NWCA Honors Eight Husker Wrestlers

MANHEIM, Pa. — The National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) announced its 2020 Division I All-American teams on Friday and the Nebraska wrestling program had eight honorees, including four First-Team All-Americans.

Chad Red Jr. (141) was named a First-Team All-American after compiling a 19-7 mark during his junior campaign. Red was a top ten-ranked wrestler for the duration of the season and earned a third-place finish at the 2020 Big Ten Championships. Red enters his senior season as a two-time All-American and a three-time NCAA qualifier.

Senior Isaiah White (165) was also named to the First Team. White enjoyed a phenomenal senior season, posting first-place finishes at the Journeymen Collegiate Classic and Cliff Keen Invitational en route to a 20-4 overall record. The Chicago, Ill., native had an 8-4 record against ranked competition and earned a career-best third-place finish at the 2020 Big Ten Championships. White earned All-America honors in 2019 and was a three-time NCAA qualifier at Nebraska.

Taylor Venz (184) earned First-Team All-America honors with a 20-8 record and a career-best third-place finish at the 2020 Big Ten Championships. Venz, a three-time NCAA qualifier and 2018 All-American, won eight of his final nine bouts before the 2020 NCAA Championships were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rounding out the group of First-Team All-American Huskers was Eric Schultz (197). The junior from Tinley Park, Ill., was also named Nebraska’s Most Outstanding Wrestler on Friday after compiling a 23-4 record and finishing runner-up at the 2020 Big Ten Championships. Schultz was an impressive 13-1 against dual competition and led the team in dual points (52), dual takedowns (73) and technical falls (5).

Senior Collin Purinton (149) and junior Mikey Labriola (174) were both honored as Second-Team All-Americans. Purinton ran off four straight victories following a first-round loss at the 2020 Big Ten Championships to finish in third place as the No. 7 seed. He also recorded a first-place finish at the Journeymen Collegiate Classic and defeated then-No. 3 Max Thomsen (UNI) on Nov. 24 en route to an 18-9 overall mark.

Labriola (174), a sophomore from Easton, Pa., was slated to make his second appearance at the NCAA Championships following a sixth-place finish at the 2020 Big Ten Championships and a 20-10 regular season record. He also finished runner-up at the Journeymen Collegiate Classic and third at the Cliff Keen Invitational, helping the Huskers win the team title.

Two underclassmen were Honorable Mention All-Americans for NU. Ridge Lovett (133) burst onto the scene during his first year in the program, burning his redshirt against Northern Iowa on Nov. 24 and going on to compile a 17-8 regular-season mark. Lovett finished in third at the Cliff Keen Invitational, defeating then-No. 9 Taylor LaMont (Utah Valley) in the process, and finished the season with a last-second takedown of Joey Silva (Michigan) to clinch an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.

Peyton Robb (157) enjoyed a remarkable redshirt freshman campaign, finishing 20-6 overall. The Owatonna, Minn., native saved his best for last, winning six of his last nine regular-season matches and upsetting No. 2 seed Kaleb Young (Iowa) at the Big Ten Championships on his way to a third-place finish as the No. 7 seed.

Each year, the NWCA recognizes the outstanding work of DI Student-Athletes by naming All-Americans based on their achievements in the NCAA Championships. However, because the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancelation of the 2020 championships, All-American honors were awarded based on each wrestler’s overall body of work through the conference tournaments and up through the national championships.