Nebraska finished third of 14 teams at the Big Ten Wrestling Championships on Sunday, falling short of national No. 1 Penn State and No. 2 Iowa.
The Huskers produced five finalists, and Silas Allred became the first Husker to take home a Big Ten Championship since 2015. He was the only one of the five to win the title, but it was a stark improvement over last year’s seventh place team finish.
Two matchups featured rematches of a mid-January dual at Iowa. Both Hawkeye wrestlers won in one-sided matches.
In the 125-pound bout, No. 1 Iowa redshirt senior Spencer Lee defeated No. 2 Nebraska senior Liam Cronin in a victory by major decision, 8-2. In the first period, Lee secured two takedowns, while Cronin only managed an escape. The Hawkeye added an early escape in the second period. The third period produced another takedown for Lee and an escape for Cronin. With the victory, Lee secured his third Big Ten championship title.
In the 141-pound matchup, No. 1 Iowa senior Real Woods defeated No. 3 redshirt sophomore Brock Hardy in a victory by decision, 2-1. The senior accrued over two minutes of riding time in the first period and tallied one takedown. In the second period, Hardy chipped away at the riding time, bringing Woods down to 20 seconds and receiving a stalling point.
In the third period, the redshirt sophomore found himself in a position to capitalize, but in a competition against the clock, the clock spoke the final word.
In the 157-pound bout, No. 2 Penn State freshman Levi Haines defeated No. 1 Nebraska junior Peyton Robb, the only Husker favored in his respective championship bout, in a victory by decision, 3-1. An unsuccessful Nebraska challenge in the waning moments of the first period meant a scoreless first three minutes. Each wrestler earned an escape in the latter portion of the contest, leading to overtime. In sudden victory, Haines notched a takedown for the win, handing Robb his first loss of the season.
With two finalists remaining, Nebraska sought its first victory and its first title winner since Robert Kokesh in 2015, who claimed the hardware in the 174-pound weight class.
In the 174-pound matchup, No. 1 Nittany Lion junior Carter Starocci defeated No. 2 senior Mikey Labriola in a victory by decision, 6-1. The first period produced zero points. In the second period, Labriola managed an escape, while Starocci responded with a takedown in the final 20 seconds of the period.
In the third period, Starocci added an escape point and held on to over one minute of riding time. He capped off the third period with a takedown, handing Labriola, like Robb before him, his first loss of the season.
Finally, in the 197-pound bout, No. 2 redshirt sophomore Silas Allred defeated No. 1 senior Penn State in a victory by decision, 6-3. Three takedowns did the trick to crown Allred as Nebraska’s first Big Ten title-holder in eight years and first victor in the weight class in program history.
In the 149-pound matchup, No. 10 sophomore Rutgers Tony White defeated No. 10 senior Dayne Morton in an overtime victory by decision, 4-2. The latter took a 2-1 lead into the third period, before the former evened the score with an escape. In sudden victory, White secured the win with a takedown.
In the 165-pound bout, No. 2 Michigan redshirt junior Cameron Amine defeated No. 10 sophomore Bubba Wilson in an overtime victory by decision, 3-1. An escape for both kept the score tied and continued well into sudden victories.
The first tiebreaker came with controversy, as Amine received a point for locked hands, while Nebraska head coach Mark Manning successfully challenged the call. A similar, successful challenge came from the Wolverine bench, this time, seeking a locked hands call. As a result, Amine was awarded the point, and followed with an escape to claim the lead, which he held onto into the second tiebreaker to secure the win.
In the fifth-place match, No. 6 Northwestern redshirt sophomore Maxx Mayfield defeated Wilson in a victory by decision, 3-1.
In the 184-pound matchup, No. 4 Michigan senior Matt Finesilver defeated No. 7 redshirt freshman Lenny Pinto in a victory by decision, 8-2. In the first period, Pinto tallied a takedown, while Finesilver responded with an escape.
In the second period, the senior began to dominate, as he escaped to begin the period and ended the period with a four-point near fall. A scoreless third period for both wrestlers aided Finesilver, who held on to his lead en route to the win.
In the fifth-place match, Pinto secured a victory by fall over No. 8 Rutgers freshman Brian Saldano.
Seven Huskers — Cronin, Hardy, Robb, Wilson, Labriola, Pinto and Allred — will head to the NCAA Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma on March 16-18.