PISCATAWAY, N.J. — The fourth-ranked Nebraska wrestling team finished in second place with 132 points at the 2020 Big Ten Championships, the program’s best-ever finish as a member of the Big Ten conference and its best conference championships finish since tying for first at the 2009 Big 12 Championships. NU finished behind Iowa, which scored 157.5 points.
The Huskers were led by Eric Schultz (197), who placed second at 197 pounds. In the title bout, No. 2 seed Schultz was matched up against No. 1 seed Kollin Moore (Ohio State). Moore handed Schultz the latter’s lone dual meet loss of the season in Lincoln on Feb. 2 and proved his mettle once again, topping Schultz 4-1 on Sunday to capture his third career Big Ten title.
Schultz’s second-place finish capped off a day which saw eight Huskers compete in the consolation semifinals. When all was said and done, the entire Nebraska lineup clinched automatic bids to the 2020 NCAA Championships, the first time the program has accomplished that feat since 2016.
Alex Thomsen (125) was the first Husker in action on Sunday, taking on Michigan’s Jack Medley. It was a closely-contested bout throughout, with Medley coming out on top 2-1 after the second tiebreaker period. Thomsen then met Liam Cronin (Indiana) in the fifth-place match. The two grapplers were knotted at three points apiece after the first period, but Cronin finished with a flurry, pinning Thomsen in the second period. Thomsen finished sixth in his first career Big Ten Championships appearance.
Ridge Lovett (133) needed to win his seventh-place match on Sunday to secure an automatic bid to the 2020 NCAA Championships and he did so in dramatic fashion. Lovett scored the match-winning takedown as time expired to defeat Michigan’s Joey Silva 4-3.
Chad Red Jr. (141) was up next for Nebraska, taking on Iowa’s Max Murin in the consolation semifinals. Red topped Murin 6-2 in Iowa City, Iowa, back on Jan. 18 and emerged victorious again on Sunday, winning 3-1 in sudden victory. The Husker junior advanced to the third-place match, where he took on Wisconsin’s Tristan Moran. Moran defeated Red 9-4 on Jan. 12 but Red got revenge on Sunday, defeating Moran by major decision (12-3) to secure a third-place finish at 141.
Collin Purinton (149) also won his consolation semifinal match, an 8-3 decision over Michigan’s Kanen Storr. Purinton squared off against Brayton Lee (Minnesota) in the third-place match, winning a hard-fought 3-0 decision to finish third at 149 pounds.
Peyton Robb (157) advanced to the third place match when Michigan State’s Jake Tucker medically forfeited. Matched up against Illinois’ Eric Barone, Robb earned a 5-4 victory to cap his first Big Ten Championships appearance with a third-place finish.
Isaiah White (165) took care of business in his consolation semifinal bout, defeating Danny Braunagel (Illinois) 11-4 before meeting Ethan Smith (Ohio State) in the third-place match. White had defeated Smith on three previous occasions this season and added a fourth victory on Sunday, winning a 3-2 decision to become the fourth Husker to finish in third place.
Mikey Labriola (174) met Dylan Lydy (Purdue) for the third time this season with a trip to the third-place match on the line. Labriola defeated Lydy in the second tiebreaker period at both the 2019 Big Ten Championships and 2019 NCAA Championships, but it was Lydy winning in the second tiebreaker this time around, by a final score of 5-3. Labriola then met Devin Skatzka (Minnesota) in the fifth-place match. Skatzka got the best of Labriola in the quarterfinals and did so again on Sunday, defeating Labriola by decision, 8-3.
Taylor Venz (184) pinned Rocky Jordan (OSU) before facing Abe Assad (Iowa) in the third-place match. Assad defeated Venz 6-4 on Jan. 18 but the roles were reversed on Sunday, with Venz winning by the same score, making it five Big Red grapplers who finished third.
Iowa’s Tony Cassioppi pinned David Jensen (HWT) but Jensen rebounded against Gary Traub (Ohio State). Jensen topped Traub 8-3 back on Feb. 2 and earned a similar result on Sunday, winning 6-0 to finish in fifth place.
The Huskers now have two weeks to prepare before heading to Minneapolis, Minn., for the 2020 NCAA Championships, which will take place March 19-21 at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Big Ten Championships
Sessions III & IV
March 8, 2020
Piscataway, N.J. (Rutgers Athletic Center)
125 Pounds: No. 10 Alex Thomsen — 6th place
First Round: Alex Thomsen (NEB) dec. Liam Cronin (Indiana), 17-12
Quarterfinals: Devin Schroder (PUR) tech. fall Alex Thomsen (NEB), 15-0
Second Cons. Round: Alex Thomsen (NEB) major dec. Eric Barnett (WIS), 11-3
Third Cons. Round: Alex Thomsen (NEB) dec. Logan Griffin (MSU), 5-2
Cons. Semifinals: Jack Medley (MICH) dec. Alex Thomsen (NEB), 2-1 TB2
5th-Place Match: Liam Cronin (IND) pinned Alex Thomsen (NEB) (4:09)
133 Pounds: No. 6 Ridge Lovett — 7th place
First Round: Ridge Lovett (NEB) pinned Boo Dryden (MINN) (0:33)
Quarterfinals: Austin DeSanto (Iowa) dec. Ridge Lovett (NEB), 1-0
Second Cons. Round: Ridge Lovett (NEB) pinned Travis Ford-Melton (PUR) (4:29)
Third Cons. Round: Sammy Alvarez (RU) dec. Ridge Lovett (NEB), 9-3
7th-Place Match: Ridge Lovett (NEB) dec. Joey Silva (MICH), 4-3
141 Pounds: No. 4 Chad Red Jr. — 3rd place
First Round: Chad Red Jr. (NEB) major dec. Eddie Bolivar (IND), 12-2
Quarterfinals: Chad Red Jr. (NEB) dec. Tristan Moran (WIS), 10-4
Semifinals: Nick Lee (PSU) dec. Chad Red Jr., 7-5
Cons. Semifinals: Chad Red Jr. (NEB) dec. Max Murin (IOWA), 3-1 SV
3rd-Place Match: Chad Red Jr. (NEB) major dec. Tristan Moran (WIS), 12-3
149 Pounds: No. 7 Collin Purinton — 3rd place
First Round: Collin Purinton (NEB) pinned Griffin Parriott (PUR) (8:59)
Quarterfinals: Pat Lugo (IOWA) major dec. Collin Purinton (NEB), 12-2
Second Cons. Round: Collin Purinton (NEB) dec. Jarod Verkleeren (PSU), 5-2
Third Cons. Round: Collin Purinton (NEB) dec. Alex Hrisopoulos (MSU), 6-3
Cons. Semifinals: Collin Purinton (NEB) dec. Kanen Storr (MICH), 8-3
3rd-Place Match: Collin Purinton (NEB) dec. Brayton Lee (MINN), 3-0
157 Pounds: No. 7 Peyton Robb — 3rd place
First Round: Peyton Robb (NEB) major dec. Jahi Jones (MD), 14-3
Quarterfinals: Peyton Robb (NEB) dec. Kaleb Young (IOWA), 3-2
Semifinals: Kendall Coleman (PUR) dec. Peyton Robb (NEB), 3-2
Cons. Semifinals: Peyton Robb (NEB) over Jake Tucker (MSU), M FOR
3rd-Place Match: Peyton Robb (NEB) dec. Eric Barone (ILL), 5-4
165 Pounds: No. 4 Isaiah White — 3rd place
First Round: Isaiah White (NEB) pinned Nate Limmex (PUR) (6:02)
Quarterfinals: Isaiah White (NEB) dec. Ethan Smith (OSU), 5-2
Semifinals: Vincenzo Joseph (PSU) dec. Isaiah White (NEB), 6-3
Cons. Semifinals: Isaiah White (NEB) dec. Danny Braunagel (ILL), 11-4
3rd-Place Match: Isaiah White (NEB) dec. Ethan Smith (OSU), 3-2
174 Pounds: No. 5 Mikey Labriola — 6th place
First Round: Mikey Labriola (NEB) pinned Max Maylor (MICH) (0:33)
Quarterfinals: Devin Skatzka (MINN) dec. Mikey Labriola (NEB), 6-2
Second Cons. Round: Mikey Labriola (NEB) tech. fall Willie Scott (RU), 18-3
Third Cons. Round: Mikey Labriola (NEB) major dec. Layne Malczewski (MSU), 17-7
Cons. Semifinals: Dylan Lydy (PUR) dec. Mikey Labriola (NEB), 5-3 TB2
5th-Place Match: Devin Skatzka (MINN) dec. Mikey Labriola (NEB), 8-3
184 Pounds: No. 4 Taylor Venz — 3rd place
First Round: Taylor Venz (NEB) tech. fall Jake Hinz (IND), 18-0
Quarterfinals: Taylor Venz (NEB) dec. Billy Janzer (RU), 9-3
Semifinals: Aaron Brooks (PSU) pinned Taylor Venz (NEB) (4:00)
Cons. Semifinals: Taylor Venz (NEB) pinned Rocky Jordan (OSU) (3:37)
3rd-Place Match: Taylor Venz (NEB) dec. Abe Assad (Iowa), 6-4
197 Pounds: No. 2 Eric Schultz — 2nd place
First Round: BYE
Quarterfinals: Eric Schultz (NEB) pinned Hunter Ritter (MINN) (2:52)
Semifinals: Eric Schultz dec. Shakur Rasheed (PSU), 4-3
Championship: Kollin Moore (OSU) dec. Eric Schultz (NEB), 4-1
285 Pounds: No. 5 David Jensen — 5th place
First Round: David Jensen (NEB) dec. Jake Kleimola (IND), 7-3
Quarterfinals: Trent Hillger (WIS) dec. David Jensen (NEB), 7-2
Second Cons. Round: David Jensen (NEB) dec. Christian Rebottaro (MSU), 5-0
Third Cons. Round: David Jensen (NEB) dec. Luke Luffman (ILL), 6-1
Cons. Semifinals: Tony Cassioppi (IOWA) pinned David Jensen (NEB) (2:55)
5th-Place Match: David Jensen (NEB) dec. Gary Traub (OSU), 6-0
Team Scores (Points):
1. Iowa (157.5)
2. Nebraska (132)
3. Ohio State (112)
4. Penn State (107)
5. Purdue (83)
6. Northwestern (79.5)
7. Michigan (73)
8. Minnesota (63.5)
9. Wisconsin (62.5)
10. Michigan State (57)
11. Illinois (49)
12. Rutgers (25.5)
13. Indiana (14.5)
14. Maryland (0)