Evanston, Ill. – Six Huskers punched their tickets to the semifinals after the first day of action in the 54th Ken Kraft Midlands Championships at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Thursday.
Nebraska is in second place among the 42 teams at the tournament with 78.5 points. Iowa leads the team race with 85.5 points, while Rutgers rounds out the top three (64.5).
Two-time All-American TJ Dudley (184) is two wins away from the 100th of his career after posting three bonus-point victories on Thursday. Dudley, ranked third by InterMat, outscored his opponents 44-2, knocking off No. 14 Emory Parker (Illinois) in the process. Dudley, the defending NCAA runner-up and Midlands runner-up, will face ninth-ranked Nate Jackson (Indiana) in Friday’s semifinals.
Senior All-American Eric Montoya (133) strung together three wins on the first day of action as well, outscoring his opponents by a 36-1 margin. Montoya, ranked No. 4 by InterMat, opened with a technical fall before recording a major decision in his second bout. Montoya will battle No. 6 Seth Gross (South Dakota State) in the semifinals.
No. 8 Tim Lambert (125) won by technical fall and major decision in his first two matches before a tiebreaker win over Central Michigan’s Brent Fleetwood in the quarterfinals. Lambert squares off with Northwestern’s Sebastian Rivera on Friday.
No. 5 Tyler Berger (157) opened his day with a 15-0 technical fall and managed a pair of narrow wins in his following two matches. Berger will face No. 12 Collin Heffernan (Central Michigan) in the semifinals.
No. 8 Aaron Studebaker (197) won a pair of major decisions before posting a 3-0 decision over No. 11 Shawn Scott (Northern Illinois) in the quarterfinals. Studebaker will wrestle No. 12 Ryan Wolfe (Rider) in Friday’s semifinals.
Freshman Chad Red (141) won all three of his matches, which included a major decision over No. 13 Cole Martin (Wisconsin) in the second round. Red will face No. 3 Matthew Kolodzik (Princeton) in the semifinals.
Seniors Micah Barnes (174) and Collin Jensen (HWT) each lost in the quarterfinals, but remain in the consolation bracket. No. 11 Colton McCrystal (141), Dustin Williams (165), Jordan Shearer (149), Collin Purinton (149) and David Jensen (HWT) also competed, but were eliminated on Thursday.
Friday’s action begins at noon (CT) with Session III, which will be streamed on BTN2Go. Session IV, also set for Friday, will be televised on the Big Ten Network starting at 7 p.m.