The Husker wrestling team had one of their best performances of the season in a tri-meet in Bloomington, Indiana on Saturday, beating Indiana 47-0 and Michigan State 27-10.
The first meet was against Indiana, with No. 9 senior Liam Cronin taking the mat first for the Huskers at the 125-pound weight class against Hoosiers’ freshman Jacob Moran. Cronin, who transferred to the Huskers from Indiana, earned a 4-2 win by decision to put Nebraska up 3-0.
At 133 pounds, Husker sophomore Alex Thomsen fell behind early to Indiana junior Kyle Luigs. Luigs was in control of the match, leading 10-0 before a reversal by Thomsen put the junior in a position he couldn’t escape from. Thomsen got the win by fall as a result, extending the Husker lead to 9-0 off of a bonus point victory.
Thomsen’s big pin provided instant momentum for the other Husker wrestlers. In the 141-pound match, Nebraska senior No. 9 CJ Red Jr. pinned Indiana sophomore Cayden Rooks one minute into their match, extending the lead to 15-0. In the 149 pound weight class, Nebraska freshman Brock Hardy pinned Indiana junior Jonathan Moran in less than a minute, giving Nebraska a third straight pin to extend the lead to 21-0.
Nebraska senior Caleb Licking would not continue the consecutive pin streak for the Huskers at the 157-pound weight class, but he still had a grand performance against Indiana sophomore Matt Ortiz. Licking dominated the match, shutting out Ortiz for a 6-0 win by decision to put Nebraska ahead 24-0 at the halfway point.
After Nebraska No. 18 sophomore Peyton Robb defeated Indiana sophomore Nick South by major decision 10-2, the first ranked matchup of the match happened at 174-pounds between Nebraska No. 4 junior Mikey Labriola and Indiana sophomore No. 17 DJ Washington. Labriola’s takedowns and four-point near fall put him up big early, shutting out Washington through the first two periods. Washington made it interesting in the third, with a late escape leading to an explosive takedown and a four-point near fall, but to no avail. Labriola avoided the pin, and held on afterwards to protect his early lead by a 13-7 decision.
At the 184-pound weight class, Nebraska freshman Nathan Haas used several takedowns against overmatched Indiana freshman Drayton Harris for a 12-3 win by major decision to put the Huskers up 35-0. This was yet another Nebraska bonus point win.
The match ended on an anticlimactic note, with the final two matches being won by injury default. In the 197-pound weight class, Nebraska’s No. 2 senior Eric Schultz led 6-3 against Indiana sophomore Nick Willham, before an incidental headbutt caused bleeding on Willham before the fight was stopped due to injury and Schultz was named the winner. In the heavyweight match, Nebraska No. 10 senior Christian Lance’s takedown attempt on Indiana sophomore Jacob Bullock injured Bullock’s leg. Bullock was unable to continue, and Lance was awarded the victory. Nebraska got its second shutout win of the season with the 47-0 victory over the Hoosiers.
The winning streak continued in the second match of the meet against Michigan State, starting with Cronin defeating Michigan State No. 13 junior Rayvon Foley by decision 14-13. At 133 pounds, Nebraska junior Tucker Sjomeling earned his third win of the season with a 10-4 decision over Michigan State freshman Jordan Hamdan, putting Nebraska up 6-0.
Red Jr. looked just as solid in his second 141-pound match of the day. The No. 9 senior defeated Michigan State junior Jaden Enriquez by 6-1 decision to extend the Husker lead to 9-0. At 149-pounds, Nebraska sophomore Ridge Lovett got his first bonus point win of the season with a dominant 13-3 victory against Michigan State freshman Peyton Omania.
Nebraska’s streak of 60 unanswered points on Saturday would end at the 157-pound match. Husker sophomore Jevon Parrish was shut out by Michigan State freshman Chase Saldate, who used escapes, takedowns and a stalling penalty on Parrish to win by major decision 8-0 and cut the Nebraska lead down to 12-4.
Nebraska’s shortcomings would not last long. In the 165-pound weight class Robb defeated Michigan State freshman Caleb Fish by 10-3 decision. Robb had a significant riding time advantage, contributing to his victory. Another major decision win for Nebraska came in the 174-pound weight class, with Labriola luring in sophomore Nathan Jiminez for several takedowns en route to a 16-4 victory.
Michigan State got momentum back with the 184-pound match between Haas and Michigan State sophomore Layne Malczewski. Malczewski got the first pin of the match for the Spartans, winning by fall just over a minute-and-a-half into the match. The Spartans looked to carry that momentum over to the big showdown at 197 pounds between Schultz and Michigan State No. 5 junior Cameron Caffey. However, Schultz remained undefeated, holding on late in a tightly contested match to win by a 6-5 decision and ensure the Husker victory by extending the lead to 23-10.
At the heavyweight class, Lance finished the match off in grand fashion, with a 12-4 major decision victory over Michigan State senior Christian Rebottaro. Nebraska won the second match of the duel 27-10.
Nebraska’s final regular season match is on Feb. 21 against Illinois.