Taylor Venz had four pins on Friday and is one of four Huskers in the semifinals at the Cliff Keen Invitational.
Photo by Isabel Thalken/Nebraska Communications

Huskers in Title Hunt, Four in Semis at Cliff Keen Invitational

By NU Athletic Communications

Las Vegas, Nev. – Four Huskers are still alive in the championship bracket at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational, and Nebraska sits in third place with 73.5 points in the team race after the first day of the loaded tournament in Las Vegas, Nev.

Chad Red Jr. (141), Colton McCrystal (149), Tyler Berger (157) and Taylor Venz (184) each went undefeated on Friday, and will wrestle in semifinal matches beginning at noon (CT) on Saturday.

The story of the day for Nebraska was the redshirt freshman Venz, who pinned each of his four opponents on Friday, including a pair of top-eight wrestlers. Venz’s first two matches were over soon after they started, as he pinned Joshua Murphy (Drexel) and Andrew Psomas (Columbia) in 14 seconds and 12 seconds, respectively, the two fastest falls for Nebraska this season.

Venz then upset seventh-ranked Drew Foster of Northern Iowa in the round of 16 with a pin in 2:44, before pinning No. 8 Jordan Ellingwood of Central Michigan in 4:26 in the quarterfinals.

The Farmington, Minn., native is now 10-0 on the season, with each of his wins coming by bonus points. He has seven pins, two technical falls and a major decision. Venz will face No. 2 Myles Martin in the semifinals Saturday.

While Venz’s matches did not go the distance Friday, the theme for the All-American Berger was overtime. He won three matches in sudden-victory, including a quarterfinal win over #19 Taleb Rahmani of Pittsburgh.

In the round of 16 match, Berger needed a last-second takedown to force overtime against Justin Thomas of Oklahoma, before Berger prevailed with a takedown on the way to a 7-5 victory. He also won a major decision over Seth Harrington of Nebraska-Kearney, 12-3, on Friday.

Berger, the fourth-ranked wrestler in the nation according to InterMat, will face No. 11 Alec Pantaleo of Michigan in the semifinals.

Red pinned his first two opponents, before winning a pair of two-point decisions, including a 7-5 win over Eli Stickley of Wisconsin.

The seventh-ranked Red is matched up with No. 13 Josh Alber of Northern Iowa in the semifinal round.

McCrystal, a returning NCAA qualifier, was steady on Friday, as he won a tech fall and a pair of decisions, including a 11-10 win over No. 18 Zander Wick of Wisconsin in which McCrystal had to withstand a late scoring barrage by Wick before holding on for the victory.

McCrystal, who is ranked No. 5, will have a strong test from No. 6 Justin Oliver of Central Michigan in the semifinals.

Isaiah White is also alive for the Huskers in the consolation bracket. The 11th-ranked White won his first two matches of the day before dropping a 3-1 decision to Te’Shan Campbell of Ohio State in the quarterfinals.

White will wrestle No. 12 Branson Ashworth, who he defeated 7-5 in Nebraska’s dual with Wyoming on Nov. 17, in Saturday’s consolation second round of eight, beginning at 11 a.m.

Eric Schultz gave top-ranked Kollin Moore of Ohio State a great bout, but ultimately fell to the Buckeye, 3-2. Schultz picked up three wins in the consolation bracket, before bowing out after dropping an 11-5 decision to No. 5 Kevin Beazley of Michigan.

Kris Williams (125), Brian Peska (133), Beau Breske (174) and David Jensen (HWT) each went 1-2 and were eliminated in the consolation rounds of 16.

Saturday's action at the Cliff Keen Invitational will begin at 11 a.m. (CT) with consolation round of eight matches. The championship semifinals are set to begin at noon, along with the consolation semifinals and the fifth- and seventh-place matches. The tournament will be streamed live on FloWrestling.com (subscription required) and live brackets can be found at FloArena.

Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational
Dec. 1-2, 2017
Las Vegas, Nev. (Las Vegas Convention Center)

Match Results

125: Kris Williams DNP (1-2)
Round of 64: Bye Round of 32: Kris Williams (Nebraska) dec. Gage Curry (American), 8-5
Round of 16 1: #8 Sean Russell (Edinboro) sv-1 Kris Williams (Nebraska), 6-4
Consi of 16 2: #15 Louie Hayes (Virginia) dec. Kris Williams (Nebraska), 4-2

133: Brian Peska DNP (1-2)
Round of 64: Isaac Jimenez (Air Force) dec. Brian Peska (Nebraska), 10-3
Consi of 32: Brian Peska (Nebraska) major dec. Ryan Friedman (Harvard), 12-1
Consi of 16 1: #16 Cam Sykora (North Dakota State) tech. fall Brian Peska (Nebraska), 17-1

141: #7 Chad Red Jr. (4-0)
Round of 64: #7 Chad Red Jr. (Nebraska) pin A.J. Jaffe (Harvard), 7:00
Round of 32: #7 Chad Red Jr. (Nebraska) pin Sam Hampton (North Dakota State), 0:54
Round of 16: #7 Chad Red Jr. (Nebraska) dec. Brent Moore (Virginia Tech), 4-2
Quarterfinals: #7 Chad Red Jr. (Nebraska) dec. Eli Stickley (Wisconsin), 7-5
Semifinals (Saturday): #7 Chad Red Jr. (Nebraska) vs. #13 Josh Alber (Northern Iowa)

149: #5 Colton McCrystal (3-0)
Round of 64: Bye
Round of 32: #5 Colton McCrystal (Nebraska) tech. fall Matt Lattanze (Brown), 22-7
Round of 16: #5 Colton McCrystal (Nebraska) dec. Kyle Gliva (North Dakota State), 7-5
Quarterfinals: #5 Colton McCrystal (Nebraska) dec. #18 Zander Wick (Wisconsin), 11-10
Semifinals (Saturday): #5 Colton McCrystal (Nebraska) vs. #6 Justin Oliver (Central Michigan)

157: #4 Tyler Berger (4-0)
Round of 64: #4 Tyler Berger (Nebraska) sv-1 Kennedy Monday (North Carolina), 7-5
Round of 32: #4 Tyler Berger (Nebraska) major dec. Seth Harrington (Nebraska-Kearney), 12-3
Round of 16: #4 Tyler Berger (Nebraska) sv-1 Justin Thomas (Oklahoma), 7-5
Quarterfinals: #4 Tyler Berger (Nebraska) sv-1 #19 Taleb Rahmani (Pittsburgh), 7-5
Semifinals (Saturday): #4 Tyler Berger (Nebraska) vs. #11 Alec Pantaleo (Michigan)

165: #11 Isaiah White (2-1)
Round of 64: Bye
Round of 32: #11 Isaiah White (Nebraska) tech. fall Isaac Bast (Kent State), 20-1
Round of 16: #11 Isaiah White (Nebraska) dec. #20 Lorenzo De La Riva (CSU Bakersfield), 10-4
Quarterfinals: #7 Te’Shan Campbell (Ohio State) dec. #11 Isaiah White (Nebraska), 3-1
Consi of 8 2 (Saturday): #11 Isaiah White (Nebraska) vs. #12 Branson Ashworth (Wyoming)

174: Beau Breske DNP (2-2)
Round of 64: Matt Wilhelm (Cal Poly) dec. Beau Breske (Nebraska), 3-1
Consi of 32: Beau Breske (Nebraska) tech fall. Austin Bell (Pittsburgh), 20-3
Consi of 16 1: Beau Breske (Nebraska) dec. #17 Ben Harvey (Army West Point), 3-2
Consi of 16 2: Ryan Christensen (Wisconsin) dec. Beau Breske (Nebraska), 2-0

184: Taylor Venz (4-0)
Round of 64: Taylor Venz (Nebraska) pin Joshua Murphy (Drexel), 0:14
Round of 32: Taylor Venz (Nebraska) pin Andrew Psomas (Columbia), 0:12
Round of 16: Taylor Venz (Nebraska) pin #7 Drew Foster (Northern Iowa), 2:44
Quarterfinals: Taylor Venz (Nebraska) pin #8 Jordan Ellingwood (Central Michigan), 4:26
Semifinals (Saturday): Taylor Venz (Nebraska) vs. #2 Myles Martin (Ohio State)

197: Eric Schultz DNP (3-2)
Round of 64: Bye Round of 32: #1 Kollin Moore (Ohio State) dec. Eric Schultz (Nebraska), 3-2
Consi of 32: Eric Schultz (Nebraska) dec. Jay Aiello (Virginia), 7-4
Consi of 16 1: Eric Schultz (Nebraska) dec. Jordan Atienza (Central Michigan), 5-4
Consi of 16 2: Eric Schultz (Nebraska) def. Derek Hillman (Eastern Michigan)
Consi of 8 1: #5 Kevin Beazley (Michigan) dec. Eric Schultz (Nebraska), 11-5

HWT: David Jensen DNP (1-2)
Round of 64: Bye
Round of 32: David Jensen (Nebraska) pin Dustin Dennison (Utah Valley), 6:52
Round of 16: #18 Gage Hutchison (Eastern Michigan) pin David Jensen (Nebraska), 0:18
Consi of 16 2: Jeramy Sweany (Cornell) major dec. David Jensen (Nebraska), 10-2



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