The Nebraska wrestling team had a disappointing start to its season last weekend. The Huskers were ranked No. 8 in the NWCA Coaches Rankings going into the season, but the 20-16 loss to the Bison of North Dakota State dropped them to No. 17.
They’ll have a big chance for redemption tomorrow when they travel to Bethlehem, Pa. to take part in the Journeyman’s Wranglemania. The Huskers will face off against Army at noon with another dual against No. 8 NC State at 5 p.m.
Army has a fairly solid squad, while NC State will really test the Huskers. The Wolfpack boast seven wrestlers that are ranked in their respective weight classes by FloWrestling. Army has two ranked wrestlers. Nebraska, on the other hand, currently has four ranked wrestlers.
The duals will air live on Rokfin (subscription required).
Rankings according to FloWrestling
Husker senior Liam Cronin won his season-opening match 5-1 and finds himself now ranked No. 24 at 125 pounds. He’ll get a chance to move up a few spots as he’s set to face a pair of ranked wrestlers.
First, Cronin will face Army’s No. 21 Ethan Berginc. The redshirt freshman started his season last weekend at the Black Knight Scramble with three wins, none bigger than beating No. 7 Brandon Kaylor of Oregon State 3-1 in sudden victory along the way. This will be a solid test for the veteran Cronin.
Then against NC State, Cronin will face No. 23 Jarrett Trombley. The junior started his season with a 3-2 loss to No. 8 Caleb Smith in NC State’s season-opening dual against Appalachian State. Trombley is a two-time NCAA qualifier with a 40-20 career record.
Both of these matches seem to be toss-ups. I’ll be interested to see how Cronin does against these two ranked opponents.
Prediction vs. Army: Cronin by decision — Nebraska 3, Army 0
Prediction vs. NC State: Cronin loss by decision — NC State 3, Nebraska 0
Nebraska has two wrestlers listed here on it’s depth chart. Senior Boo Dryden took the mat last weekend against NDSU and earned a 6-2 decision victory. The Huskers also have listed Kyle Burwick, the Wisconsin transfer. Both guys are solid, as this is easily Nebraska’s deepest weight, but it seems Nebraska is looking for someone to separate himself from the pack.
I expect Nebraska to give both guys a dual, and if I were to guess I’d say Burwick goes against Army and Dryden gets a shot against NC State.
Army will likely send out Richard Treanor. The sophomore is 2-1 on the year with both wins via pinfall. His loss was a 9-3 decision to Oregon State’s Gabe Whisenhunt. Last season as a freshman, he went 15-6.
NC State will go with No. 15 Kai Orine. A sophomore, Orine is 0-1 on the year after dropping his season-opener in sudden victory to Sean Carter of App State. Orine went 18-7 a year ago as a freshman and qualified for the NCAA Championships where he made it to the Round of 16. In the tournament, Orine wrestled No. 2 Daton Fix (a three-time NCAA finalist) tough, falling via 7-4 decision.
I expect that either Burwick or Dryden would down Treanor, but Orine is certainly favored against either Husker.
Prediction vs. Army: Burwick by decision — Nebraska 6, Army 0
Prediction vs. NC State: Dryden loss by decision — NC State 6, Nebraska 0
Last weekend, redshirt freshman Brock Hardy took the mat for the Huskers and started things off great against No. 13 Dylan Droegemueller of NDSU. Hardy took an early lead with a takedown but got stuck on his back in the first period, eventually losing a 10-6 decision.
At 141 pounds, Army will send out junior Julian Sanchez. He’s 2-1 to start the season after going 12-7 a year ago as a sophomore.
NC State has another ranked wrestler here in No. 8 Ryan Jack. The sophomore is 1-0 on the year after downing App State’s Heath Gonyer 11-2 via major decision. As a freshman last season, Jack went 18-9 and made it to the Round of 16 at the NCAA tournament.
Hardy shouldn’t have much trouble against Sanchez, but Jack is another story. Now, Hardy has the talent and ability to wrestle with some good wrestlers as we saw in the beginning of last week’s match, but this would be a stretch to pick him to beat Jack. He definitely could, but I want to see him beat some good guys before I’m picking him in a matchup like this.
Prediction vs. Army: Hardy by decision — Nebraska 9, Army 0
Prediction vs. NC State: Hardy loss by decision — NC State 9, Nebraska 0
With NCAA finalist Ridge Lovett’s decision to redshirt this season, that thrust senior transfer Dayne Morton into the starting lineup. In his first match as a Husker, Morton fell 3-2 in sudden victory to NDSU’s Michael Weber.
Army’s starter Thomas Deck was injured last weekend, so we may see Matthew Williams here. Williams is a junior and is 2-1 on the year. Last season as a sophomore, Williams went 23-4, mostly in open tournaments before jumping into the starting lineup in late January.
NC State will start freshman Jackson Arrington. He’s 0-1 on the year after losing a 14-5 major decision to No. 21 Cody Bond of App State.
Last week, I wasn’t overly impressed with Morton outside of his last-second takedown to send it to overtime. These matches are complete toss-ups until we know more about the new Husker at 149.
Prediction vs. Army: Morton loss by decision — Nebraska 9, Army 3
Prediction vs. NC State: Morton by decision — NC State 9, Nebraska 3
Nebraska’s No. 3-ranked Peyton Robb easily had the best start to the season for the Huskers. He put together an impressive and controlling 7-4 decision win over No. 6 Jared Franek of NDSU.
Against Army, Robb will face Nathan Lukez. The junior is 2-0 on the year after going 20-4 as a sophomore last season in open tournaments. But, i doubt that Lukez has ever wrestled someone of Robb’s caliber.
This weekend, Robb will again be tested against another top talent in NC State’s No. 7 Ed Scott. The sophomore is 1-0 to start the year with a 14-5 major decision win over No. 21 Cody Bond of App State.
Also, Robb and Scott have some history from last season’s NCAA tournament where Robb won a controversial match via pinfall over Scott in the blood round (it was a really quick pin call), keeping Scott off the podium.
This is going to be a fun one, but I honestly don’t see many people beating Robb this year. I think he’ll add another Top-10 foe to his tally to start the year.
Prediction vs. Army: Robb by major decision — Nebraska 13, Army 3
Prediction vs. NC State: Robb by decision — NC State 9, Nebraska 6
Nebraska has two wrestlers listed here going into Saturday with Jagger Condomitti and Adam Thebeau. Both redshirt freshmen, Condomitti got the nod last week and burst out of the gate with a quick takedown on No. 21 Michael Caliendo of NDSU. Caliendo quickly turned things around though, putting Condomitti on his back and sticking the freshman for six big team points. Thebeau has some impressive accolades of his own, as he was a Fargo All-American in 2021.
With this spot looking like it’s up for grabs, expect the Husker coaching staff to use both of these guys tomorrow to help in the evaluation process.
Army will send out Dalton Harkins here. The sophomore is 2-0 on the year after going 24-11 last season as a redshirt freshman, mostly competing in open tournaments. He did wrestle NCAA finalist Jake Wentzel of Pitt tough, falling in a 1-0 decision.
For NC State, Donald Cates will take the mat. The sophomore is 0-1 to start the year with a 3-2 sudden victory loss to No. 13 William Formato of App State. Cates went 15-6 last year in open tournaments.
Honestly, any combination that Nebraska uses will be fun to watch but impossible to predict…but I’ll try anyway.
Thebeau will take on Harkins to start the day with Condomitti facing Cates in the afternoon. I like Nebraska’s chances here, but it’ll be tight.
Prediction vs. Army: Thebeau by decision — Nebraska 16, Army 3
Prediction vs. NC State: Condomitti by decision — Nebraska 9, NC State 9
Here at 174, Nebraska will send out No. 3 Mikey Labriola. The senior has been a rock for the Huskers for years and will face his first ranked opponent tomorrow.
Army will put No. 19 Ben Pasink on the mat to face Labriola. A junior, Pasink is 3-0 on the year after going 20-7 a year ago. The two-time NCAA qualifier also took third at the 2022 EIWA Championships.
NC State will likely struggle here. The Wolfpack will send out Brock Delsignore. The redshirt freshman is 1-0 on the year after going 20-8 last season while redshirting. This may be a match that Nebraska will need bonus points if it wants to win this dual.
Pasink is pretty good, but Labriola is a three-time All-American for the Huskers who’s as established as anyone in the country. He should be able to win without being in much danger.
Labriola should breeze through this weekend honestly.
Prediction vs. Army: Labriola by decision — Nebraska 19, Army 3
Prediction vs. NC State: Labriola by major decision — Nebraska 13, NC State 9
At this weight, Nebraska has two wrestlers listed in Nathan Haas and Lenny Pinto. Both are redshirt freshmen and the Huskers will likely wrestle them both on Saturday.
After Pinto beat Haas in their wrestle-off two weeks ago, it was unexpectedly Brandyn Van Tassell that started the season for Nebraska. Nebraska’s No. 3 at the weight didn’t fare well, falling 17-2 via tech fall to unranked DJ Parker of NDSU.
Army has senior Sahm Abdulrazzaq at this weight. He’s 2-1 so far this year with his only loss to No. 6 Trey Munoz of Oregon State.
NC State boasts one of the best in the country here in No. 3-ranked Trent Hidlay. He’s 1-0 on the year after sticking Lucas Uliano of App State last weekend. Hidlay is a two-time All-American, having made it to the NCAA final as a freshman. Last year, he took fifth. This fall, Hidlay won gold for Team USA at the U23 World Championships. He’s 55-8 so far in his career, and he’s got two years of eligibility left. He’s really, really good.
I would expect that since Pinto won the wrestle-off, he’ll “get to” face Hidlay. Haas should take the mat against Abdulrazzaq. I like Haas’ chances, but not Pinto’s. Pinto is super talented and has loads of potential. But this would be his first collegiate match, and beating Hidlay would be one of the biggest upsets in college wrestling.
Prediction vs. Army: Haas by decision — Nebraska 22, Army 3
Prediction vs. NC State: Pinto loss by major decision — Nebraska 13, NC State 13
Another bright spot for the Huskers last week was Silas Allred. The redshirt freshman took the mat in his first career dual and was able to upset No. 17 Owen Pentz 4-2 in overtime. For his efforts, he entered the FloWrestling rankings at No. 17.
Army will put Kyle Schwartz on the mat against Allred. Schwartz is a sophomore and started his season 3-0 last weekend with two majors and a tech fall.
NC State has No. 20 Isaac Trumble here. The sophomore is 1-0 to start the year after pinning App State’s Wyatt Miller last weekend. As a freshman last year, Trumble went 21-6 and qualified for NCAAs.
Allred has two pretty tough tests here, but I’ve been impressed with him. I think he has what it takes to earn wins here and continue climbing the rankings.
Prediction vs. Army: Allred by decision — Nebraska 25, Army 3
Prediction vs. NC State: Allred by decision — Nebraska 16, NC State 13
Nebraska will likely send out Cale Davidson this weekend. The former Wyoming transfer took the mat as a starter for the Huskers for the first time last weekend and it didn’t go great as he dropped a 2-1 decision with the dual on the line. It’s worth noting that Nebraska has true freshman Harley Andrews on the depth chart for this weekend so he’ll be traveling with the team.
If the Huskers don’t feel comfortable with Davidson, they may just insert Andrews and see what the big-time recruit has to offer at this level.
Army will wrestle either Paul Robinson or Kade Carlson. Robinson, a senior, is 1-1 on the year and holds an 18-13 career record. The sophomore Carlson is 2-0 so far this year after going 14-7 last year as a freshman.
These are not top-notch opponents, so I could understand whatever the Husker coaches choose to do. They could test Davidson to see what he has against lesser competition, and I’d get it. If they choose to put in Andrews, I’d get that too because it would be nice to see him against NCAA competition.
NC State, on the other hand, will send out No. 19 Owen Trephan. The sophomore Trephan is 1-0 on the year. He’s solid and has a 26-6 career record, but Nebraska may only need to avoid bonus points here.
And with the dual likely coming down to this match, it’ll be interesting who the Husker coaches like here.