TULSA, Okla. – Taylor Lujan and Bryce Steiert both controlled their Saturday evening session bouts to advance to the championship bouts at the Big 12 Championship.
Steiert picked up a third-period takedown to earn the 4-1 win over Oklahoma State’s Joe Smith. Lujan followed suit and after riding out Iowa State’s Marcus Coleman for the entire second period, scored a third-period escape and a takedown en route to the 4-0 shutout win.
Steiert will meet second-seeded Anthony Mantanona in the final and Lujan will wrestle South Dakota State’s Zach Carlson.
Steiert and Lujan along with two other Panthers, Carter Isley and Jack Skudlarczyk, have locked up spots in the NCAA field because of the strength of their weight classes. Isley (285) and Skudlarczyk (133) are secured a no-worse than sixth-place finish in their classes. Eight wrestlers will come from 133 and seven will make the NCAA field at 285.
Five other Panthers remain alive in the field. Jay Schwarm dropped his first bout 4-2 to Air Force’s Copy Phippen but battled back with a pair of pins to advance to the consolation semifinals where he will again wrestle Phippen.
Michael Blockhus advanced to the semifinal with a pair of wins but dropped his semifinal bout 4-0. He meets North Dakota State’s Dylan Droegemueller in the consolation semifinal.
Max Thomsen opened the tournament with a pin but fell to SDSU’s Henry Pohlmeyer in a 1-0 decision. He will face Northern Colorado’s Andrew Alirez in the consolation semifinal.
Paden Moore overcame his first loss to rattle off two wins and advance to the consolation semifinals. He picked up a pin over seventh-seeded Peyton Smith and an 11-7 decision over the No. 6 seed Alex Hornfeck. He faces Oklahoma’s Justin Thomas in the consolation semifinals.
Austin Yant advanced to the consolation quarterfinals but fell to Wyoming’s Cody Moody 6-3. He will wrestle Northern Colorado’s Jordan Robinson in the seventh-place bout.
UNI is currently in third place in the team scores with 90.5 points, 1.5 points behind Iowa State who sits in second place. Oklahoma State is first with 111.5 team points.
The action begins at 11 a.m. Sunday with the championship bouts taking place at 6 p.m.