UNI Panthers

UNI trio advance to second round at NCAA wrestling

Thomsen, Lujan, Foster earn first-round victories

Northern Iowa's Max Thomsen grabs the leg of Fresno State's Khristian Olivas in a 149 pound match during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio on Thursday, March 15, 2018. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Northern Iowa's Max Thomsen grabs the leg of Fresno State's Khristian Olivas in a 149 pound match during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio on Thursday, March 15, 2018. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

CLEVELAND — Northern Iowa advanced three to the second round and Iowa State won its lone match during Thursday’s opening session of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.

Max Thomsen, Taylor Lujan and Drew Foster claimed first-round wins and moved on along with the Cyclones' Jarrett Degen. They will compete for a spot in Friday’s quarterfinals on Thursday evening. UNI finished 3-3 overall and was 26th, a performance head coach Doug Schwab called “a little flat” after the round.

“It’s not how you drew it up that’s for sure,” Schwab said.

The Panthers rode a roller coaster of emotion. Jay Schwarm opened with a 3-0 lead before falling by pin to Michigan’s Drew Mattin at 125. Josh Alber was bit by an underdog, losing a decision to Eastern Michigan’s Sa’derian Perry, who improved to 16-16.

The Panthers’ top trio righted the ship with three consecutive pins. Thomsen (26-7) downed Fresno State’s Khristian Olivas, 13-5, at 149. Seventh-seeded Lujan (174) posted a 5-3 victory over Virginia’s Will Schany. Foster, a returning All-American as is Thomsen, beat Arizona State’s Kordell Norfleet, 6-1, at 184. Lujan improved to 29-5 and Foster is 26-4.

Schwab said Alber pressed after giving up the first takedown, which the three winners did not.

“Max did a good job,” Schwab said. “He got behind but there was no panic. He was like I’m going to win the next position and thought he did a really good job.

Schwab added, “Guys make adjustments from match to match. Even Drew’s match. A guy’s going to try to do everything he can to keep it as close as possible as long as possible, so we have to figure how to open a guy up.”

Missouri’s sixth-seeded Willie Miklus defeated UNI’s Jacob Holschlag, 7-3, at 197. Miklus, a former Southeast Polk state champion, was the only former Iowa prep for an out-of-state program to win in the first session.

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“Got to get better as it goes,” Schwab said. “We’ll see what some of these guys have inside of them. Guys can come back and get third. You want to be a true ironman, a true gritty and tough competitor? Lose first round and come back all the way through. That’s what you have to have those three guys thinking about doing.”

Degen (21-9) posted a 9-5 decision over Nebraska’s 13th-seeded Colton McCrystal, who was a Sergeant Bluff-Luton prep. Degen will face North Carolina’s fourth-seeded Troy Heilmann next.

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

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