Wednesday, September 29, 2021

2022: The Preseason: Nebraska Cornhuskers

 In terms of potential, this could be a really great year for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. I think they're capable of sending their entire squad to the NCAA tournament & I can't see them sending any fewer than 8.  I think they have the potential to crown 6 All Americans and as far as I'm concerned 3 of them, albeit darkhorse have a shot at the national title.  What's even more of note, is that on paper, albeit again darkhorse, 4 of the Huskers could be BIG 10 champions.  With the addition of Tervel Delagnev to the coaching staff it gives testimony that the disappointment that lurked into the upper weight classes last season, will be turned into satisfaction. 

Liam Cronin 
Record: 64-50
NCAA: 20'NQ, 21'NQ
BIG 10: 20'5th, 21'WC

125 lbs, if you haven't figured it out by now is an absolute zoo. There's so much talent and parity here that it could literally drive a man mad trying to make sense of it. Cronin has the tools to be an All American this season.  He has some very impressive victories.  He beat All American Eric Barnett of Wisconsin twice, 7-4 and sticking him at 2:02 in the first period.  BIG 10 runner up Devin Schroder 3-1.   Other victories include Malik Heinselman of Ohio State, Michael DeAugustino of Northwestern and Rayvon Foley of Michigan State.  

In case anyone is wondering Minnesota transfer Boo Dryden is redshirting. 

Alex Thomsen
Record: 26-20
BIG 10: 20'6th 

An NCAA qualifier at 125 lbs two seasons ago, as of right now I see Thomsen on the borderline of qualification at 133 in 2022. Thinking somewhere in that 34-38 range.  He's going to have to pull off some big wins and some big upsets to earn his allocation or even his at large bid. I think he'll do it. 

Chad Red Jr 
Record: 103-41
NCAA: 18'7th, 19'8th', 20'NQ*, 21'6th 
BIG 10: 18'7th, 19'2nd, 20'3rd, 21'4th
MIDLANDS: 17'4th
CKLV: 18'4th, 20'5th 

Red is 0-2 Vs Jaydin Eierman of Iowa and he's 0-3 Vs Nick Lee of Penn State, but I still say that Red has the potential to be both a BIG 10 and an NCAA champion and I'll tell you why.  Red is dangerous. He has big moves that can score big points or even get a fall.  In a tournament setting like the BIG 10's or the NCAA's he doesn't have to prove that he can beat you multiple times, he only has to beat you once. Case in point Dean Heil. I can almost guarantee if Dean Heil and Chad Red met on the mat 10 times, Heil would win the majority of the matches. Doesn't matter. They only met once, Red surprised him with a cement mixer and stuck him before Heil even knew what happened.  Could he do that to Lee or Eierman? I don't see why not.   The problem is going to be doing it more than once.  So I do call Red a darkhorse champ in both the BIG 10 and NCAA, but realize it's a tall order. 

Ridge Lovett OR Brock Hardy
Sophomore OR Freshman
Record: 26-11 OR Record: 5-3
NCAA: 20'NQ, 21'NQ OR 
BIG 10: 20'7th, 21'2nd OR 
CKLV: 20'3rd 

I think Lovett has All American potential.  He certainly looked that way at the BIG 10's last year with an 11-6 victory over Iowa's Max Murin and a runner-up finish.  I think it's in the lower half of the award stand, but I can see him standing on it.   

Hardy won't be upending Lovett for the 149 spot, but he'd be an NCAA qualifier in his own right if the position was his.  A 9-2 victory over Michael Blockhus of Minnesota more than suggest that. 

Peyton Robb OR Kevon Davenport
Sophomore or Freshman
Record: 53-16 OR Record: 18-4 
NCAA: 20'NQ, 21'NQ
BIG 10: 20'3rd, 21'4th 
CKLV: 20'7th 

157 is fairly loaded and I don't know if I can see Robb at this point in the top 8 or not. I definitely know he's top 16 material, but I'm gonna have to see some big wins before I move him much further than that. I'll reevaluate midseason and see where he's at then. 

With that said, like Lovett, he has a very solid backup in Kevon Davenport, who in his own right I think would also be an NCAA qualifier.  He pinned three time NCAA qualifier Henry Pohlmeyer of South Dakota State. 

Bubba Wilson 
Record: 19-3 

He looked good in matches during his redshirt season of 2019, but in 19 victories he didn't face anyone of note. It's easy to look good when the competition isn't as fierce.  With that said, I still think the Kansas state champion should find himself within the top 33 by year's end. 

Mikey Labriola
Record: 84-23
NCAA: 19'6th, 20'NQ*, 21'3rd
BIG 10: 19'4th, 20'6th, 21'3rd 
MIDLANDS: 18'4th 
CKLV: 19'4th, 20'3rd 

A 3-1 loss to Kemerer & a 3-1 sudden victory loss to Starocci. There's absolutely no reason at all to think that Labriola couldn't turn these losses into wins. If anything else, what impresses me most was an 11-3 major over Michigan's Logan Massa. Labriola is a bit of a head case and that could potentially pose a problem, but get the man focused and on a mission, I can see him winning both the BIG 10's and the NCAA's. 

Taylor Venz
Record: 115-35
NCAA: 18'4th,19'R12, 20'NQ*, 21'R12
BIG 10: 18'4th, 19'4th, 20'3rd, 21'2nd
CKLV: 18'3rd, 19'2nd, 20'5th 

He made the NCAA award stand as a freshman and he has yet to stand on it again. Dare I say in his last attempt that not only he stand on it, but he stand on the top spot? 8-2 losses, like the one he suffered vs Dakota Geer of Oklahoma State lean that answer towards no, but in spite of three losses suffered to NCAA champion Aaron Brooks of Penn State, Venz does own a 9-5 victory against him. I'll call it a darkhorse, as I do with Red, but both BIG 10 and NCAA wise, we're looking at a guy that CAN win both. 

Eric Schultz
Record: 105-34
NCAA: 18'NQ, 19'NQ, 20'NQ, 21'NQ
BIG 10: 18'7th, 19'4th, 20'2nd, 21'2nd
CKLV: 19'2nd, 20'5th 

In four attempts he has yet to win a BIG 10 title and he has yet to make All American status.  In 2022 I say he stands a good shot at achieving both goals. Within the BIG 10, I still want to see him against Max Dean of Penn State, but two victories 3-2 & 3-1 over Hawkeye Jacob Warner indicate that he is within the running. As the NCAA's, I can't see him winning a title but a runner-up or 3rd place finish I do believe is within his capabilities. 

Christian Lance
Record: 49-27
BIG 10: 21' 5th

With a 4-2 sudden victory over 6th place Trent Hillger of Wisconsin and a 3-2 victory over 8th place Tate Orndorff of Ohio State, there's no reason to think that Christian Lance can't earn an NCAA medal of his own.  Of course, as always, easier said than done but if he does make the award stand, I see it somewhere in the 7th-8th place range. 


125 - AA
133 - On the Edge of Qualification (A new hit by Stevie Nicks)
141 - Champion 
149 - AA
157 - NQ
165 - NQ
174 - Champion 
184 - Champion 
197 - 2nd-3rd 
HWT - 7th-8th 

Much like Michigan, Nebraska seems to always be a team that CAN, that sometimes DOES and sometimes DOES NOT.  On paper, I think the Huskers could surprise a lot of people. They wrestle like they CAN, that's a Hell of a team at both the BIG 10's and the NCAA's, as well as CKLV.  It's absolutely ridiculous that we would have to worry about a team that should send no less than 8, realistically 9 and as many as all 10 to the NCAA's, potentially being cut.  No other sport with a team this good, would have to worry about such a thing.  No Top 10 or greater football team is going to get cut. No top 10 or greater basketball team is going to get cut.  Wrestling has proven itself to be somewhere between third and fifth in collegiate popularity.  We shouldn't have to worry about Trev Alberts axing one of the top programs in the nation, but unfortunately we do. 

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