The Nebraska wrestling team, led by four All-Americans, finished ninth at the NCAA Championships, March 16-18, at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.
It marked NU’s third consecutive season with a top-10 NCAA team finish, and the 21st top-10 finish in program history. The Huskers’ 59.5 points and four All-Americans were each the most by a Nebraska team at the national tournament since 2009.
Seniors Dudley, Montoya Repeat as All-Americans
TJ Dudley (184) became the 14th three-time All-American in Husker history, and Eric Montoya (133) became the 12th two-time All-American in program history when they each claimed top-eight finishes in St. Louis.
Dudley finished third at 184 pounds with a 6-1 mark at the tournament, which included one pin and one technical fall. He earned 11 technical falls on the season, 10 of which were against Division I opponents, a mark that ranked fourth in the nation. Dudley previously finished runner-up at the 2016 NCAA Championships and eighth in 2015.
Montoya finished his Husker career with a sixth-place finish at 133 pounds. Last season, he took fifth place to earn his first career All-America honor.
Berger, Studebaker Make Podium for First Time
Sophomore Tyler Berger (157) advanced to the NCAA Semifinals, and ultimately finished fifth, in his second NCAA Championships appearance. Senior Aaron Studebaker (197) also made the All-America podium for the first time after back-to-back years of being eliminated in the Round of 12. Studebaker, a three-time NCAA qualifier, finished fifth at 197 pounds.
Nebraska took seven NCAA qualifiers to St. Louis, and each of them earned at least one victory. Senior Tim Lambert (125) and junior Colton McCrystal (141) each advanced to the Round of 12, falling one win shy of All-America accolades. Senior Collin Jensen (HWT) went 1-2 in his fourth NCAA showing.
Lambert Leads NU to Fourth Place at Big Ten Championships
Nebraska finished fourth as a team at the Big Ten Championships, March 4-5, in Bloomington, Ind., to match its best finish since joining the conference in 2011. The Huskers scored 102.5 points, marking their second-most at a conference tournament in program history.
Seven Huskers, led by Tim Lambert’s runner-up finish at 125 pounds, placed in the top five at the Big Ten Championships. Colton McCrystal (141) and Tyler Berger (157) each took third. TJ Dudley (184) and Aaron Studebaker (197) each finished fourth. Eric Montoya (133) and Collin Jensen (HWT) each placed fifth. Collin Purinton (149), Dustin Williams (165) and Micah Barnes (174) also competed at the tournament, but did not place.
Huskers Finish Dual Season Ranked Fifth
Nebraska compiled a 12-4 record in duals, including a 6-3 mark in Big Ten competition, to finish fifth in the final USA Today/NWCA Coaches Poll. The Huskers faced nine teams, including five of the top eight, who were ranked in the final Coaches Poll. NU picked up five wins over ranked opponents.
The Huskers won 103 of 160 individual matches in dual competition, outscoring their opponents by a combined score of 410-204. Nebraska welcomed 9,841 fans for eight duals on six different dates at home, marking the third-most fans at home in a season.
Four Huskers Reach 100-Win Milestone
Seniors TJ Dudley (184), Eric Montoya (133), Aaron Studebaker (197) and Tim Lambert (125) each surpassed 100 career wins within a 31-day span during the 2016-17 campaign. Dudley (114-31) became the 25th member of NU’s 100-win club with his victory in the Midlands Championships finals on Dec. 30. Montoya (113-49) earned his 100th career win on Jan. 8, winning 80 of those matches while at Nebraska. Studebaker (112-38) made it three consecutive weekends of Huskers reaching the milestone on Jan. 15. Lambert (106-44) pinned his opponent on Jan. 29 to become the 27th wrestler to win 100 career matches at Nebraska.
Experienced Group Leaves Mark on Husker Program
Six Huskers in the starting lineup were seniors in 2016-17, which combined to make 20 NCAA appearances. TJ Dudley, Eric Montoya, Tim Lambert and Collin Jensen were each four-time NCAA qualifiers, while Aaron Studebaker made three showings and Micah Barnes qualified once. Jensen completed his career with 93 wins and Barnes collected 60 career victories to go along with the quartet of Huskers to earn more than 100 wins each.