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Panthers finish number one in MAC

ZACH HUNTLEY, Sports Writer

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The Panther wrestling team was relentless this weekend as they took on the University of Buffalo on Friday night and the University of Missouri Sunday afternoon. They clinched a 22-16 victory at home over the Bulls and UNI finished No. 1 in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) after knocking-off the Mizzou with a strong 25-10 victory.

This Friday was the UNI wrestler’s senior night and the only Panther to compete of the five seniors recognized was Dylan Peters in the 125 lb bout. Making his last duel at home count, Peters notched a 19-3 victory against the Bulls, winning by a tech fall in 5:54 after claiming an additional five takedowns to start off the evening.

After barely falling in two very close bouts of 3-4 and 2-4 and accruing a 5-6 team score, Max Thomsen brought the heat to take a 6-0 victory over Buffalo from the 149 lb weight class.

Thomsen earned a takedown early on and fought hard to resist an escape from his opponent in the first period. Holding him again for the entire second period, Thomsen went into the third with 3:34 of riding time. A powerful reversal and four minutes of riding time brought the team score up to 8-6 after his victory.

Back after intermission was Bryce Steiert. Taking a 7-3 victory from 165 lbs, Steiert’s decision kept UNI one step ahead of the Bulls with an 11-10 team total.

Getting the crowd to their feet was Panther Taylor Lujan as he notched a total of 10 takedowns against Buffalo — only allowing his opponent points for escapes throughout the match. Lujan’s 23-8 victory added five team points and got the momentum rolling for the rest of the meet.

Drew Foster added another win from the 184 lb bout, defeating the Bulls in a 6-2 decision after struggling to keep his opponent in bounds and missing multiple takedown attempts.

Closing out the night with another exciting victory was Jacob Holschlag who started back 1-2 in the first period. He  fought extremely hard to resist a reversal in the second period while turning back the riding time clock and securing 3-2 lead after notching a takedown with :17 left. Third period, an escape set the scoreboard at 4-2, where Holschlag again held his ground, resisting a takedown with everything he had.

“I don’t have any insecurities,” said Head Coach Doug Schwab as he looked ahead to the MAC Championship. “I feel like our guys are extremely prepared, I know what my guys have done throughout the season, so now it’s about putting the fine edge on them and that’s what we’re going to do here in the next three weeks.”

In Missouri on Sunday, the Panthers swept seven of the 10 bouts. UNI victors were: Jared Bartel, Jay Schwarm, Josh Alber, Max Thomsen, Bryce Steiert, Taylor Lujan and Drew Foster.

Three Panthers notched victories over higher-ranking NCAA competitors: Schwarm’s 5-1 decision over No. 20 Barlow McGhee, Thomsen’s 9-2 decision over Missouri’s Lavion Mayes at No. 3 and Steiert’s fall over No. 5 Daniel Lewis in 2:23.

The Panther wrestlers will bring it all to the mat in the McLeod Center March 3 and 4 as they host the MAC Championships at home this season.

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Panthers finish number one in MAC