LINCOLN -- The Nebraska wrestling team kicked off the 2020-21 season on a high note, defeating No. 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 at 125 pounds with a top-20 match 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.
Minnesota's Boo Dryden put the Golden Gophers on the board, defeating Alex Thomsen in a 9-2 decision at 133 pounds. Thomsen earned a takedown in the third period, but could not put a stop the Minnesota victory.
Chad Red Jr. (141 pounds) 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 (174 pounds) 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 in the 184-pound match. 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 over 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.
125: No. 17 Liam Cronin (NEB) dec. No. 14 Patrick McKee (MINN), 8-1 (3-0)
133: Boo Dryden (MINN) dec. No. 20 Alex Thomsen (NEB), 9-2 (3-3)
141: No. 7 Chad Red Jr. (NEB) dec. Marcos Polanco (MINN), 4-1 (6-3)
149: Brock Hardy (NEB) dec. No. 19 Michael Blockhus (MINN), 9-2 (9-3)
157: No. 6 Brayton Lee (MINN) dec. Caleb Licking (NEB), 10-5 (9-6)
165: Andrew Sparks (MINN) dec. No. 15 Peyton Robb (NEB), 7-6 (9-9)
174: No. 4 Mikey Labriola (NEB) pinned Jake Allar (MINN), 6:17 (15-9)
184: Nathan Haas (NEB) dec. No. 19 Owen Webster (MINN), 5-2 (18-9)
197: No. 2 Eric Schultz (NEB) major dec. Garrett Joles (MINN), 14-3 (22-9)
285: No. 1 Gable Steveson (MINN) tech. fall No. 17 Christian Lance (NEB), 23-8 (22-14)
133: Jake Gliva (MINN) dec. Tucker Sjomeling (NEB), 3-1
149: Jake Bergeland (MINN) dec. Jevon Parrish (NEB), 5-2
157: Cael Carlson (MINN) tech. fall Kevon Davenport (NEB), 17-2
184: Isaiah Salazar (MINN) major dec. Colton Wolfe (NEB), 16-3
197: Dylan Anderson (MINN) dec. Silas Allred (NEB), 8-4
285: Landon Brown (NEB) pin Keaton Kluever, 1:35