UNI Panthers

Josh Alber, Taylor Lujan power UNI wrestling past Iowa State

Alber wins top-10 battle, Lujan adds pin in 22-13 win and third straight over Cyclones

CEDAR FALLS — One of the reasons Josh Alber attended Northern Iowa was the home-dual atmosphere.

The aged, hot and intimate environment of the West Gym can be a powder keg of sorts with the right spark. Alber provided one of those in his home finale in front of a raucous sellout crowd of 2,100.

The seventh-ranked 141-pound senior scored a takedown with two seconds left for a 3-1 victory over No. 10 Ian Parker, helping 17th-ranked UNI upend No. 11 Iowa State, 22-13, Thursday night at home. The Panthers won six bouts, defeated the Cyclones for the third straight time for the first time since 1952 and claimed sole possession of second place in the Big 12 Conference dual standings.

“It’s pretty cool that this is probably the best crowd I’ve seen (and) it’s my last dual,” Alber said. “It was just a great way to send me out.

“It was definitely part of why I came here. The little high school gym that gets crazy and you have high-caliber Division-I wrestling going on. It’s a mix of ingredients that there is nowhere else to wrestle like this place.”

Alber and Parker was the lone top-10 matchup and one of three with two ranked wrestlers. They exchanged escapes with Parker taking a 1-0 lead in the second. Alber answered early in the third to tie it. As time ticked down, Alber drop-stepped on the edge and hit a double as Parker moved closer, scoring right before the whistle.

“I just had to do my thing and kind of grind him down,” said Alber, praising Parker’s toughness. “I don’t know if I caught him overzealous or I just really committed to attack and it ended up working out. Just being patient and wearing him down, I think.”


UNI Coach Doug Schwab has become accustomed to seeing Alber dig deep this season. He was impressed with the way he finished the decisive move, especially a stingy Parker. He has improved that area in practice.

“That was a gritty, gritty, tough finish,” Schwab said. “He was able to do it and secure the points.”

Alber’s victory paired with a key victory to open the dual where No. 24 Jay Schwarm posted a 6-3 decision over Alex Mackall.

Schwab said it may have been a swing match on paper. He liked the way Schwarm scored early and rode Mackall hard.

“It set the tone well for us and got people excited,” Schwab said. “Good win. Good one for him. He’s been putting a good run together.”

UNI All-American and 13th-ranked Max Thomsen followed with another crucial victory at 149. He tallied a first-period takedown and two nearfall and added a second-period takedown for a 7-5 decision over No. 8 Jarrett Degen.

The Panthers held a 9-8 advantage at the midway point, following former Independence prep Chase Straw’s decision for Iowa State at 157.

UNI pulled away with consecutive victories after intermission. Bryce Steiert (165) scored 14 points in the final two periods for a 16-1 technical fall over Logan Schumacher at 165.


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Sixth-ranked Taylor Lujan packed a huge punch for the Panthers. Lujan broke open a close match in the third and then countered a takedown attempt with a cradle, decking Marcus Coleman in 6:39 at 174.

“He took a little sloppy shot on my good leg to cradle, too,” Lujan said. “It just happened.”

Lujan overcame a slow start and used a reversal and turk for six points and 11-4 edge, adding the late takedown and pin. Bonus points was the weeklong goal. Lujan said he told UNI assistant coach Lee Roper he would win by fall.

“You’re always looking for bonus points but there’s a fine line between looking for the pin and looking for a scrap,” Lujan said. “I think I focused on that all week.

“I wanted to send the seniors out the right way with an exclamation point. Get the win against Iowa State.”

UNI (7-5, 7-1) closed with Carter Isley’s 2-0 victory over Gannon Gremmel at heavyweight. Isley rebounded from being ridden the entire second by riding out Gremmel in the third. Isley finished a high-crotch just 18 seconds into sudden victory, erupting the crowd one more time.

“Isley’s match was nuts,” Alber said. “The way he won took so much heart to get ridden and then get your mind right to go ride a guy that was unreal. It took a ton of work.”

Iowa State (10-3, 6-2) received a technical fall from Austin Gomez at 133 and a 5-0 decision from fifth-ranked 197-pounder Willie Miklus.


Sam Colbray, ranked 14th, scored three takedowns and defeated seventh-ranked All-American Drew Foster, 8-5, at 184. Iowa State Coach Kevin Dresser said younger wrestlers could learn from the way Colbray closed out a win against a quality opponent.

“I think you saw at 184, we’re starting to figure out how to finish matches,” Dresser said. “You beat the good guys in the last two minutes.”

Dresser credited a UNI and said the Panthers are tougher now that they are healthy.

“They are a much different team than they were the first semester,” Dresser said. “We knew we were going to be in for a tough go.

“Good team we lost to. We made it a little too easy in a couple places for them. That’s how it goes. I think you wrestle it over it might be different but tonight was their night.”


UNI 22*, Iowa State 13*

(Individual takedowns in parentheses)

125 pounds — Jay Schwarm (UNI) dec. Alex Mackall, 6-3 (1,1); 133 — Austin Gomez (ISU) tech. fall Jack Skudlarczyk, 21-4 (6,0); 141 — Josh Alber (UNI) dec. Ian Parker, 3-1 (1,0); 149 — Max Thomsen (UNI) dec. Jarrett Degen, 7-5 (2,1); 157 — Chase Straw (ISU) dec. Paden Moore 9-4 (3,0); 165 — Bryce Steiert (UNI) tech. fall Logan Schumacher, 16-1 (3,0); 174 — Taylor Lujan (UNI) pinned Marcus Coleman, 6:39 (3,1); 184 — Sam Colbray (ISU) dec. Drew Foster, 8-5 (3,1); 197 — Willie Miklus (ISU) dec. Tyrell Gordon, 5-0 (1,0); Hwt. — Carter Isley (UNI) dec. Gannon Gremmel, 2-0 (1,0)

*-Both teams were deducted a team point during the 197-pound match for failure to maintain mat control.


Takedowns — UNI 12, ISU 16. Reversals — UNI 2, ISU 0. Escapes — UNI 15, ISU 14. Nearfall points — UNI 14, ISU 8. Penalty points (awarded) — UNI 1, ISU 2. Riding-time points — UNI 2, ISU 2. Total match points — UNI 60, ISU 58. Attendance — 2,100.

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

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