Panther Train takes down Badgers

COLIN HORNING, Sports Editor

Rounding out the regular season slate of matches for the UNI Panther wrestling team was a trip to Madison, Wis. for a match against the University of Wisconsin Badgers. Coming into the match ranked No. 17 in the nation, the Panther men would take down the 12th-ranked Badgers 20-18 in a back-and-forth affair.

Jay Schwarm got things going for the Panthers at 125 pounds. Schwarm quickly took down his opponent, Eric Barnett but was in turn reversed. After a swing in momentum, Schwarm pinned his man with 43 seconds left in the period.

In the 141 pound match, Northern Iowa’s Michael Blockhus won the 9-4 decision, with four takedowns and ride time to seal the win over No. 4 Tristan Moran of the Badgers.

UNI sophomore Triston Lara filled in for Max Thompson against No. 15 Cole Martin of Wisconsin. Lara would lead early on and throughout most of the match, but Martin escaped with the 10-8 win after two takedowns, cutting the Panther’s lead to 9-8.

Wisconsin would extend their lead to 15-9 the 167 pound matchup as No. 4 Evan Wick defeated Austin Yount 16-4. However, the Purple and Gold would bounce back in the next three matches.

UNI senior Bryce Steiert had three takedowns and earned a 9-1 major decision in his bout, cutting the Wisconsin lead to 15-13. He was followed by Taylor Lujan’s 12-2 major decision, which included a first-quarter takedown and four-point near fall, handing the Panther men a 17-15 lead with two more matches to go.

Northern Iowa senior Isaiah Patton’s match would be the difference, as his 3-2 win in the third tiebreaker period sealed the win for the Panthers. He entered the match with an 0-5 record on the year and 0-3 in duals, but overcame his struggles this season to take down Taylor Watkins of Wisconsin in perhaps the biggest victory of Patton’s career.

The victory gives UNI an 8-4 dual record for the season. They will next travel to Tulsa, Ok. for the Big 12 Championship from March 7-8.