NU Notes: Huskers Set for NCAA Championships in Tulsa
The Nebraska wrestling team travels to Tulsa for the 2023 NCAA Championships in the quest for a national title. The three-day event will consist of six sessions beginning Thursday morning at the BOK Center.
Seven grapplers represent Nebraska in this year's national championship field, all earning automatic bids as a result of their finishes at the Big Ten Championships. The group includes Liam Cronin (125), Brock Hardy (149), Peyton Robb (157), Bubba Wilson (165), Mikey Labriola (174), Lenny Pinto (184) and Silas Allred (197).
The championship schedule with streaming information is as follows:
Thursday, March 16
Session I – First Round
11 a.m. – ESPNU
Session II – Second Round
6 p.m. – ESPN
Friday, March 17
Session III – Quarterfinals
11 a.m. – ESPNU
Session IV – Semifinals
7 p.m. – ESPN
Saturday, March 18
Session V – Medal Rounds
10 a.m. – ESPNU
Session VI – Championships
6 p.m. – ESPN
Live stats and brackets will be available on Trackwrestling.com and updates will be posted on Twitter (@HuskerWrestling) throughout the weekend. The entire national championship tournament will be broadcast on ESPN networks and additional mat camera streams will be available on ESPN+.
Nebraska's NCAA Championship Lineup*
125: #3 Liam Cronin • Gr. • Orange, Calif.
141: #4 Brock Hardy • RSo. • Brigham City, Utah
157: #3 Peyton Robb • Jr. • Owatonna, Minn.
165: #25 Bubba Wilson • So. • Manhattan, Kan.
174: #2 Mikey Labriola • Sr. • Easton, Pa.
184: #13 Lenny Pinto • RFr. • Stroudsburg, Penn.
197: #8 Silas Allred • RSo. • Anderson, Ind.
*Number indicates seeding
• Nebraska won its fifth Cliff Keen Invite team title in program history on December 3.
• With this season's win over Wisconsin on Jan. 29, Coach Manning picked up its 300th career victory.
• Both Robb and Labriola finished the regular season undefeated, marking just the first time two
wrestlers have done this since 1961.
• Team leaders by category among starters:
o Team Points: Robb (54)
o Pins: Allred (7)
o Major Decisions: Pinto (8)
• The 2023 NCAA DI Wrestling Championships are set for March 16-18 at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla.
• The Big Ten boasts five of the 10 top-seeded wrestlers, including Iowa's Spencer Lee (125), Penn State's Roman Bravo-Young (133), Iowa's Real Woods (141), Penn State's Carter Starocci (174) and Michigan's Mason Parris (285).
• The Huskers are led by two-seed Labriola at 174 pounds.
• The Huskers have had 11 NCAA Champions, 25 NCAA finalists, 127 All-Americans and 24 top-10 team finishes. NU has finished in the top 10 in six of the last seven NCAA Championships. Take a look at Nebraska's NCAA finishes over the last 12 years:
2010-11: 12th (43.5 pts.); seven qualifiers, one All-American
2011-12: T-21st (28 pts.); eight qualifiers, two All-Americans
2012-13: 13th (38 pts.); seven qualifiers, two All-Americans
2013-14: 11th (43.5 pts.); seven qualifiers, two All-Americans
2014-15: 9th (59 pts.); nine qualifiers, three All-Americans
2015-16: 8th (58 pts.); ten qualifiers, three All-Americans
2016-17: 9th (59.5 pts.); seven qualifiers, four All-Americans
2017-18: 9th (47 pts.); seven qualifiers, three All-Americans
2018-19: 10th (51 pts.); eight qualifiers, four All-Americans
2019-20: NCAA Championships canceled; ten qualifiers, eight All-Americans
2020-21: 12th (38 pts.); nine qualifiers, two All-Americans
2021-22: 5th (59.5 pts.); eight qualifiers, five All-Americans
First Round Matchups
No. 3 Cronin (Nebraska, 20-4) vs. No. 30 Antonio Lorenzo (Cal Poly, 8-8)
No. 4 Hardy (Nebraska, 27-5) vs. No. 29 Jordan Titus (West Virginia, 21-12)
No. 3 Robb (Nebraska, 25-1) vs. No. 30 Jared Hill (Oklahoma, 16-10)
No. 25 Wilson (Nebraska, 15-13) vs. No. 8 Matthew Olguin (Oregon State, 23-6)
No. 2 Labriola (Nebraska, 25-1) vs. No. 31 Tyler Stoltzfus (Lehigh, 32-12)
No. 13 Pinto (Nebraska, 23-9) vs. No. 20 Neil Antrassian (Utah Valley, 21-9)
No. 8 Allred (Nebraska, 26-5) vs. No. 25 Michael Battista (Utah Valley, 26-11)
Penn State favored again; Diakomihalis, Lee chase history
Penn State is favored to claim another team title and Cornell’s Yianni Diakomihalis and Iowa’s Spencer Lee will seek their fourth national titles at the NCAA Division I wrestling championships, which start Thursday in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Penn State has won nine national championship in the past 11 years, and things look good for coach Cael Sanderson's Nittany Lions again. Roman Bravo-Young, Carter Starocci and Aaron Brooks all are seeking their third straight national titles and Greg Kerkvliet and Levi Haines are top-three seeds. They lead a Penn State squad that takes a business-like approach.
“I think it’s the same thing as how you approach every single day,” Starocci said. “You don’t want to look at the postseason as like, a special time, as, ‘now, it’s time to get ready.’ You get ready every single day of your life. I think that kind of makes these moments the same.”
Starocci beat the No. 2 seed at 174 pounds, Nebraska’s Mikey Labriola, 6-1 in the Big Ten final. Virginia Tech’s Mekhi Lewis, the outstanding wrestler at the 2019 championships and 165-pound national champ that year, is the No. 3 seed at 174 this year.
Bravo-Young has some tough competition ahead at 133. Oklahoma State’s Daton Fix was a world silver medalist in 2021, but he has yet to win a national title. He’s a three-time runner-up who Bravo-Young defeated in the finals last year. Bravo-Young and the second-seeded Fix enter the weekend unbeaten. Cornell’s Vito Arujau, runner-up in the 2021 Olympic trials, is the No. 3 seed.
Brooks is the No. 3 seed at 184. Northern Iowa’s Parker Keckeisen is the top seed and the Big 12 champion. North Carolina State’s Trent Hilday, seeded second, was a 2021 finalist in this class. Oregon State’s Trey Munoz, the No. 4 seed, lost once all season. Iowa State’s Marcus Coleman, who has a win over Brooks this season, is seeded fifth.
Haines, a true freshman, is seeded No. 2 at 157 after winning the Big Ten title. North Carolina’s Austin O’Connor (18-0) is the top seed.
Kerkvliet has a chance in the 285-pound class. He is the No. 3 seed behind the top seed, Michigan’s Mason Parris (28-0), and the second seed, Air Force’s Wyatt Hendricksen. Iowa’s Tony Cassioppi is seeded fourth. Arizona State’s Cohlton Schultz, who lost last year’s final to Gable Steveson, is the No. 5 seed.
The numbers appear stacked in Penn State’s favor. Sanderson said the key is for his team to remain focused.
“You want to enjoy it, but it’s going to be a lot more enjoyable if you compete well,” Sanderson said. “You kind of focus on the things you want and how you want to compete as opposed to the opposite.”
If Diakomihalis wins at 149 or Lee wins at 125, they will join just four wrestlers who have claimed four Division I national titles all time — Sanderson, Cornell's Kyle Dake, Oklahoma State’s Pat Smith and Ohio State’s Logan Stieber.
Lee (16-0) leads the way for Iowa, a team that could challenge Penn State. The two-time Hodge Trophy winner for the nation’s best college wrestler is the No. 1 seed. He was injured last year and did not compete at the championships. Princeton’s Pat Glory (20-0) is the No. 2 seed.
Diakomihalis may have to go through Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso (25-2), the No. 2 seed. Iowa State’s Paniro Johnson, the No. 5 seed, took Diakomihalis to overtime this season.
Wisconsin’s Austin Gomez gave Diakomihalis his only loss this season. Gomez returned after missing time with an injury and wasn’t quite to form at the Big Ten Tournament, but he's a sleeper as a No. 15 seed.
Iowa’s Real Woods (16-0) and Northern Colorado’s Andrew Alirez (23-0) are seeded No. 1 and No. 2 respectively at 141. Pitt’s Cole Matthews is the No. 3 seed with a 19-1 record.
Iowa State’s David Carr (22-0) is the top seed at 165. Everyone else in the class has at least two losses. Pitt’s Nino Bonaccorsi (16-0) is the top seed at 197.
Michael Henn returns to March Madness with Penn State
By: The Associated Press
Growing up in Washington, Michael Henn fell in love with basketball — the family sport.
That love took him to UC Davis, California Baptist, Portland, Denver and, finally, Penn State. It kept him going through bone spurs, and it carried him all the way back to the NCAA Tournament.
At the very end of his circuitous college career, Henn returns to March Madness when 10th-seeded Penn State takes on Texas A&M on Thursday. The 6-foot-8 forward also played in the 2017 NCAA Tournament as a true freshman with UC Davis.
“It's so rewarding and it's just joyous to be in the moment and be able to see your name called again,” Henn said. “Going back to my freshman year, that was six years ago now, and so for it all to come full circle is really a beautiful thing.”
After that first season at Davis, Henn decided to transfer to Cal Baptist because of what he described as a difference of opinion with the school's coaching staff. Following a redshirt year, he averaged 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds in 30 games with the Lancers.
He missed the 2019-20 season because of lingering issues with bone spurs in his ankle. It took at least two surgeries before the injury was resolved, but Henn said he never considered walking away from hoops.
“It was cool to have breaks in different parts of my college career because it gave me a lot of perspective,” he said. “I was coming back from injury, I was working, I was doing things that your normal college student would do, and so to be able to have that perspective and come back into this, I have a great appreciation for just being able to play every day.”
Henn graduated from Cal Baptist with a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship and a minor in real estate. He was playing for the University of Portland when the school fired coach Terry Porter in February 2021, and the new staff “got rid of our whole team,” Henn said.
After spending last season at Denver, Henn planned to play professionally, but he had another year of eligibility left because of the pandemic. He put his name in the transfer portal and ended up at Penn State.
The Nittany Lions (22-13) had a pair of freshmen big men in Kebba Njie and Demetrius Lilley, and coach Micah Shrewsberry was looking for more experience.
“He's an older guy that's tough. Has some toughness to him,” Shrewsberry said of Henn. “He's going to compete every single time.”
Henn has played in 27 games this season, averaging 2.6 points and almost nine minutes. He is 13 for 30 from 3-point range, fitting right in on a team that likes to take aim from deep. He scored a season-high 11 points in 29 minutes in an 80-60 loss at Purdue on Feb. 1.
Basketball is practically a member of Henn's family. His father, David, and his uncle, Matt, played semi-pro ball and served as his first coaches. His great uncle, Jerry Vermillion, is the career leading rebounder at Gonzaga, and another great uncle, Greg Vermillion, played at Seattle University.
“I mean, my whole family's involved. ... Just had great guidance that has led me all the way to this point,” Henn said.
Henn also has a master's degree in real estate from Denver, and he said he is close to finishing his MBA from Portland. He is working on a graduate certificate from Penn State in business sustainability strategy.
Long-term, Henn said he wants to build a real estate portfolio and start some of his own businesses. But first up, he is hoping for a long NCAA Tournament run with Penn State.
When Henn played in the tourney in 2017, UC Davis beat N.C. Central 67-63 in their First Four game in Dayton, Ohio, and then lost 100-62 to top-seeded Kansas.
“It's going to go by even faster as we go forward, and so you just got to stay in the moment and enjoy it,” Henn said.
Huskers Take On Mavericks in Midweek Doubleheader
Nebraska by the Numbers
- The Huskers lead the Big Ten in shutouts with eight and are ranked 18th in the NCAA.
- NU has tallied a conference-best 47 doubles, a number that ranks fifth in the nation.
- Nebraska is leading the Big Ten in batting average (.321) and is one of only two teams with a batting average above .300.
- The Huskers are also leading the conference in hits (204) and slugging percentage (.519).
- Billie Andrews is first in the conference and sixth in the NCAA in home runs with nine to start the season.
- Billie Andrews and Caitlynn Neal both are tied for second-most doubles in the conference with seven this season.
- Ava Bredwell has tallied 21 runs through 24 games. She has the third-most runs in the Big Ten.
- Courtney Wallace has recorded the second-most wins in the conference with nine. She is also 16th in the NCAA.
- Wallace has recorded three shutout wins this season, a mark that is first in the Big Ten and 15th in the nation.
- Omaha currently leads the Summit League in batting average (.258), doubles per game (1.95), on base percentage (.353), scoring (4.37), stolen bases per game (1.16) and triple per game (0.26).
- The Mavericks lead their conference with a 1.96 ERA.
- Kamryn Meyer leads Omaha in the circle with a 1.28 ERA and 89 strikeouts. Both rank first in the Summit League.
- On offense, Lynsey Tucker leads the Mavericks with a .390 batting average. The senior has tallied 23 hits including four doubles and six RBI. Tucker has also added 10 runs.
- Rachel Weber adds a .328 batting average. The graduate student has notched 20 hits including a team-best four home runs and 20 RBI.
- Billie Andrews has tallied nine home runs this season, she is now seventh all-time in Nebraska history in career homers with 36.
- Andrews is one of 12 returning players in the NCAA who hit 20 or more home runs last season.
- Sarah Harness recorded a no-hitter against New Mexico on Feb. 24, 2023. It marked the first no-hitter by a Nebraska pitcher since 2016.
- Mya Felder is the only returning Big Ten player who received All-Big Ten, All-Defensive and All-Tournament honors in 2022.
- Courtney Wallace is one of six returning Rawlings/NFCA Gold Glove recipients from last season.
Strand, Takahashi Take Top 20 Finishes
Kelli Ann Strand and Miu Takahashi tied for 18th individually to lead the Nebraska women's golf team to a ninth-place finish in a strong 16-team field at the Briar's Creek Invitational in Johns Island, S.C., on Tuesday.
Strand, a freshman from Challis, Idaho, closed with a three-round total of 218 (+2), including a second-round 70 on the 6,152-yard, par-72 of The Golf Club at Briar's Creek. Takahashi, a sophomore from Nasu-Machi, Japan, matched Strand's 54-hole total with a 218 of her own that included a 71 (-1) in Monday's second round.
Graduate student Megan Whittaker (Elkhorn, Neb.) added a solid tournament with a tie for 29th at 221 (+5), while junior Lindsey Thiele (Wahoo, Neb.) contributed a tie for 41st with a 224 (+8) in the 90-player field.
The No. 36 Huskers put together an opening-round 294 (+6) on Monday, before rallying for a second-round 287 (-1) to end the first day of the tournament at 581 (+5) in seventh. Nebraska was hoping to make a charge up the team standings on Tuesday, but the Huskers settled for a final-round 299 (+11) to slip to ninth.
"We didn't have the magic this week," Nebraska Head Coach Jeanne Sutherland said. "We didn't drive the ball well, but I was pleased with a lot of things. The team focused well and did their best in each round. We're putting better on Bermuda greens, and our short games looked good. We get to compete again this week, so it will be good to get right back out there."
No. 30 SMU held off UCF for the team title, as the Mustangs finished three rounds at 851 (-13). No. 20 UCF, which was the top-ranked team in the tournament, finished three strokes back at 854 (-10), while No. 35 Maryland finished in third at 867 (+3).
SMU's Michelle Zhang and North Carolina State's Lauren Olivares shared medalist honors with 54-hole totals of 210 (-6). Mackenzie Lee (SMU), Jess Baker (UCF) and Crystal Wang (Illinois) tied for third just one shot back of the leaders at 211 (-5).
Nebraska will make a quick turnaround, heading to Arizona to compete in the Mountain View Collegiate in Tucson. The three-day tournament tees off on Friday, March 17 and runs through Sunday, March 19.
Briar's Creek Invitational
March 13-14, 2023
Johns Island, S.C.
The Golf Club at Briar's Creek (Par 72, 6,152 Yards)
Final Team Results
1. SMU (30) - 285-278-288=851 (-13)
2. UCF (20) - 283-277-294=854 (-10)
3. Maryland (35) - 285-287-295=867 (+3)
T4. North Carolina State (48) - 293-289-291=873 (+9)
T4. Penn State - 289-288-296=873 (+9)
6. Illinois - 283-286-305=874 (+10)
7. College of Charleston (42) - 284-292-301=877 (+13)
8. Campbell - 288-294-296=878 (+14)
9. Nebraska (36) - 294-287-299=880 (+16)
10. Iowa - 295-292-304=891 (+27)
T11. Rutgers - 297-297-303=897 (+33)
T11. Boston College - 302-297-298=897 (+33)
T11. Old Dominion - 298-296-303=897 (+33)
14. North Florida - 302-291-309=902 (+38)
15. East Carolina - 296-308-309=913 (+49)
16. Miami - 305-308-307=920 (+56)
Final Individual Results
T1. Lauren Olivares, North Carolina State - 68-71-71=210 (-6)
T1. Michelle Zhang, SMU - 70-70-70=210 (-6)
T3. Jess Baker, UCF - 69-69-73=211 (-5)
T3. Mackenzie Lee, SMU - 69-69-73=211 (-5)
T3. Crystal Wang, Illinois - 67-69-76=211 (-5)
6. Patricie Mackova, Maryland - 72-73-67=212 (-4)
T7. Anna Nordfors, UCF - 72-67-74=213 (-3)
T7. Ellie Szeryk, SMU - 70-69-74=213 (-3)
9. Victoria Hund, College of Charleston - 71-71-73=215 (-1)
T10. Sara Byrne, Miami - 74-71-71=216 (E)
T10. Christin Eisenbeiss, North Florida - 68-72-76=216 (E)
T10. Paula Miranda, Iowa - 71-72-73=216 (E)
T10. Tunrada Piddon, UCF - 72-69-75=216 (E)
T10. Pimpisa Sisutham, UCF - 72-72-72=216 (E)
T18. Kelli Ann Strand - 74-70-74=218 (+2)
T18. Miu Takahashi - 72-71-75=218 (+2)
T29. Megan Whittaker - 75-72-74=221 (+5)
T41. Lindsey Thiele - 73-75-76=224 (+8)
*T75. Andrea Velez - 75-78-81=234 (+18)
T79. Michaela Vavrova - 77-74-84=235 (+19)
*competed as an individual outside Nebraska's lineup
Huskers Fall to No. 9 Hawaii
The Nebraska beach volleyball team dropped its final match in Honolulu on Tuesday to No. 9 Hawaii, 5-0, at the Ching Complex.
The Huskers dropped to 9-5 on the season, while the Rainbow Wahine improved to 13-3.
NU's No. 3 pair of Merritt Beason and Harper Murray was the only pair to go the distance, as they challenged Hawaii's Anna Maidment and Sofia Russo before falling 21-17, 15-21, 7-15.
As the Big Red heads back to the mainland this week, they'll stop in California for six final matches. The Huskers will play Grossmont and San Diego Mesa in El Cajon, Calif., on March 16, and then they will play Saddleback College and Orange Coast College on March 17 in Irvine, Calif. The Huskers will close out their season on March 18 with a doubleheader against Irvine Valley College and Hope International University, also in Irvine.
No. 9 Hawaii 5, Nebraska 0
1. Kaylee Glagau/Brooke Van Sickle (UH) def. Ally Batenhorst/Bergen Reilly (NEB) 21-11, 21-9
2. Kylin Loker/Riley Wagoner (UH) def. Bekka Allick/Lexi Rodriguez (NEB) 21-15, 21-17
3. Anna Maidment/Sofia Russo (UH) def. Merritt Beason/Harper Murray (NEB) 17-21, 21-15, 15-7
4. Ilihia Huddleston/Jaime Santer (UH) def. Laney Choboy/Lindsay Krause (NEB) 21-10, 21-13
5. Chandler Cowell/Sydney Miller (UH) def. Hayden Kubik/Caroline Jurevicius (NEB) 21-12, 21-14
Order of finish: 5,4,2,3,1