Huskers Open 2021 With a 22-14 Win Over Gophers
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -The Nebraska wrestling team kicked off the 2020-21 season on a high note, defeating #17 Minnesota, 22-14 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Friday night. The Huskers wrestled in two top-20 matchups and won six bouts on their way to the first victory of the season.
Liam Cronin got the night started with a top-20 matchup against No. 14 Patrick McKee. No. 17 Cronin earned the upset by 8-1 decision, scoring two takedowns, a two-point near fall and an escape. In his Nebraska debut, the senior held McKee scoreless until the third period.
Boo Dryden put Minnesota on the board with a Alex Thomsen 9-2 decision at 133 pounds. Thomsen earned a takedown in the third period, but could not put a stop the Golden Gopher victory.
Chad Red Jr. kicked off his senior season in the win column, taking his match against Marcos Polanco by a 4-1 decision. Red Jr. maintained control of the match, scoring a takedown in the first period and only allowing an escape from Polanco in the second. He earned himself another escape and recorded almost three minutes of riding time to add the bonus point.
In the second Husker debut performance of the night, Brock Hardy handled No. 19 Michael Blockhus in a 9-2 decision victory at 149 pounds. After a scoreless first period, Hardy earned a four-point near fall in the second period to kick off his Husker career and went on to pick up a takedown and two escapes in addition to 1:24 of riding time.
Minnesota took the next two matches as Brayton Lee defeated Caleb Licking in a 10-5 decision at 157 pounds and Andrew Sparks won the 165 pound match against Peyton Robb by 7-6 decision.
Mikey Labriola earned his ninth career pin against the Golden Gophers, defeating Jake Allar by fall in 6:17. The junior earned four takedowns in the match before pinning Allar to end the match and bring the Husker’s team total to 15 points.
Nathan Haas rounded out the group of newcomers getting the nod in the starting lineup against Minnesota, beating No. 19 Owen Webster, 5-2. He amassed over three minutes of riding time in his first match as a Husker in addition to two escapes and a takedown.
Eric Schultz picked up right where he left off at the end of the 2019-20 regular season, meeting Garret Joles at 184 pounds for the second consecutive season. This time, he earned a 14-3 major decision against the familiar foe. The senior scored a takedown in each period, plus added two escapes and a four-point near fall.
Closing out the night was another top-20 matchup with Minnesota’s No. 1 ranked Gable Steveson up against No. 17 Christian Lance. Lance ultimately fell to Steveson by 14-3 major decision.
The Huskers hit the road for their first away matchup of the season next week as they take on No. 1 Iowa in Iowa City on Friday, Jan. 15. The dual is set for 8 p.m. CT and will be televised on BTN.
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