Mikey Labriola and Taylor Venz advance to the 2021 NCAA Championship quarterfinals after picking up victories in their respective second round matches on Thursday evening. Eight Nebraska wrestlers remain alive in the tournament as the team ends the first day at the national championships tied for ninth place with 14.5 points.
Labriola (174) was the first Husker to secure his spot in Friday’s quarterfinals, defeating Arizona State’s #20 Trenton Munoz by decision, 5-3. Labriola scored two takedowns and an escape to advance. He will make his second NCAA Championship quarterfinal appearance for his career.
Venz earned his spot in his first NCAA Championships quarterfinal match with a 10-4 decision over Missouri’s #9 Jeremiah Kent. The senior scored eight points in the final minute of the match, including four backpoints, to keep moving through the championship bracket.
Liam Cronin, Ridge Lovett, Chad Red Jr. and Peyton Robb fell in their respective second round bouts, but will wrestle back through the consolation bracket on Friday. Cronin (125) fell to Central Michigan’s #4 Drew Hildebrandt, 1-2, as riding time proved to be the deciding factor that would send Cronin to wrestlebacks. Lovett (149) dropped a 3-5 decision to Iowa’s Max Murin as the Big Ten Championships rematch went in the Hawkeye’s favor this time. Red Jr. (141) managed to come from behind and tie up his second round match but was unable to hold off Central Michigan’s #9 Dresden Simon’s offense and dropped the bout, 3-6. Robb (165) was defeated by Pittsburgh’s #3 Jake Wentzel, 1-8, to move to the consolation bracket.
Both Eric Schultz (197) and Christian Lance (285) ended the night by advancing in the consolation bracket. Schultz earned a 4-2 decision over Navy’s #18 Jacob Koser in the first consolation round, scoring a takedown and a reversal to earn his first win on the day. Lance met Edinboro’s #28 Jon Spaulding in the first consolation round, earning the winning takedown in the final seconds of the match to stay alive in the consolation bracket.
Closing his 2020-21 season, Caleb Licking fell in the first consolation round to Navy’s #21 Andrew Cerniglia by 3-5 decision. The senior finishes the season 5-8 overall after competing at his first career NCAA Championships. He is 33-25 overall in his career as a Husker.
Session III quarterfinals and consolation matches get started Friday at 10 a.m. (CT). Semifinals will be contested starting at 7 p.m. (CT).