#12 Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-0) vs. #18 Wisconsin Badgers (3-0)
Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, 8 p.m.
Live Video: Big Ten Network
Live Streaming: BTN2Go
Live Stats: TrackWrestling
The Nebraska wrestling team opens up its Big Ten season with a dual against the 18th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers at the Devaney Center on Friday, Nov. 16. Wisconsin currently holds a 10-9-2 series lead over Nebraska, but the Huskers have won six of the last eight duals between the two. The match begins at 8 p.m. with television coverage by the Big Ten Network and live streaming on BTN2Go. Shane Sparks will be on play-by-play and Jim Gibbons is the color commentator.
As a team, Nebraska 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.
Isaiah White (165) and Eric Schultz (197) also return as Huskers who competed at the NCAA Championships. Zeke Moisey (125), a two-time All-American and West Virginia transfer, made his NU debut last weekend at the Northeast Duals, defeating Drexel’s Antonio Minnino in an 8-7 decision. The senior has one year of eligibility remaining.
The Huskers are led by Mark Manning, who holds a 237-88-3 record as the head coach at Nebraska. Manning holds the record for most dual wins in program history in addition to coaching 49 All-Americans at NU. He’s helped five wrestlers to national titles (4 at NU) and has nine top-10 NCAA finishes at NU. He was also named the Dan Gable Coach of the Year in 2009.
Led by Chris Bono, Wisconsin’s first-year head coach, the Badgers are off to a 3-0 start after dual victories over Buffalo, Kent State and CSU Bakersfield. UW has outscored the three by a combined score of 90-37 heading into Friday’s match with Nebraska. Wisconsin is coming off of a season that saw them finish sixth at the Big Ten Championships and 17th at the NCAA Championships. They return four NCAA qualifiers, led by No. 2 Evan Wick (165).
Bono spent the last six seasons as the head coach at South Dakota State. He built the Jackrabbits into a consistent contender in the Big 12, coaching three conference champions in the program's three years in the league.
Its alumni weekend in Lincoln, as the Huskers honor the 2007-08 and 2008-09 teams both before and during the match. The nightly promotion is Pepsi Pack the House Night, which means all general admission tickets and Pepsi products are just $1.Tickets can be purchased at Huskers.com/tickets or by calling 1-800-8-BIG-RED.
Nebraska’s Projected Starters:
125: #6 Zeke Moisey (1-0)
133: Christian Miller (3-3)
OR: Tucker Sjomeling (4-1)
141: #11 Chad Red Jr. (1-2)
149: Jordan Shearer (5-2)
OR: Collin Purinton (4-2)
157: #3 Tyler Berger (3-0)
165: #11 Isaiah White (1-1)
OR: Johnny Blankenship (3-2)
174: #10 Mikey Labriola (7-0)
184: #3 Taylor Venz (3-0)
197: Eric Schultz (5-3)
HWT: Christian Lance (3-2)
OR: Patrick Grayson (4-2)
Wisconsin’s Projected Starters:
125: #17 Connor Brown (3-0)
133: Jens Lantz (1-3) OR Michael Cullen (3-2)
141: #13 Tristan Moran (5-1)
149: Devin Bahr (3-1) OR Cole Martin (6-1)
157: #18 Zander Wick (0-1) OR Patrick Spray (1-3)
165: #2 Evan Wick (6-0) or Izaec Quintanilla (2-2)
174: #19 Ryan Christensen (6-1)
184: Mason Reinhardt (6-2)
197: Andrew Salemme (2-4)
HWT: Trent Hillger (5-0)
• Nebraska has outscored its three dual opponents by a combined score of 68-39
• Nebraska has won 19 of 30 individual matches in dual competition
• Three starters have perfect 3-0 dual records to start the season. Returning All-Americans Tyler Berger (157) and Taylor Venz (184) both started out the season 3-0 with 25 dual points combined between the two of them. Redshirt freshman Mikey Labriola followed suit with a 3-0 start, including two wins by tech. fall.
• Junior Jordan Shearer (149) and sophomore Patrick Grayson (HWT) boast identical 2-0 dual records after notching victories by decision over Drexel and UVA. Grayson took a 5-2 decision over the No. 13 ranked heavyweight wrestler in the country on Saturday in Joey Goodhart (Drexel).
• Collin Purinton (149) and Tyler Berger (157) lead NU with three victories each by major decison.
• Zeke Moisey (125) made his Huskers debut last weekend and started 1-0 with an 8-7 decision in his bout against Drexel’s Antonio Minninno.
• Labriola (174) leads the team with three wins by tech. fall and seven victories overall.
Four Returning All-American’s Look to Make Waves
• 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 Nov. 4, but all competed at 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 9 wins away from his 100th win as a Husker, went 28-9 a season ago and placed third at the NCAA Championships.
• A transfer from Division II Notre Dame College, Isaiah White (165) enters 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 also 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.
Open Lineup Spots Being Sorted Out
• Nebraska will have a few starting roles to sort out after the graduation of a few key seniors. Two-time All-American Tyler Berger is firmly entrenched at 157 pounds. Returning NCAA qualifiers Chad Red Jr. (141), Isaiah White (165), Taylor Venz (184) and Eric Schultz (197) are all locked into starting spots.
• A few spots up for grabs are at 125, 133 and 149 pounds as NU looks to replace departed seniors Mitchell Maginnis (125) and Colton McCrystal (149).
• Zeke Moisey made his Huskers debut last weekend and tallied up a victory in the win column at 125-pounds. He will face his first ranked opponent as a Huskers this weekend in Wisconsin’s Connor Brown (No. 17).
• Redshirt freshman Christian Miller, who went 3-1 to finish second at the Daktronics Open, went 0-2 in his first dual competition last weekend. His top competitor for the spot is Tucker Sjomeling, who earned a 13-6 victory by decision against Utah Valley on Saturday. Listed as “OR” on the depth chart, Miller and Sjomeling could each see action in one bout this weekend.
• Jordan Shearer, a junior from Fargo, N.D., has been NU’s top-dog at 149 pounds early on in the season. He went 2-0 in dual action in Albany, N.Y., Saturday, proving the decision to start him to be a good one. Collin Purinton also grabbed a dual victory on Saturday at 149 as the two combined to go 3-0.
Labriola Wins Big Ten Wrestler of the Week
• Nebraska redshirt freshman Mikey Labriola (174 pounds) was named the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week on Tuesday, Nov. 13. A native of Easton, Pa., Labriola has been dominant thus far in the 2018-19 season. He earned Big Ten Wrestler of the Week honors after going 3-0 at the Northeast Duals in Albany, N.Y.
• In his first match, Labriola squared off with No. 14 Kimball Bastian of Utah Valley and ended up taking an 11-7 victory by decision. In his next bout, the 174-pounder won 18-3 by tech. fall (2:43) against Drexel’s Jason Hoffman. Labriola finished the Northeast Duals with another win by tech. fall, this time over Virginia’s Robby Patrick (6:03), 22-7.
• He also went 4-0 in the 174-pound bracket of the Daktronics Open on Nov. 4 to take first place in his weight class. Labriola boasts a perfect 7-0 record with two top-20 wins heading into Friday’s dual against Wisconsin. The redshirt freshman is Nebraska’s first Big Ten Wrestler of the Week since Robert Kokesh did so as a senior in 2014-15.
Seven Huskers ranked in Intermat, OpenMat, FloWrestling Rankings
• Seven Nebraska wrestlers are currently ranked in the top 20 of their weight class by the weekly rankings services. Tyler Berger (157) and Taylor Venz (184) are the highest-ranked Huskers, as each is ranked as the No. 3 wrestler in their weight class by the InterMat rankings.
• Zeke Moisey (125) comes in at No. 6 in the InterMat rankings, No. 7 in the OpenMat rankings and No. 5 in FloWrestling’s rankings, moving up one spot from last week.
• Mikey Labriola, who was ranked 12th at 174 pounds last week, moved up to No. 10 in the InterMat and FloWrestling rankings and No. 11 in the OpenMat rankings.
• Chad Red Jr. (141) comes in at No. 11 on the InterMat rankings but stayed in the top ten in each of the other two. Isaiah White (165) comes in at No. 11 and Eric Schultz (197) ranks as the 14th best wrestler in his class on OpenMat and the 18th best on FloWrestling.
2018-19 Record: 3-0 (0-0 Big 10)
Wins (3): Buffalo, Kent State, CSU Bakersfield
2017-18 Record: 7-5 (4-5 Big 10)
Wins (7): Pittsburgh, CSU Bakersfield, Maryland, Michigan State, Indiana, Illinois,
Losses (5): Northwestern, Michigan, Nebraska, Rutgers, Purdue
• Wisconsin finished sixth at the 2018 Big Ten Championships and 17th at the NCAA Championships last season.
• Sophomore Evan Wick (165) was one of seven NCAA qualifiers for the Badgers last season. Wick, who is the No. 2 wrestler in the country at his weight class, earned All-America honors last season after finishing third at the 2018 NCAA Championships.
• Other returning Badgers to compete at the NCAA Championships a year ago were Cole Martin (149), Ryan Christenson (174) and Mason Reinhardt (184).
• Two transfers who have made an instant impact in Madison are Connor Brown (125) and Tristan Moran (141). Brown transferred from South Dakota State, where he earned a starting nod as a true freshman last year and qualified for the NCAA Championships. Moran, a redshirt junior, went 18-7 in a reserve role for Oklahoma State last season. These two are a combined 8-1 to start the season.
• Coached by: Chris Bono (1st season at Wisconsin)
• Career Record: 67-41(7th year); Record at Wisconsin: (3-0-0)
Last Time Out:
The Huskers went 3-0 at the Northeast Duals in Albany, N.Y. on Saturday, Nov. 10. NU defeated Utah Valley, 19-15, Drexel, 28-9 and Virginia, 21-15 in consecutive duals. Tyler Berger (157), Mikey Labriola (174) and Taylor Venz (184) led the way, combining to finish 9-0 on the day.
This will be the Huskers first home dual out of seven on the season, and the only one of 2018. Nebraska heads to the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev. on Nov. 30 for the two-day tournament. After duals with NC State and North Carolina on the road, NU will be off until Jan. 6, 2019, when they return home for a dual against Northwestern.