With only two wrestlers left in the 2017 NCAA tournament the Panthers needed to make the most of their limited opportunities. It went about as well as it could have, as both combined to go 2-1 and both came out on top in their final matches.
UNI’s Max Thomsen had a couple of matches today on the backside of the 149 pound bracket. His dropped the consolation semifinal 13-5 to Ohio State’s Micah Jordan. Thomsen knows he didn’t wrestle his best after falling to the fifth place match.
“I’ve got to be ready for that semifinal consolation. I didn’t put the best Max Thomsen out there and I’m always going to regret that but luckily I’m young.”
“You can see the transformation of him, how he really thinks about competition now,” UNI’s Doug Schwab said. “We need some other guys to have that perspective now, because once you have that perspective it’s really freeing.”
The Panther saw another rematch, this time with Virginia Tech’s Solomon Chishko. Chishko beat Thomsen in their dual meet match 6-2 back in November, but could not repeat his past performance. Thomsen scored two takedowns in the first period, then another in each the second and third. It was a completely different match than the one the two wrestled in November.
“It’s always the plan, to keep building, keep climbing. I’ve got a lot of people who support me. When I take a loss the first thing they say is I know you can do better. I try to do that [get better] for them.”
The 184 pounder for UNI also wrestled in a placement match. Drew Foster took on Indiana’s Nathan Jackson in the seventh place bout. Foster took to his offense early, scoring a quick takedown in the first 20 seconds of the match and never looked back.
“It’s great ot finish with a win, just building into next year,” Foster said afterwards. “I’m happy with the finish but me personally, I fell like I’m a better wrestler. When I lost last night I was pretty dissapointed in myself, you have the match in your hands pretty much and you basically lose it on a silly mistake.”
Foster added another first period takedown, a second period reversal, and a late takedown in the third period to win going away, 11-7.
“I’m happy with my finish, but I’m not satisfied with it.”
“184 is probably the deepest weight, top to bottom,” Schwab added to his 184 pounder’s comments. Foster did a great job finishing seventh in there. Got a lot of momentum for him in the future just to see the growth that he had from last year to this year.”
Both Panthers earned their first All-American honors, and Thomsen was highest-placing freshman since Mark Schwab in 1986.
The Panthers won’t know where they’ll finish in the team standings until later tonight, but it will probably be 18th or 19th. Six of the seven NCAA qualifiers will return to the squad next season.
“There’s a lot to build on, but I’ve never left this tournament satisfied one time. You’re always going to want more for your guys. Certainly excited for the future, how can you not be?”