Panthers climb past Mountaineers, 20-12



The 14th-ranked UNI wrestling team stayed hot on Sunday, defeating West Virginia 20-12 to move to 7-3 on the season.

DREW HILL, Opinion Columnist

The 14th-ranked UNI wrestling team traveled to Morgantown, W.Va, to face the West Virginia Mountaineers on Sunday, Feb. 5. In a back-and-forth dual, the Panthers held on for a 20-12 victory.

UNI came into this dual having won two duals in a row and three of their last four, knocking off Utah Valley, Oklahoma and Cal Baptist. The only loss in that stretch was a narrow 19-17 defeat against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, who are currently ranked seventh in the country. UNI’s last win against Cal Baptist was a 44-0 shutout of the Lancers. UNI’s overall record was 6-3, and they were 4-2 in Big 12 competition. West Virginia came in 7-4 overall, but having lost three in a row. UNI is ranked 14 in the NWCA Coaches’ Poll, and West Virginia was the highest vote-getter to not be ranked in the top 25.

Kyle Gollhofer was the first wrestler to take the mat for the Panthers in the match for the 125-pound class. He ultimately fell 11-7 in a hard-fought decision that gave the Mountaineers a 3-0 lead. Kyle Biscoglia helped the Panthers bounce back in the 133-pound match by winning an 8-4 decision to tie the score 3-3. This gave Biscoglia his 17th victory of the season, which leads UNI.

Cael Happel gave UNI their first lead of the day, dominating his opponent en route to a 13-4 major decision in the 141-pound bout. This gave UNI a 7-3 lead. Colin Realbuto was next up for UNI in the 149-pound class. In a bout that went back-and-forth, Realbuto eventually outlasted his opponent for a 10-7 decision win that extended the Panther lead to 10-3.

The Mountaineers fought back to within one in the next two matches. Derek Holschlag lost in a sudden victory decision 3-1 in the 157-pound class. Austin Yant faced off against reigning Big 12 runner-up Peyton Hall in the 165-pound bout. He ultimately fell 5-2 in a tough fought decision.

This made the score 10-9 going into the 174-pound match. Lance Runyon helped the Panthers respond with an 8-1 decision, narrowly missing a major decision victory and the bonus point that comes with it by one point. This lengthened UNI’s lead back to four at 13-9. Parker Keckeisen dominated in the 184-pound class on his way to his 10th dual victory of the season in a 14-4 major decision victory to give UNI a 17-9 lead.

In the 197-pound match, Kalob Runyan, Lance Runyan’s younger brother, made his first dual start. He made it count, winning in a 9-2 decision to give the Panthers their biggest lead of the dual at 20-9. In the 285-pound match, Tyrell Gordon ultimately fell in a 7-4 decision. The final score of the dual was 20-12.

With the win, UNI improves to 7-3 overall and 5-2 in Big 12 matches. The win gave UNI a 7-0 lead in the all-time series between the two teams. Coach Doug Schwab improved to 4-0 against the Mountaineers. Schwab said after the match, “It’s all about the response, and we responded well after last weekend.”

The Panthers return to the McLeod Center on Friday, Feb. 10, to face the third-ranked Iowa State Cyclones and conclude Big 12 regular season competition. This will be a massive dual between the two rivals. Combined, the two teams have six wins over top-25 ranked opponents, including three top-10 wins, and all five of their combined losses come to teams in the top 11. UNI’s regular season finale is set for Saturday, Feb. 18, against the Wisconsin Badgers, currently ranked No. 18, in Madison, Wis.