Husker wrestling finishes Big Ten championship as fifth place team with two runner-ups

MINNEAPOLIS — Nebraska finished with a pair of runners-up at the Big Ten meet on Sunday afternoon.

Senior Tyler Berger (157 pounds) and sophomore CJ Red (141) lost in the finals. Overall, Nebraska had five wrestlers finish in the top four of their weight classes to lead the Huskers to a fifth-place team finish.

Penn State won four of the 10 classes to capture the team crown with 157.5 points, 35 points in front of Ohio State. Iowa was third (107.5 points) and Minnesota (101.5) was fourth.

Iowa had a champion at 165 pounds as Alex Marinelli upset top-ranked Vincenzo Joseph of Penn State 9-3. The Hawkeyes also had a runner-up at 125 after Spencer Lee lost in sudden-victory to Northwestern’s Sebastian Rivera.

Berger, a two-time All-American, lost to Penn State’s Jason Nolf in the final. Nolf, the defending national champion, got two quick takedowns and built his lead from there en route to a 12-4 major decision. Nolf also defeated Berger, who has a 25-3 record this season, 10-4 in January. They will likely be the top two seeds at nationals.

Red came into the meet seeded eighth before upsetting top-seeded Mike Carr of Illinois in the quarterfinal. But in the final, Ohio State’s Joey McKenna built an 8-1 lead through two periods and defeated Red 9-2.

Nebraska had three others, Mikey Labriola (174), Taylor Venz (184) and Eric Schultz (197), lose third-place matches.

Labriola was tied with Minnesota’s Devin Skatzka 2-2 before Skatzka recorded a decisive takedown with five seconds left. Both of Labriola’s losses during the weekend were to Skatzka.

Schultz also lost his third-place match in the final seconds. Down 5-4 to Iowa’s Jacob Werner, Schultz escaped with one second left to force extra time. But Warner earned the win with a takedown 22 seconds into sudden-victory.

Also for the Huskers, Isaiah White finished fifth at 165 and heavyweight David Jensen placed sixth.

Nebraska, which hasn’t had a Big Ten individual champion since 2015, has finished in the top five at the conference meet four straight years.

Seven Huskers — Berger, Red, White, Venz, Schultz, Jensen and Labriola — clinched automatic bids to nationals, which begins March 21.

Team scores: Penn State 157.5, Ohio State 122.5, Iowa 107.5, Minnesota 101.5, Nebraska 96.5, Michigan 76.5, Wisconsin 76, Northwestern 53.5, Rutgers 53.5, Purdue 42, Illinois 39.5, Indiana 31, Michigan State 29.5, Maryland 13.

Championship matches: 125: Sebastian Rivera, Northwestern, dec. Spencer Lee, Iowa, 6-4 SV-1. 133: Nick Suriano, Rutgers, dec. Luke Pletcher, OS, 4-1. 141: Joey McKenna, Ohio State, dec. CJ Red, Nebraska, 9-2. 149: Anthony Ashnault, Rutgers, dec. Micah Jordan, Ohio State, 8-6. 157: Jason Nolf, Penn State, major dec. Tyler Berger, Nebraska, 12-4. 165: Alex Marinelli, Iowa, dec. Vincenzo Jospeh, Penn State, 9-3. 174: Mark Hall, Penn State, dec. Myles Amine, Michigan, 3-2. 184: Myles Martin, Ohio State, medical forfeit over Skakur Rasheed, Penn State. 197: Bo Nickal, Penn State, dec. Kollin Moore, Ohio State, 10-3. HWT: Anthony Cassar, Penn State, dec. Gable Stevenson, Minnesota, 4-3.