Photo by Isabel Thalken/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Travel to New York for Northeast Duals

By NU Athletic Communications

#13 Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Utah Valley, Drexel and Virginia

Saturday, November 10, 2018, 9 a.m.

Albany, N.Y.

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Albany, N.Y. -- The Nebraska wrestling team heads to Albany, N.Y. this weekend to compete in the Northeast Duals for the first time since 2015. The Huskers went 3-0 in its last appearance, with wins over Lock Haven, #20 Oregon State and #7 Lehigh.


NU will have three duals on Saturday, Nov. 10, taking on Utah Valley at 9 a.m., Drexel at 11 a.m. and Virginia at 1 p.m. Utah Valley had several wrestlers compete at the Cowboy Open last weekend, while Drexel hosted the Dragon Duals, going 2-0 against Keystone College and Wheeling Jesuit. UVA defeated NU’s Big Ten foe Indiana on Sunday, 25-12.


The team returns 21 letterwinners from last season, including seven starters and five NCAA qualifiers. All-Americans Tyler Berger (157 pounds), Chad Red Jr. (141 pounds) and Taylor Venz (184 pounds) highlight a strong group of returners.


While the Huskers will need to replace three starters from its 2017-18 group, two-time All-American and West Virginia transfer Zeke Moisey enters the fold at 125 pounds. He’s expected to compete this weekend after sitting out the Daktronics Open.


Nebraska’s Projected Lineup

Wt.      Name                          Yr.       Hometown                 Career Notes             

125      #6 Zeke Moisey          Sr.       Northampton, Pa.       WVU transfer, two-time All-American

133      Christian Miller            Jr.        Omaha, Neb.              Took 2nd at Daktronics Open

OR       Tucker Sjomeling        RFr.     Delano, Minn.             Took 3rd at Daktronics Open

141      #6 Chad Red Jr.         So.       Indianapolis, Ind.         2018 All-American; NCAA qualifier   

149      Jordan Shearer           Jr.        Fargo, N.D.                 Took 4th at Daktronics Open

OR      Collin Purinton             Jr.        Banks, Ore.                 Took 5th at Daktronics Open

157      #3 Tyler Berger           Sr.       Prineville, Ore.            Two-time All-American; 88-28 record

165      #9 Isaiah White           Jr.        Chicago, Ill.                 2018 NCAA Championships qualifier

OR      Johnny Blankenship    So.       Platte City, Mo.           Finished third at Daktronics Open

174      #12 Mikey Labriola      RFr.     Easton, Pa.                 Won Daktronics Open at 174

184      #3 Taylor Venz            So.       Farmington, Minn.       2018 All-American

197      #18 Eric Schultz          So.       Tinley Park, Ill.            2018 NCAA Qualifier

HWT    Christian Lance           Jr.        Nixa, Mo                      Transfer from Div. II Fort Hays State

OR      Patrick Grayson          Jr.        Stafford, Va.                Finished 4th at Daktronics Open


Nebraska’s History at the Northeast Duals

Nebraska is competing at the Northeast Duals for the third time in school history, and they hold a 6-1 overall record in seven duals at the event. The Huskers have competed at the tournament in Albany, N.Y., in two of the last four seasons, with the last trip coming in 2015-16. NU’s other trip to the Northeast Duals was in 2009-10.


In 2009-10, the eighth-ranked Huskers went 3-1 in its four duals at the Journeymen/Northeast Duals. They defeated Binghampton 27-11, Hofstra 29-6 and Appalachian State 40-6. NU dropped its dual against No. 12 Lehigh, 18-15. Three-time All-American Jordan Burroughs (157) and four-time NCAA Championships qualifiers Stephen Dwyer (174) and Craig Bester (197) combined to win all 12 of their matches to lead Nebraska to a 3-1 record on the day.


In 2015-16, the tenth-ranked Huskers went 3-0 at the Northeast Duals, winning duals against Lock Haven (41-0), No. 20 Oregon State (25-6) and No. 7 Lehigh (24-6). NU outscored its opponents 90-12 and won 26 of 30 individual matches. Tyler Berger (157) is the only current Husker to have competed at the Northeast Duals. The two-time All-America honoree went 3-0 in his bouts, with two victories by decision and one by sudden victory.


Four Returning All-Americans to make 2018-19 debut

Nebraska returns five starters in 2018-19 who competed at last year’s NCAA Championships. Throw in Zeke Moisey (125), a West Virginia transfer and two-time All-American, and the Huskers have legitimate reason to believe that over half the team’s starters have an excellent chance to go to nationals once again. Moisey, Chad Red Jr. (141), Tyler Berger (157), Isaiah White (165) and Taylor Venz (184) did not travel to the Daktronics Open last weekend, but all are listed as starters for the Northeast Duals. Berger, Moisey, Red Jr. and Venz were each named All-Americans after finishing in the top 8 of their weight classes at the 2018 NCAA Championships.


Moisey went 26-11 at WVU last season before placing eighth at the 2018 NCAA Championships. Red Jr. had an identical 26-11 mark in 2018-19 before going 5-2 at the NCAA Championships to earn a seventh-place finish. Berger, who sits just 12 wins away from his 100th win as a Husker, went 28-9 a season ago and placed third at the NCAA Championships.


A former transfer from Division II Notre Dame College, Isaiah White (165) will be entering his second year as a Husker in 2018-19. He qualified for nationals after accumulating a 25-8 record last season, but fell short of All-America status, losing in the round of 12.


Taylor Venz (184), a redshirt sophomore from Farmington, Minn., finished fourth at the 2018 NCAA Championships. He competed in the NWCA All-Star Classic on Nov. 2, defeating Cornell’s Max Dean in a rematch from last year’s bout at nationals.


NU Goes for Five Straight Top-10 finishes

Nebraska’s senior class of Tyler Berger, Zak Hensley, Zeke Moisey, Brian Peska and Aris Shino enter the 2018-19 season looking to ensure that Nebraska’s streak of four consecutive top-10 NCAA finishes continues this season. Peska and Shino are two of the top competitors projected to take over the starting job at 133 pounds, while Zak Hensley posted an 11-4 record at 141 pounds last season.


Tyler Berger looks to etch his name in the Husker history books as a senior. His career-best win total in a season is 36 in 2016-17 and he sits 40 wins behind Jordan Burroughs, who ranks in fourth place on the NU all-time wins list.


Zeke Moisey, a senior from Northhampton, Pa., has one year of eligibility remaining after spending the first four years of his collegiate wrestling career at West Virginia. Moisey qualified for the NCAA Championships three times at WVU. He was the national runner-up at 125 pounds in 2015 and finished eighth in 2018 on his way to All-America honors in both years. He looks to be the heir apparent to Mitchell Maginnis as the 125-pound starter.


Potential New Contributors Impress at Daktronics Open

Nebraska got the chance to see several redshirts and newcomers make an impact on Sunday at the Daktronics Open. 18 of the 25 Huskers to make the trip placed in the top six of their weight class. Many of the top finishers for NU were underclassmen. Redshirt freshman Mikey Labriola, who’s ranked No. 12 at 174 pounds, won all four of his bouts to win the Huskers only title on the day. He dominated his four opponents, winning by fall, tech. fall and major decision in his first three duals.


Redshirt freshman Christian Miller, who begins the season as the team’s starter at 133 pounds, went 3-1 on Sunday at the Daktronics Open. He won his first three matches before losing in the championship to No. 5 Ethan Lizak of Minnesota. Luke Weber (157), a sophomore from Forsyth, Mont., also finished second in his weight-class bracket. He went 3-1, winning two of his first three matches by major decision, before falling to No. 13 Steven Bleise (Minn.). Weber returns after a redshirt freshman season that saw him go 19-6. Weber is expected to be the top backup to two-time All-American Tyler Berger at 157 pounds.


Redshirt freshman Tucker Sjomeling (133), sophomore Johnny Blankenship (165) and Fort Hays State transfer Christian Lance (HWT) each took third at the Daktronics Open with matching 3-1 records. Sjomeling and Blankenship are both listed as options to be potential starters at the Northeast Duals, while Lance gets the starting nod at the heavyweight spot. Lance, who won over 50 collegiate matches at Fort Hays State, beat out teammate Patrick Grayson in a 3-2 decision for third place. His only loss of the weekend came to fifth ranked Gable Steveson (Minn.).


True Freshmen Show Promise

Six of the eight true freshmen in Nebraska’s 2018 recruiting class participated in the Daktronics Open on Sunday, Nov. 4. While all six are projected to redshirt (barring injury), each of them won at least one match. Alex Thomsen (125) went 2-2 on his way to a fifth-place finish. He won one match by tech. fall and the other by pinning his opponent. Jevon Parrish (133) competed unattached and went 1-2 on Sunday. Parrish won his first match as a Husker in a 12-6 decision.


Peyton Robb and Jake Silverstein each competed at 157 pounds on Sunday and combined to go 7-2. Robb won two matches by major decision and one by tech. fall, while Silverstein pinned one opponent and won another match by tech. fall. The two were scheduled to meet in the third-place match but instead opted out, declaring a no-contest.


Anthony Gaona (197), a freshman out of Olathe, Kan., went 2-2, with both of his wins coming from 4-1 decisions. Austin Emerson, the Huskers first-year recruit at the heavyweight spot, was dominant in three out of his four victories on the day. He pinned three of his opponents, with his quickest pin coming in 0:50. Emerson finished 4-2 at the Daktronics Open.


Scouting Utah Valley

2017-18 Record: 8-6 (4-4 Big 12)

            Wins (4): West Virginia, North Dakota State, Fresno State, Oklahoma

            Losses (4): #15 South Dakota State, #17 Wyoming, Air Force, Northern Colorado


• Tied for fifth place in the Big 12 standings last year and tied for 43rd at the NCAA Championships.

• A program-best five grapplers went to nationals last year and four of them are back this season in sophomore Taylor LaMont (133), junior 165-pounder Demetrius Romero, junior 174-pounder Kimball Bastian and two-time NCAA qualifier Tanner Orndorff (197).

• Romero is the No. 14 165-pound wrestler in the country, while Bastian (174) is No. 14 as well. Brothers Tanner Orndoff (197) and Tate Orndoff (HWT) are ranked No. 18 and No. 16 in each of their weight classes, respectively.

• Coached by Greg Williams (13th season at Utah Valley)

• Record at Utah Valley: 78-87

Utah Valley’s Projected Starters

125: Josh Jensen, Sr. (0-0, 0-0 duals)

133: Mitch Brown, RSr. (0-0, 0-0)

141: Matt Findlay, RSo. (0-0, 0-0)

149: Matthew Ontiveros, RSr. (0-0, 0-0) or Landon Knutzen, RSo. (2-2, 0-0)

157: Grant LaMont, RJr. (0-0, 0-0) or Jakob Discher, RFr. (3-2, 0-0)

165: #16 Demetrius Romero, RJr. (0-0, 0-0) or Koy Wilkinson, RSo. (4-1, 0-0)

174: #14 Kimball Bastian, RJr. (0-0, 0-0) or Dante Springsteen, RFr. (0-2, 0-0)

184: Gary Jantzer, RSo. (0-0, 0-0) or Will Sumner, RSr. (0-0, 0-0)

197: #18 Tanner Orndorff, RJr. (0-0, 0-0) or Ashton Seely, RFr. (2-2, 0-0)

285: #16 Tate Orndorff, RFr. (0-0, 0-0)


Scouting Drexel

2017-18 Record: 12-4 (6-4 EIWA)

            Wins (6): Franklin & Marshall, Army, Columbia, Hofstra, American, #25 Penn

            Losses (4): Navy, #5 Lehigh, Binghampton, #10 Cornell


• The Dragons finished the 2017-18 regular season ranked in the top 25 of four separate polls – USA Today/NWCA DI Coaches, FloWrestling, Intermat tournament and Intermat dual – for the first time in program history. They finished fourth out of 16 teams at the EIWA Championships last year.

• Steven Loiseau (197) is the top returning wrestler for Drexel this season. He went 32-12 with three wins by fall, four major decisions and four tech. falls.  

• Drexel enters this weekend with a 2-0 record after defeating Keystone College 59-0 and Wheeling Jesuit 28-9 last weekend at the Dragon Duals.

• Coached by Matt Azevedo (8th season at Drexel)

• Record at Drexel: 65-68

Drexel’s Projected Starters

125: Antonio Mininno (1-1) or Dante Mininno (0-0)

133: Ty Smith (2-0) or Chandler Olson (0-0)

141: Julian Flores (1-0) or Nick Widmann (0-1)

149: Trevor Elfvin (2-0) or Max Livingston (0-0) or Vince Foggia (0-0)

157: Evan Barczak (2-0) or Felix Belga (0-0)

165: Ebed Jarrell (2-0)

174: Bryan McLaughlin (2-0) or Dakota Greene (0-0) or Jason Hoffman (0-0)

184: Owen Brooks (1-1)

197: #10 Stephen Loiseau (2-0)

285: #13 Joey Goodhart (2-0)


Scouting Virginia

2017-18 Record: 4-10 (0-5 ACC)

Wins (0):

Losses (5): #25 North Carolina, #5 NC State, #9 Virginia Tech, Duke, Pittsburgh


• Finished fifth at the ACC Championships and 31st at the NCAA Championships in 2017-18.

• Redshirt sophomore Louie Hayes (125), redshirt junior Sam Krivus (141) and redshirt senior Will Schany (184) all return after making NCAA Championships appearances last year. Hayes fell one round short of being named an All-American as he lost in the Round of 12.

• Virginia is coming off a 25-12 dual victory over Nebraska’s Big Ten foe Indiana, who finished tied for last in the Big Ten standings in 2017-18.

• Coached by Steve Garland (12th season at Virginia)

• Record at Virginia: 146-71

Virginia’s Projected Starters

125: #7 Louie Hayes (0-0)

133: Brian Courtney (1-0) OR Sam Book (1-2)

141: Sam Krivus (0-1) OR Scott Kiyono (0-2)

149: Michael Murphy (1-0) OR Sam Martino (1-2)

157: Jake Keating (1-0)

165: #19 Cam Coy (1-0) OR Krystian Kinsey (0-0)

174: Robby Patrick (1-0)

184: Will Schany (0-1) OR Chance McClure (0-0)

197: Jay Aiello (1-0) OR Tyler Love (4-1)

HWT: Quinn Miller (1-0)


Last Time Out: The Huskers finished second in the six-team Daktronics Open last weekend. While several of the projected starters did not compete, it gave the NU coaching staff an opportunity to gauge the team’s depth heading into its first duals this weekend.


Up Next: The Huskers first home dual of the season will be against Wisconsin on Nov. 16 at the Devaney Center. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 1-800-8-BIG-RED.


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