Two, top-25 wrestling teams squared off on Friday night, as the No. 18 Wisconsin Badgers defeated the No. 12 Nebraska Huskers 22-21.
The dual started with Nebraska senior Tyler Berger taking on Wisconsin’s Patrick Spray in the 157-pound weight class. Berger, the third-ranked wrestler in the nation, dominated the first period with multiple takedowns, as Spray’s only points came in the form of allowed escapes.
Berger continued to pick apart Spray the rest of the match with little resistance. Spray finally attempted a shot at the final 30-second mark but was unsuccessful. This led to Berger winning by a score of 16-6.
In the 165-pound class, Nebraska junior Isaiah White lost a point to opponent Evan Wick in the opening seconds of the match due to a controversial unnecessary roughness call.
White then scored a pair of beautiful, single-leg takedowns in the opening two periods. However, once Wick started in the top position, he leg-rode White into a tying point and quickly scored a number of points via escapes and takedowns to win the match for Wisconsin 12-4.
At the start of the match between Nebraska’s Mikey Labriola and Wisconsin’s Ryan Christensen, another fast, unnecessary roughness call drew groans from the home crowd, putting Christensen ahead 1-0 right away.
An incredible takedown by Labriola followed by a Christensen escape tied the match 2-2. Despite some incredible spinning takedown defenses and great wrestling by both athletes, the score remained deadlocked. Period three ended 4-4, before a dramatic final period.
Labriola nearly evaded a takedown and accidentally ended up underneath Christensen, who pinned Labriola at the end of the final period to win the match.
The 184-pound match was a rollercoaster of lead changes and excellent grappling techniques.
The first period only saw a single, scoring attempt from Wisconsin’s Mason Reinhardt. Nebraska sophomore Taylor Venz turned Reinhardt into a cradle-pinning attempt, scoring four near-fall points. The match was contested and video review was used to determine that Reinhardt did not score a takedown on Venz at the end of the second period. Despite Reinhardt’s best efforts in the third period, Venz held on to win the match 6-5.
The battle of the heavyweights came between Nebraska junior Patrick Grayson and Wisconsin freshman Trent Hillger. Hillger dominated the match throughout, keeping Grayson from scoring most of the match. Hillger’s leg riding and half-nelson attempts ultimately led to a dominating final score of 11-2 in his favor.
Tucker Sjomeling started the 133-pound match for Nebraska on the defensive against his opponent Jens Lantz. He then took the offensive and started scoring points. The score stayed close in the early stages, with neither wrestler leading by more than a single point in the first two periods. Toward the end of the match, Sjomeling attempted a pinfall but was caught in the act and turned for a near fall himself.
Lantz won by a deceivingly high score of 9-3, despite the match being much more competitive than it looks on paper.
In the 141-pound class, Nebraska redshirt freshman Christian Miller, normally a 133-pounder, faced off against the No. 13 ranked Tristan Moran. Moran’s bigger size helped him pin Miller quickly in the opening of the match. Wisconsin led Nebraska 21-18 after the match with only one contest left.
The final match of the night was the highly competitive 149-pound weight class between Nebraska’s Collin Purinton and Wisconsin’s Cole Martin. Scoring was minimal in the match, which Purinton ended up winning 8-6, leaving Nebraska and Wisconsin tied at 21-21.
Officials then came over the intercom to tell spectators the final result of the dual was under review. The officials declared Wisconsin as the winner because Nebraska head coach Mark Manning was penalized for coach misconduct more times than Wisconsin head coach Chris Bono.
Following the home dual against Wisconsin on Friday, Nebraska traveled to Laramie, Wyoming, to take on No. 18 Wyoming Sunday.