On Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6-7, the No. 7 Huskers wrestling team competed in the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas, placing first as a team. After battling 31 other programs and amassing 118 points, the Huskers were victorious for the third-ever win for the program at the Cliff Keen Invitational, and the first since 2008. The Huskers also won the Cliff Keen Invitational in 2003.
Freshman Ridge Lovett (133) won third place in his weight class. He went 2-0 on Friday, then lost his first match on Saturday, which was a 5-1 decision against Montorie Bridges of Wyoming. In the consolation bracket, he then proceeded to pin Northern Colorado’s Mosha Schwartz in just over two minutes in the consolation semifinal, and then defeated Todd Small of Iowa State by a decision of 7-1 in the third-place bout to take home third place for the Huskers.
In the 165-pound weight class, senior Isaiah White went 5-0 over both days and won the 165-pound title, defeating Ethan Smith of Ohio State 4-1 in the semifinal and beating Arizona State’s Joshua Shields by a decision of 3-1 in the final. This was White’s second-ever first-place finish at the Cliff Keen Invitational and his first with the Huskers.
Sophomore All-American Mikey Labriola (174) won third place in his weight class after he went 3-0 on Friday and 2-1 on Saturday. On Saturday, he faced Dylan Lydy of Purdue in the semifinal and lost in a 3-1 decision. Once entering the consolation bracket, Labriola defeated Kimball Bastian of Utah Valley by a decision of 7-5 and defeated Devin Skatzka of Minnesota 7-5 in the third-place match to collect another third-place finish for the Huskers.
Four Huskers also finished the tournament with fifth-place finishes, including junior Eric Schultz (197) and senior Christian Lance (HWT). In the 141-pound weight class, junior All-American Chad Red Jr. finished fifth after defeating Michael Blockhus of Northern Iowa by a major decision of 16-6. In the 184-pound weight class, junior All-American Taylor Venz finished fifth after pinning Binghamton’s Lou DePrez in 1:29.
In the 157-pound weight class, redshirt freshman Peyton Robb went 4-2 overall in the tournament and collected a seventh-place finish after defeating Arizona State’s Jacori Teemer by a decision of 5-0 in the seventh-place bout. Senior Collin Purinton went 3-3 overall in the tournament and finished in eighth place after he lost to Clarion’s Brock Zacherl in the seventh-place match. In the 125-pound weight class, redshirt freshman Alex Thomsen did not place.
Next up for the Huskers is a home match at the Bob Devaney Sports Center against the Oregon State Beavers on Dec. 20 before beginning Big Ten Conference play at the beginning of 2020.