By Mo Nuwwarah, Opinion Editor
UNO’s wrestlers traveled north and passed their first road test of the duals season, beating No. 8 Minnesota State 22-12 Friday night in Mankato, Minn.
Top-ranked UNO improved to 8-1 in duals this season as they dropped the purple-clad Mavericks to 8-4.
“It’s tough to come up here and win,” UNO head coach Mike Denney said. “But the guys performed well.”
At 125 pounds, fourth-ranked Andy Forstner got MSU off to a fast start as he dropped Cody Tyler with a first-round double-leg takedown. Forstner worked for a pin, finally getting it at 2:40 in the first period.
Trent Cox got UNO on the board against David Demo at 133 pounds. Cox used three takedowns and riding time to tally a 7-2 win.
Omaha Skutt graduate Tim Chavez stepped in for a sick Mario Morgan at 141 pounds. The sophomore trailed for most of his scramble-filled battle with Robby Fisher, until a late escape and takedown gave him an 8-6 lead. However, Chavez, thinking he needed more points to win, allowed Fisher to escape so he could attempt another takedown. Fisher then earned a takedown of his own and sealed the match with his riding time point.
“He just lost track of the score,” Denney said.
No. 1 Esai Dominguez began UNO’s charge with a 14-6 major decision over Jesse Westphal at 149 pounds. Dominguez secured six takedowns in the win.
George Ivanov, also ranked first, followed up with a 3-1 win over Tel Todd at 157 pounds. A second-round takedown gave Ivanov the decisive points.
At 165 pounds, Nathan Sigman got his up-and-down season going in the right direction with a win over Brendan Eichmann. With the match tied 2-2 going into the third period, Sigman took the lead with an escape. The junior from Alcester, S.D., wasted no time shooting for a takedown, which he completed. He hung on to win 5-3.
“It’s really been a struggle to get that ‘W’ under my belt,” said Sigman, who improved to 19-20.
No. 3 Ryan Pankoke delivered UNO’s fourth straight win of the dual, taking a 10-4 decision against No. 6 Ben Becker at 174 pounds. Pankoke’s win, which improved his record to 31-2, gave UNO a 16-9 lead.
At 184 pounds, two-ranked Aarons engaged in a dramatic battle. After a scoreless first period, third-ranked Aaron Denson of UNO escaped seventh-ranked Aaron Norgren of MSU to open the scoring. Norgren notched an escape of his own to start the third, and each wrestler looked for a decisive takedown. Norgren closed in, cinched a body lock and slammed Denson to the mat with seven seconds left to pull the upset, 3-1.
No. 4 Matt Baker faced No. 7 Pat Mahan of MSU at 197. Neither wrestler did much in a first period in which both picked up warnings for stalling. After each scored an escape, the two went to sudden sudden-victory overtime, which didn’t result in any points. Baker kept control of Mahan through the second overtime, then scored an escape in the third, holding on for a 2-1 win that sealed the dual.
In the 285-pound match, UNO’s Taylor Escamilla, ranked seventh, used a third-round reversal to get a 3-1 win over Nate Haynes. The junior from Fremont now stands at 27-11 on the season.
UNO’s next action will be hosting the MIAA Duals on Sunday, Feb. 13.