The Huskers were one of the top teams through out most of last season remaining in the top ten until Nationals. They followed up their runner-up finish in 2020 at the Big Ten Championships with a third place finish last season in the the most difficult wrestling conference in the country. Huskers are ranked 9th as of now. The Huskers are led by Head Coach Mark Manning, who will be coaching in his 21 season as the head of Nebraska Cornhusker Wrestling. His assistants are long time confidant, Bryan Snyder, second year assistant Robert Kokesh and first year assistant Tervel Dlagnev. Dlagnev replaces Tyler Berger who moved to California over the summer and also is the director of the NWTC. Dlagnev is a former great for the UNK Lopers and a 2012 Freestyle Olympic Bronze Medalist.
This Husker group is hungry after last seasons disappointing 19th place finish at Nationals. Coach Snyder says “We have a bad taste from last years NCAA’s. That’s not lost on anyone, none of the coaches or the wrestlers. The team is hungry and eager to compete. We need to make a few adjustments late and we will be there. We got our season started off last week with two dual victories now we turn our attention to (#16) North Carolina. This weekend we have Daktronics, then we prepare for Vegas. We’re only focusing on the first semester right now.” Nebraska is taking everything one step at a time.
Nebraska returns Liam Cronin who was a national qualifier a season ago. It is the second time in his career he has qualified after qualifying in 2020 for Indiana. Cronin is a Senior who last season went 7-1 in duals and finished 9th at the Big Ten Tournament. He went 1-2 at the NCAA Tournament. He starts this season currently ranked #17 by Intermat. Cronin will be backed up by Jeremiah Reno, who is a second year freshman wrestler from Liberty HS in Missouri. Reno went 179-0 with four state titles in high school career and was highly regarded coming out of high school. Reno saw his first varsity action last Thursday where he went 1-1 in duals. Nebraska picked up a transfer in the offseason. Boo Dryden joined the team after wrestling last season for the Minnesota Gophers. He will redshirt this season and compete unattached up at 133, but a contender for 125. Quinton Chavez from Gering will also redshirt this season.
Alex Thomsen and Tucker Sjomeling split time at 133 pounds last season and will probably do the same this year. Thomsen is a fourth year sophomore from Underwood, Iowa. He went 3-3 in duals last year. He bumped up to 133 after spending his first three seasons at 125. In 2019-20 Thomsen finished 6th at the Big Ten Tournament. Sjomeling is a fifth year Junior from Delano, Minnesota. He went 3-3 in duals last season and finished in 9th at the Big Ten tournament. He got the 9th place finish the hard way. He won the mini bracket going 3-0 with victories over the #7 and #5 overall seed, but was still denied a trip to nationals. Jordan Kelber from Valentine technically wrestled Thursday, but didn’t physically wrestle as he accepted a forfeit for the Huskers in the UNK dual. Talented second year freshman, Dom Serrano will most likely take his redshirt this season.
Chad Red makes his return for his final season with the Huskers. The sixth year senior is a three time All American. He finished 6th last season, 8th as a redshirt sophomore and 7th as a redshirt freshman. Red has a flair for the dramatic from his big throws, to his cradles and more. He always seems to up his game late in the year and win the big matches when it counts. He went 8-1 last season in duals and finished 4th at the Big Ten Championships. He will start the season ranked sixth by Intermat. Backing up Red will be Daniel Monahan who picked up a victory in the Chadron State dual, but could also wrestle 149. Monahan is a third year freshman from Princeton, New Jersey. Brock Hardy who saw some time last year with the Huskers will take his redshirt the season. 2021 Class A state champion at 126 pounds, Blake Cushing is at 141 or 149 for Nebraska and will redshirt this season.
Nebraska doesn’t lack excitement at 149 either, with Ridge Lovett is in his third year with the program. He can score from any position and he will score a lot of points. He is Nebraska’s most followed wrestler on social media. He comes from Post Falls, Idaho where he was a four time state champ and Fargo Champ. Ridge is a two-time national qualifier and finished runner up in the Big Ten last season. He accomplished all of that after jumping up two weights from 133. He starts the season ranked #13 by Intermat. Behind Ridge is the biggest hype man of the team, Kevon Davenport. Davenport is a third year freshman. He won the Daktronics open as a freshman.
Peyton Robb makes his way back down to 157 after spending last season at 165, where he was a National Qualifier. Robb is a fourth year sophomore from Owatonna, Minnesota. Last season he was 6-3 in duals and finished fourth at the Big Ten Tournament. His freshman season he was a third place finisher at the Big Ten Tournament. Robb is currently ranked #17 by Intermat, but we expect him to shoot back up the ranking as the season goes along. Robb recently competed on the US U23 World Team. Behind Robb is Jevon Parrish. Parrish picked up a victory against Chadron State last week. Parrish started his career as the starting 133 pounder for the Huskers and worked his way up and really transformed his body into a dominant, physical, athletic wrestler. Omaha Skutt second year freshman Nic Stoltenberg had a nice tournament at Grandview Open and will continue to develop and could find his way on the mat when Robb graduates. Josh Licking joins the team as a freshman from Norfolk. He will redshirt this season.
Bubba Wilson got the start in the duals last week and went 1-1, losing to former UNK National Champion Matt Malcolm. Nebraska has been trying to find a guy to fill 165 since the graduation of Isaiah White. Robb filled the spot last season but is back down to 157. Wilson is a third year freshman from Manhattan, Kansas. He was injured last year but look to be a big piece in the Husker lineup this season. Freshman Jagger Condomitti is one of the highest profile wrestlers to come to the Huskers in recent history. He was the winner of FloWrestling’s “Who’s Number One” last August and followed it up with a national title at Fargo. Condo will likely redshirt this season. Elise Brown-Ton is a second year freshman from Allen, Texas where he was a two time state champion. He will be someone to keep an eye on for some possible varsity time this season after a third place finish at the Grand View Open. Adam Thebeau is a freshman from Belleville, Illinois who will redshirt this season.
Nebraska’s most physically talented wrestler might be Mikey Labriola. Labs finished third at the NCAA tournament last season. He avenged his only tournament loss in the third place match against Bernie Truax. He will start the season at #3 behing fellow conference mates Carter Starocci (Penn State) and Michael Kemmerer (Iowa). Starocci was Labs only loss at the Big Ten Tournament on his way to a third place finish. He was 8-0 in duals last year. As a redshirt freshman, Labriola finished 6th at the NCAA Tournament. Behind Labriola will be Tahjae Jenkins-Harris. TJH wrestled two matches in the duals last week going 1-1. He is a freshman from Las Vegas, Nevada. Redshirting for the Huskers this year is another highly touted wrestler from Pennsylvania, Lenny Pinto. Pinto was the #5 182 pounder coming out of high school. He was a state champion as a junior, but missed his senior season with a knee injury. Pinto is super aggressive and technically sound as he showed on his way to a Fargo Freestyle championship in 2019.
Taylor Venz has racked up a lot of wins and a lot of pins in his Nebraska career. He started his career with a promising freshman season when he finished fourth at NCAA Championships. His sophomore and junior seasons he lost in the blood round. Venz has racked up 115 wins in his career with 25 pins. Venz enters his senior season ranked #12. He went 2-0 in the duals last week with two falls. Behind Venz is Nathan Haas who picked up his first career win last year defeated a ranked wrestler from Minnesota. Haas does have an option to redshirt this season. Colton Wolfe is a fine wrestler out of Columbus who has seen a few matches on Varsity where he has gone 1-1 in his career. Wolfe came to Nebraska after becoming a four time finalist and three time state champion for the Discoverers. Should Haas redshirt, Wolfe could see some time competing this season. Brendyn Van Tassell joins the Huskers after a two year mission trip. He comes from Utah where he was a two time state champion.
Eric Schultz was the highest ranked Husker last season. He was ranked at the top for most of the season. He went 8-0 in duals and finished second at the Big Ten Championships. He was upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and did not place. He will look to get revenge this season as he starts the season ranked #12 by Intermat. He has finished runner up twice in the Big Ten in his career and is a four time national qualifier. He is a very tactical wrestler and very hard to score on. Schultz’s backup will be Anthony Goana. Goana lost his match against #13 in D2, Eli Hinojosa from Chadron State. He is a fourth year sophomore from Olathe, Kansas. Silas Allred joined the team in 2020 as one of the top 195 pounders in the country. He will likely redshirt this season. Allred was a two time state champion for Shenadoah HS in Indiana.
Christian Lance was very productive in his first full season as starter for the Huskers. He finished 5th at the Big Ten Championships and earned his first trip to the NCAA Tournament. Lance had a huge part in helping Nebraska defeat Wisconsin last season as he upset #7 Trent Hilger in overtime to help lead the Huskers to the dual victory. Lance starts the season ranked #14. Behind Lance is Cale Davidson, he is a transfer from Wyoming who will push for time in the starting lineup. Austin Emerson got his first victory as a Husker against Chadron State last week. Emerson is a fourth year sophomore from Temperance, Michigan. Rounding out the group is freshman, Zak Taylor. He joins the Huskers from Lakewood, Ohio. He is looking at a redshirt this season.