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Huskers Battle, But Come Up Short Against Hawkeyes | KTIC Radio

Huskers Battle, But Come Up Short Against Hawkeyes

Huskers Battle, But Come Up Short Against Hawkeyes

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The No. 7 Nebraska wrestling team fought valiantly but came up short against the No. 1 Iowa Hawkeyes, who won eight of ten bouts and defeated the Huskers 26-6 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa, on Friday night.

The meet started at 125 pounds. The Hawkeyes’ Spencer Lee, rated No. 1 in his weight class, scored a takedown and rolled up sixteen near-fall points to down Alex Thomsen by technical fall, 18-0.

No. 13 Ridge Lovett (133) then faced off against No. 2 Austin DeSanto. The Hawkeye grappler scored two takedowns in Period 1 but Lovett was able to earn two points of his own, both via escape. In Period 2, DeSanto added a third takedown and was awarded one point when Lovett was whistled for his second stalling warning of the bout, but the Husker freshman earned a third escape point. Lovett began Period 3 on top and was able to accumulate a full two minutes of riding time, but the final margin was 7-4 in favor of DeSanto.

Returning All-American No. 9 Chad Red Jr. (141) grappled with Iowa’s No. 5 Max Murin in the first top-10 matchup of the night. It was the pair’s first meeting since the consolation round of 12 at the 2019 NCAA Championships, with Red winning that bout by a 4-1 decision. The Husker junior scored two takedowns and led 4-1 after Period 1. Following a scoreless second period, Red earned a one-point escape and one point for riding time to finish off a 6-2 upset victory.

At 149, No. 16 Collin Purinton (149) was aggressive against Iowa’s No. 1 Pat Lugo. After Lugo scored a takedown in Period 1, Purinton shot repeatedly but couldn’t score the takedown he needed. Lugo rolled up over two minutes of riding time and ultimately won by decision, 4-1.

Owatonna, Minn., native Peyton Robb (157) was up next for the Huskers. His opponent, No. 4 Kaleb Young, scored first, but Robb quickly escaped to make the score 2-1 in favor of the Hawkeye wrestler after Period 1. Robb started Period 2 on top and, after yielding an escape, took Young down to even the score 3-3. A second Young escape gave him a 4-3 lead over Robb heading into Period 3. Robb then earned his second escape of the bout and knotted the score at four apiece. Young scored a takedown with 30 seconds left in Period 3, however, and Robb dropped his first dual meet bout of the season, as Young won by decision, 6-4.

The second top-10 matchup of the evening took place after intermission at 165 pounds between Husker senior No. 5 Isaiah White and the Hawkeyes’ No. 2 Alex Marinelli. White struck first with a double-leg takedown in the waning seconds of Period 1. Marinelli began Period 2 on top and piled up 1:51 of riding time. In Period 3, White started on top, but a Marinelli escape and subsequent takedown made the score 3-2 in favor of the latter. White earned a late escape point, but Marinelli’s riding time proved to be the difference as he emerged victorious, 4-3.

No. 6 Mikey Labriola (174) then took the mat for the Huskers, facing off against the Hawkeyes’ No. 2 Michael Kemerer. The two wrestlers exchanged shots in Period 1 but the first point of the bout was not scored until Kemerer earned an escape a few seconds into Period 2. Labriola escaped seconds into Period 3, tying the score at one. With the clock ticking down, a Labriola shot led to a scramble. Kemerer came away with the decisive takedown and escaped with a 3-1 decision.

The fourth and final top-10 bout of the night featured Iowa’s No. 9 Abe Assad and No. 5 Taylor Venz at 184. Assad, a freshman who entered the Hawkeyes’ starting lineup just one week ago, attempted to throw Venz from a headlock, but Venz was able to recover and come away with a takedown. An Assad escape meant the score was 2-1 in favor of Venz at the end of Period 1. Period 2 saw Venz escape but Assad scored a takedown towards the end of the period. Tied 3-3 heading into Period 3, Venz began on top and allowed Assad to escape but Assad scored a second takedown. Venz scrambled and earned an escape, but could not score what would have been a match-tying takedown and Assad won the bout 6-4.

No. 13 Eric Schultz (197) was up next for the Huskers. He grappled against No. 5 Jacob Warner in a rematch of the third-place match at the 2019 Big Ten Championships won by Warner 7-5 in sudden victory. Scoreless after Period 1, Schultz started Period 2 on top. A Warner escape constituted the only points in Period 2. Schultz then escaped seconds into Period 3. With the score 1-1, Schultz scored the match-winning takedown with seconds to spare, earning a dramatic 3-1 upset victory.

The meet concluded with a heavyweight matchup between No. 3 Tony Cassioppi and No. 15 Christian Lance. The Husker senior from Nixa, Mo., scored first when he earned an escape point 40 seconds into Period 2. Cassioppi then used a single-leg shot and leg sweep to take the lead, 2-1. Cassioppi added another escape point, a second takedown and one riding time point to defeat Lance 6-1.

Next up for the Huskers is a Jan. 24 showdown with the second-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions. BTN will televise the action from the Devaney Center beginning at 6 p.m. Friday’s dual marks the return of the Pepsi Pack the House promotion, featuring $1 admission and $1 Pepsi products. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

#1 Iowa 26, #7 Nebraska 6*
125: No. 1 Spencer Lee (IOWA) tech. fall Alex Thomsen (NEB), 18-0 (NEB 0, IOWA 5)
133: No. 2 Austin DeSanto (IOWA) dec. No. 13 Ridge Lovett (NEB), 7-4 (NEB 0, IOWA 8)
141:  No. 9 Chad Red Jr. (NEB) dec. No. 5 Max Murin (IOWA), 6-2 (NEB 3, IOWA 8)
149: No. 1 Pat Lugo (IOWA) dec. No. 16 Collin Purinton (NEB), 4-1 (NEB 3, IOWA 11)
157: No. 4 Kaleb Young (IOWA) dec. No. 11 Peyton Robb (NEB), 6-4 (NEB 3, IOWA 14)
165: No. 2 Alex Marinelli (IOWA) dec. No. 5 Isaiah White (NEB), 4-3 (NEB 3, IOWA 17)
174: No. 2 Michael Kemerer (IOWA) dec. No. 6 Mikey Labriola (NEB), 3-1 (NEB 3, IOWA 20)
184: No. 9 Abe Assad (IOWA) dec. No. 5 Taylor Venz (NEB), 6-4 (NEB 3, IOWA 23)
197: No. 14 Eric Schultz (NEB) dec. No. 5 Jacob Warner (IOWA), 3-1 (NEB 6, IOWA 23)
HWT: No. 3 Tony Cassioppi (IOWA) dec. No. 15 Christian Lance (NEB), 6-1 (NEB 6, IOWA 26)
*Team rankings from NWCA Division I Coaches Poll



Zachary Withers | Graduate Assistant

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