ST. LOUIS — Nebraska won’t have any individual champions, but the Huskers will leave the NCAA wrestling championships with four All-Americans.
Eric Montoya (133 pounds), Tyler Berger (157), TJ Dudley (184) and Aaron Studebaker (197) all will finish in the top eight in their weight classes when the tournament wraps up Saturday at the Scottrade Center.
As a team, Nebraska is in ninth place with 50 points. Defending champion Penn State leads the team race with 121 points, well ahead of second-place Ohio State with 89.5. Iowa is in fifth with 74 points.
It’s the first time since 2009 that Nebraska has had four All-Americans.
Berger was Nebraska’s lone
semifinalist but dropped a 13-5 decision to top-seeded Jason Nolf of Penn State. Two of Berger’s five losses this season were to Nolf.
Dudley became the 14th three-time All-American in program history. Dudley, who lost in Thursday’s quarterfinals, won a pair of decisions Friday night over Big Ten opponents Nicholas Gravina of Rutgers and Nathan Jackson of Indiana. Dudley finished eighth in 2015 and second last season.
Montoya became an All-American for the second straight year as he decisioned Scott Delvecchio of Rutgers 8-5 and Scotty Parker of Lehigh 7-1 Friday night.
Studebaker, who had fallen one win shy of being an All-American the past two years, broke through by winning four matches Friday, including three against top 10 seeds. The Raymond Central graduate dominated his two evening matches, downing fifth-seeded Matt McCutcheon of Penn State 13-2 — Studebaker scored 11 points in the second period — and then upending eighth-seeded Ryan Wolfe of Rider 12-4.
A pair of Huskers fell a win short of earning All-America status.
At 125 pounds, Tim Lambert traded escapes with Virginia Tech’s Joey Dance in regulation before Dance scored in sudden victory for a 3-1 win.
And at 141, Tommy Thorn of Minnesota ended Colton McCrystal’s season with a 10-6 decision. It was McCrystal’s first appearance at nationals.
Nebraska’s other wrestler competing at nationals, heavyweight Collin Jensen, was eliminated when he lost his consolation match in Friday’s first session.
Iowa went 4-2 in the quarterfinals in Friday’s first session but was 1-3 in the semifinals.
Cory Clark is the Hawkeyes’ lone finalist at 133 pounds as he handed top-seeded Ohio State’s Nathan Tomasello his first loss of the season with a 7-4 decision.
But just before Clark’s upset, another Hawkeye fell victim to an upset.
Thomas Gilman’s national title hopes ended with a 4-2 sudden-victory loss to fourth-seeded Darian Cruz of Lehigh.
Gilman, who was a four-time Nebraska state champion at Omaha Skutt, and Cruz were scoreless through two periods. Cruz got a takedown, but Gilman forced extra time with an escape and a riding time point. But Cruz got another takedown in sudden-victory to hand Gilman his first loss of the season.
Iowa’s Brandon Sorensen at 149 pounds and Sammy Brooks at 184 also lost in the semifinal round. Both lost to Penn State wrestlers.
Penn State has five wrestlers in the finals, which take place Saturday night. Nolf and Zain Retherford (149) take unbeaten records into the finals.
Saturday’s first session will begin at 10 a.m. and will be televised on ESPNU and ESPN3. The finals will be on ESPN beginning at 7.