Nebraska wrestling displayed a strong performance on the first day of Big Ten Championships on Saturday, entering with four top-two seeds and advancing five wrestlers to Sunday’s finals.
No. 2 senior Liam Cronin, No. 1 junior Peyton Robb, No. 2 senior Mikey Labriola and No. 2 redshirt sophomore Silas Allred received byes in the first session of the bracket. The former is in the 125-pound weight class, while the latter three are in 157, 174 and 197-pound weight classes, respectively.
In the 141-pound bout, No 3 redshirt sophomore Brocky Hardy notched a 6-0 victory by decision over No. 14 Terrapin freshman Kal Miller. Hardy tallied two takedowns, an escape and snatched riding time in the process.
In the 184-pound matchup, No. 7 redshirt freshman Lenny Pinto notched another victory by fall over No. 10 Badger redshirt senior Tyler Dow in the first period.
Two Huskers were defeated by fall. In the 149-pound bout, No. 6 Minnesota redshirt junior Michael Blockhus defeated Nebraska’s No. 11 senior Dayne Morton by fall. In the 165-pound matchup, No. 7 Michigan State junior Caleb Fish defeated No. 10 sophomore Bubba Wilson by fall.
In the 133-pound bout, No. 5 Michigan Dylan Ragusin defeated No. 12 redshirt junior Kyle Burwick in a victory by decision, 10-4. And in the heavyweight bout, No. 3 Iowa senior Tony Cassioppi defeated No. 14 junior Austin Emerson in a victory by major decision, 10-0. Emerson also lost in the ninth-place quarterfinals.
In the 125-pound bout, Cronin defeated No. 7 Maryland redshirt freshman Braxton Brown. Cronin trailed for most of the first and second periods, but two escapes and four takedowns proved enough to secure the victory by decision, 11-7, and a first-round bye.
In the quarterfinals, Hardy defeated No. 11 Wisconsin sophomore Joseph Zargo in a victory by major decision, 12-0.
In the 157-pound matchup, Robb defeated No. 8 Northwestern redshirt junior Trevor Chumbley in a victory by major decision, 12-2.
In the 174-pound bout, Labriola defeated No. 7 Iowa senior Nelson Brands, 7-2, extending a narrow lead with two late takedowns.
In the 197-pound matchup, Allred defeated No. 7 Buckeye redshirt senior Gavin Hoffman in a victory by decision, 6-2.
A couple of defeats were collected for the squad.
No. 2 Ohio State Kaleb Romero defeated No. 7 redshirt freshman Lenny Pinto in a victory by decision, 4-3.
No. 14 Golden Gopher redshirt senior Garrett Joles defeated Emerson in a victory by decision, 4-0, in the ninth-place quarterfinals.
Cronin added another victory by decision over No. 6 Wildcat redshirt senior Michael Deaugustino, 2-1, to advance to the finals.
Hardy defeated No. 2 Penn State junior Beau Bartlett in a victory by decision, 7-3, to advance to the finals.
Robb became the third of his squad to advance to the finals as he defeated No. 4 Spartan junior Chase Saldate, 4-3.
A late takedown in the third period gave Labriola all he needed to defeat No. 3 Buckeye redshirt senior Ethan Smith in a victory by decision, 4-2.
Allred became the fifth of his squad to advance to the finals, defeating No. 3 Illinois redshirt junior Zac Braunagel.
For Nebraska, some hiccups carried over into the first round of the consolation bracket, however, Wilson earned a bye. He then clinched a victory by decision over No. 9 Minnesota junior Andrew Sparks, 3-2, gaining an edge over his opponent with an escape and takedown.
Wilson’s victories continued as he defeated No. 4 Nittany Lion redshirt freshman Alex Facundo in another victory by decision, 3-2.
No. 13 Purdue redshirt freshman Dustin Norris defeated Burwick in a victory by decision, 3-1.
No. 14 Boilermaker redshirt freshman Jaden Reynolds defeated Morton in sudden victory, 3-1.
Pinto defeated No. 9 Fighting Illini redshirt freshman Dylan Connell by a medical forfeit.
The action continues tomorrow as five Huskers hope to capitalize on their semifinal victories on the final day of Big Ten Championships.