The Nebraska wrestling team traveled to Iowa to take part in the Soldier Salute Tournament on Friday and Saturday.
Nebraska didn’t send a full squad, but it did send a few of its younger starters and backups as well as a trio of wrestlers at 174 pounds in an attempt to solidify its starting lineup. Nebraska had a few standout performances and saw some improvement out of a couple redshirt freshmen who will be relied upon to contribute this postseason.
#33 Jacob Van Dee - 2nd Place
A redshirt freshman, Jacob Van Dee nearly ran through an Iowa-only gauntlet this weekend but fell just short in the final against Iowa’s starter #11 Brody Teske.
Van Dee started his tournament with an 11-0 major decision over Iowa’s Jace Rhodes before taking out Jesse Ybarra of the Hawkeyes via second-period pinfall.
In the semifinal round, Van Dee used a full-period ride in the third to put away Iowa’s Cullan Schriever 5-1. In the final against Teske, Van Dee jumped out to an early 3-0 lead with a takedown but was only able to add an escape the rest of the match as Teske notched a takedown and two escapes for the 5-4 win over the young Husker.
With his 3-1 record on the weekend, Van Dee is now 10-4 on the year.
#20 Bubba Wilson - 3rd Place
In what can only be described as a defacto wrestle-off, Nebraska had three guys entered at 174 pounds in Bubba Wilson, Elise Brown Ton and Adam Thebeau.
Not only did Wilson place the highest of the trio at third, he also won a head-to-head matchup against Brown Ton in the consolation semis, a 1-0 decision. In the 3rd-place match, Wilson downed North Carolina’s Tyler Eischens 5-2.
I’d be shocked if Wilson isn’t Nebraska’s guy the rest of the year here — he’s a two-time NCAA qualifier at 165 and nearly beat #3 Cade DeVos in his first match up at 174 a couple weeks ago in Nebraska’s dual with SDSU.
After going 5-1 on the weekend, Wilson is 8-4 on the year.
Elise Brown Ton - 5th Place
Elise Brown Ton won his first match via pinfall before downing UNI’s Nick Fox 16-9 in the quarters, moving him on to the semis where he faced Iowa’s #6 Gabe Arnold. Brown Ton kept things close but fell in a 4-2 decision.
Brown Ton then dropped his consolation semi to Wilson before rebounding to down Fox again in the 5th-place match. Brown Ton won this one 7-3.
Harley Andrews - 7th Place
One of the common themes when speaking with Nebraska’s coaches about redshirt freshman Harley Andrews is that he just needs more reps — he needs to get in there and get his hands dirty and gain some valuable experience. Well, I think he did just that this weekend. While not a finished product by any means, I think Andrews got better this weekend.
After an opening-match loss via pinfall when he was leading 6-1, Andrews went on to reel off three straight wins on the back side — two tech falls and the other was a pin. Andrews did get stuck by Nathan Schon in the consolation round of four, but he bounced back to win the 7th-place match via pinfall over Tyler Mousaw of VMI.
With his 4-2 record on the weekend, Andrews is now 8-8 on the year.
Blake Cushing - 8th Place
A backup to Brock Hardy, Blake Cushing started his tournament with a 12-5 loss to #5 Lachlan McNeil of North Carolina. McNeill just recently earned an Olympic spot as Canada’s representative.
A former Grand Island standout, Cushing then won two matches via decision on the back side over Lorenzo Frezza and Kai Owen, both of Columbia. Cushing then medically forfeited out of the tournament, placing 8th with his 2-2 record.
A former Millard South state champion, Scott Robertson didn’t have the best weekend but he showed that there’s a lot of fight in him. He lost his first match 16-6 to Zac Cowan of Bellarmine before falling to Wyoming’s Aiden Noonan 5-2.
In the Silver bracket, Robertson first beat North Carolina’s Jayden Scott 5-4 before losing to Warren Carr of Wyoming 4-1.
In his only match, Adam Thebeau took on Arnold, a true freshman. Thebeau started off pretty good but eventually fell via 17-3 major decision, with some extracurriculars after the final whistle.
With Wilson finishing third and Brown Ton taking fifth, it’s likely that the sophomore Thebeau will finish the season as a backup.
Nebraska’s Ethan DeLeon started strong with a 23-2 tech fall win over Jared Thiry of SDSU. He then fell to Missouri’s Colton Hawks 10-1 by major decision. DeLeon then lost to Nicholas Fine 9-0 via major.
Dropping to the Silver C bracket, DeLeon beat Wyoming’s Tyce Raddon 7-6 before losing to Bellarmine’s Sam Schroeder via 10-1 major.
A true freshman, Dominic Thebeau dropped his first match via 20-4 tech fall to SDSU’s Thomas Dineen before medically forfeiting out of the back side of the tournament.
Brandyn Van Tassell
The junior who’s bumped up from 184 to wrestle at both 197 and 285 on the year, Van Tassell lost his first match 15-3 against Bowen McConville of SDSU. He then medically forfeited out of the tournament.