-2 tech fall. Then in the consolation semis, taking on 2nd-ranked Tanner Sloan of South Dakota State, Allred lost a 12-1 major decision.

Allred rebounded in the 5th-place match with an 8-5 win over Virginia Tech’s Sonny Sasso.

With his 5-2 record on the weekend, Allred is now 11-3 on the year.