A pair of Panthers punched their way to the quarterfinals tomorrow morning and one other continued on the backside. Max Thomsen and Drew Foster both won close matches to advance in the NCAA tournament, but neither is satisfied with nearly making the next round. Dylan Peters won both of his matches in the consolation round.
“It’s not done. It’s one win. Basically I just take the five seed and just try to keep climbing,” Foster said of the win. “Still working, trying to get better each day.”
Foster defeated Zavatsky 4-3 today, but faced Zach Zavatsky last season and lost 13-2. There’s not a Panther, or maybe wrestler in the country, who has had as big a turnaround as Drew Foster from last season.
“Staying confident, in myself, having my family’s support, my teammates, my coaches supporting me,” Foster said. “That’s huge, when you have that backing, it gives you a reason, almost, to go in every day and try and get better.”
Thomsen won his match against Lehigh’s #10 Laike Gardner 6-4. Thomsen was ridden for more than a little bit in both the second and third periods, but with riding time not being a factor, he got up and out to tie the match at 4, and got the winning takedown with just two seconds left in the match.
Thomsen’s day tomorrow is a little bit easier than what most people expected. #2 Anthony Collica, Thomsen’s would-be opponent, dropped a 9-3 decision in sudden victory to Kenny Thobald from Rutgers. If Thomsen can get by Theobold, he’ll have either Lavion Mayes (in another MAC Championship rematch) or Solomon Chishko from Virginia Tech.
Lujan was so unsatisfied with the win, he didn’t even talk to the media afterwards, instead going back to work off more weight for tomorrow’s quarterfinal round.
Bryce Steiert lost the MAC Conference Championship rematch with Daniel Lewis, 6-0. Lewis took Steiert down early, then rode him for nearly five minutes in the match. Steiert had some chances in the second period, but couldn’t finish. He’ll wrestle tomorrow morning in the consolations.
Josh Alber fell 5-2 to Stevan Micic. Alber appeared (at least to me) to have a go-ahead takedown on the edge in the third period, but the official ruled them out of bounds. It was Albers best chance to score, as soon after Micic took him down to seal the match. Alber will wrestle Corey Keener from Central Michigan tomorrow morning.
Taylor Lujan lost 5-2 in a rematch with Zach Epperly. The Hokie was able to ride Lujan the entire third period, locking up the win. Lujan falls to the backside of the bracket at 174.
On the backside of the bracket Dylan Peters defeated fellow MAC opponent Barlow McGhee in the pigtail match 4-3 to start the night off for the Panthers. Peters used his best defense in the 3rd, and used the same “circle left” strategy that Jay Schwarm used to defate McGhee in the UNI/Missouri dual last month. In his second match Peters scored a takedown on the edge with very little time left to defeat Sean Nickell from Cal-State Bakersfield.
Jacob Holschlag dropped a 4-1 decision to #9 Nate Rotert from SDSU. Holschlag couldn’t really get to any offense, but there was a successful challenge by UNI during the match on an early takedown that was called for Rotert. Ultimately it wasn’t enough to keep Holschlag in the tournament.
We’ll have full coverage of tomorrow’s two sessions, and be sure to check out our MANY pictures on our Flickr site!