Nebraska’s three All-Americans went a combined 4-1 in Session V, sparking a surge up the team standings at the 2018 NCAA Wrestling Championships in Cleveland, Ohio, Saturday morning.
Junior Tyler Berger, seeded eighth at 157 pounds, ended his third national tournament appearance with a third-place finish, which is his highest after finishing fifth last season.
Redshirt freshman Taylor Venz, seeded seventh at 184 pounds, finished in fourth place. His placement was the best finish for a Nebraska freshman since current assistant coach Bryan Snyder took fourth in 1999.
Fellow redshirt freshman Chad Red Jr., unseeded at 141 pounds, picked up his second pin fall of the tournament to take seventh place. Red, who lost his opening match on Thursday, battled through the wrestlebacks to finish on the podium.
With the championship matches remaining in Session VI Saturday night, the Huskers currently sit in eighth place with 47 points, three ahead of Cornell in ninth.
Nebraska started the morning session in 14th place with 34 points.
Regardless of the result of the finals, Nebraska will finish inside the top 10 for the fourth consecutive season. The Huskers finished ninth in 2015 and 2017, while taking eighth in 2016. (UPDATE: Nebraska finished ninth. Penn State took the team title, its seventh in eight years.)
Berger was the first Nebraska wrestler to take the mat on Day Three in the consolation semifinals. He defeated No. 7 Micah Jordan of Ohio State in sudden-victory, 4-2, to advance and avenge a Big Ten Championships loss.
Jordan, a two-time All-American, previously defeated Berger by decision, 4-3.
In his third-place match, Berger faced No. 6 Michael Kemerer of Iowa. The bout was scoreless through the first minute, but quickly turned as injury time was called for Kemerer, who appeared to hurt his left arm.
The match continued with Berger scoring a quick escape, but Kemerer again needed time, eventually defaulting by injury.
It may not have been the way he envisioned it, but the win was Berger’s first against Kemerer in his collegiate career. He was previously 0-3.
Venz, Nebraska’s second consolation semifinalist, picked up his second win of the season against No. 6 Zachary Zavatsky of Virginia Tech, winning by decision, 7-3.
In the third-place match, Venz's run of victories came to an end with an 8-1 loss against No. 10 Emery Parker of Illinois. This was Parker’s second win against Venz this season, with the two splitting their previous meetings.
The fireworks continued for Nebraska’s seventh place finisher, who was fresh off an upset victory in the Round of 12 against two-time NCAA Champion Dean Heil of Oklahoma State.
Red was on his way to a decision victory before he caught his opponent Sa’Derian Perry of Eastern Michigan in a headlock, throwing him to the mat and winning by pinfall.
The move was mirror image of what he did to beat Heil the night before.
Nebraska ended the 2018 NCAA Wrestling Championships with three of its six competitors on the podium.