UNI wrestlers edge North Carolina on criteria

Alber, Lujan score bonus points to help lift Panthers

CEDAR FALLS — Northern Iowa Coach Doug Schwab was in the middle of processing a loss when he received word that criteria fell in the Panthers’ favor.

Instead of being thrilled for the victory to propel them into the holiday break, the eighth-year head coach was unsatisfied UNI had to eke out a win.

Despite a late unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that cost UNI a team point that resulted in a tie after the final bout, the 15th-ranked Panthers edged North Carolina, 17-16, receiving a tiebreaker point, Monday night at the West Gym. UNI won the third criteria with a 55-42 edge in total match points.

“I guess we did win the meet. It shouldn’t have come to that,” Schwab said. “A lot of hard-fought matches. I’ll give North Carolina credit. They wrestled really hard.”

North Carolina (1-3) closed with decisions at 197 pounds and heavyweight, splitting the 10 matches and knotting the score 16-16. UNI could have won outright, but the Panthers lost a team point at the conclusion of the 184-pound match.

All-American and 13th-ranked Drew Foster beat Chip Ness for a second time this season, putting the Panthers ahead, 17-10, with two matches remaining. At the end of the bout, Ness got a little chippy with Foster as time expired. Foster joined him at the center of the mat, leaned in toward Ness’ ear and pointed at the scoreboard before that showed the 5-3 final. The official deducted the team point, setting up the late dramatics.

Schwab said Foster had apologized to the team before the dual was completed.

“I’m kind of all over the place because I’m still pissed off at my athlete, which I should be,” Schwab told media after the dual. “You don’t need to do those type of things. That’s not how we want to represent the program.

“Just go whip somebody’s tail and go back.”

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The Panthers had just taken control of the meet, winning three straight matches after the midway intermission. Isaiah Patton dropped Clay Lautt, 6-1, to tie the meet at 10 apiece.

Taylor Lujan gave the Panthers the lead with their second major decision. He dropped Adis Radoncic, 10-2, amassing 1:09 of riding time for an extra point and a 14-10 UNI edge.

“I got the bonus points for the team,” Lujan said. “At the end it made a little bit of a difference.”

Lujan cinched up a cradle, getting a crucial takedown and then turned Radoncic for four nearfall at the end of the second, building a 9-0 lead.

“He got in on my right leg and I crunched him down,” Lujan said. “I got a body cradle and knocked him to his hip. I used my leg he was wrapped around to crunch his head.”

Josh Alber notched UNI’s first major at 141, giving UNI a 7-3 lead after three matches. Alber scored five takedowns for a 12-4 decision over Jaime Hernandez. Alber shot with six seconds left, earning the takedown with three remaining. He finished with 1:02 of riding time, making the timing of the final score crucial.

“If we want to win anything,” Schwab said, “If we want to win duals (or) tournaments, we have to have bonus points. We have to have guys that are scoring.

“Alber got that last takedown in short time left to get that. Lujan, I would have liked to have seen him pin him. I would have felt better about that and get off the mat and six points, but being able to get bonus points is the difference in the meet tonight.”

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In a battle of ranked opponents, North Carolina’s fourth-ranked Troy Heilmann edged No. 6 Max Thomsen, 3-2, at 149. It was Heilmann’s second win over Thomsen this month. Heilmann’s third-period takedown and his defense that prevented Thomsen from finishing multiple attacks was the difference.

“At least Max was giving himself opportunities,” Schwab said. “That’s the big thing. I’m not that concerned with where we’re at. I want to see progress. I’ve seen progress.”

Jay Schwarm opened the dual with a 5-0 win for UNI, which improved to 2-1 overall.

AT CEDAR FALLS

UNI 17*, North Carolina 16

(Individual takedown in parentheses)

125 pounds — Jay Schwarm (UNI) dec. James Szymanski, 5-0 (2,0); 133 — Zach Sherman (UNC) dec. Rudy Yates, 6-3 (2,0); 141 — Josh Alber (UNI) major dec. Jaime Hernandez, 12-4 (5,0); 149 — Troy Heilmann (UNC) dec. Max Thomsen, 3-2 (1,0); 157 — Kennedy Monday (UNC) major dec. Logan Ryan, 13-5 (4,1); 165 — Isaiah Patton (UNI) dec. Clay Lautt, 6-1 (2,0); 174 — Taylor Lujan (UNI) major dec. Adis Radoncic, 10-2 (2,1); 184 — Drew Foster (UNI) dec. Chip Ness, 5-3 (1,0); 197 — Danny Chaid (UNC) dec. Jacob Holschlag, 5-3 (1,0); Hwt. — Cory Daniel (UNC) dec. Carter Isley, 5-4 (1,1).

MEET STATISTICS

Takedowns — UNI 14, UNC 10. Reversals — UNI 0, UNC 2. Escapes — UNI 18, UNC 12. Nearfall points — UNI 4, UNC 2. Penalty points (awarded) — UNI 1, UNC 1. Riding-time points — UNI 4, UNC 3. Total match points — UNI 55, UNC 42. Attendance — 1,703.

* — UNI received a point for winning third tiebreaker criteria, which is most match points.

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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