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UNI wrestling takes 20th at NCAAs

DETROIT, Mich. – Parker Keckesien knocked off last year’s runner-up and silver medalist at the U.S. Senior Nationals and avenged a loss to take third and his second All-America honor at the Division I NCAA Championships.

The team finished 20th with 28.5 points, the sixth top-20 showing since Doug Schwab took over as head coach.

“I love to scrap,” said Keckeisen. “That was a fun match – that third place and the semi consis. I love the deep waters. (My teammates) Me, Taylor Lujan, Drew Foster, Noah Glaser, Austin Yant, Lance Runyon, Jared Simma, they take me to deep waters. We love that at UNI. Deep waters are fun. That’s how I enjoy it.”

Keckeisen opened the day taking down Trent Hidlay of NC State in a tiebreaker. He opened with a takedown, but Hidlay escaped, making the score 2-1 after the first period. Keckeisen escaped off the whistle, but Hidlay tied up the score 3-3 to start the third period. Hidlay took his first lead with third-period escape, and Keckeisen countered with a takedown for the one-point lead, but he would only hang on for eight seconds before Hidlay escaped to even the score, 5-5, at the end of regulation. A scoreless sudden victory round took the match into tiebreakers, where Keckeisen got the reversal for the win.

“It was good to get that win for my brain and believe I am the best guy in that weight class,” said Keckeisen.

Hidlay finished second at the 2021 U.S. Senior Nationals at 86 kg. and was second at the 2021 Division I NCAA Championships.

Keckeisen faced No. 5 seed Bernie Truax of Cal Poly in the bronze medal match. Truax bumped Keckeisens to the consolations in the quarterfinal match with a 6-5 decision.

The medal round started in the same way with Truax getting the first score and taking a 2-1 lead after the first period before Keckeisen got his offense going with an escape off the second-period whistle and getting the go-ahead takedown to lead 4-2 before Truax would get an escape to end the period, 4-3. Truax escaped just nine seconds into the third to even the score, but with 24 seconds left, Keckeisen sealed the win with a final takedown.

“It was bittersweet. Got redemption there,” said Keckeisen. “Every time I step on the mat, I need to wrestle like it’s my last, and I didn’t wrestle like it was my last. Taking that mindset and having it for today.”

Keckeisen’s second All-America honor keeps UNI’s streak alive. The Panthers have the 14th longest active streak in Division I for having at least one All-American in the last five contested championships. The last time UNI didn’t have a Panther on the podium was in 2016. The championship was canceled in 2020.

Keckeisen is the 35th Panther to earn two more Division I All-America honors at a contested NCAA championship.

UNI has had an All-American at 184 pounds in four of the last five contested NCAA Championships. Taylor Lujan was the top seed at the canceled 2020 tournament. Panthers at 184 pounds under head coach Schwab:
2022: Keckeisen (third)
2021: Keckeisen (third)
2020: Lujan (No. 1 seed)
2019: Drew Foster (champion)
2017: Foster (seventh)
2013: Ryan Loder (seventh)
RESULTS (seed) #NCAA rank

184 | (4) #4 Parker Keckeisen – 3RD PLACE
W – (29) Chris Weiler (Wisconsin) 13-4 MD
W – (13) Kyle Cochran (Maryland) 9-3
L – (5) Bernie Truax (Cal Poly) 6-5
W – (10) Taylor Venz (Nebraska) 7-5
W – (1W – (3) Trent Hidlay (NC State) 7-5 TB1
W – (5) Bernie Truax (Cal Poly) 6-41) Jonathan Loew (Cornell) 7-6
TEAM SCORES (before championships)

1. Penn State 111.5
2. Michigan 91
3. Iowa 74
4. Arizona State 66.5
5. Nebraska 59.5
6. Northwestern 53.5
7. Virginia Tech 52.5
8. Cornell 50.5
9. NC State 49
10. Missouri 45.5
T20. UNI 28.5
T20. Rutgers 28.5

Schwab took over the UNI wrestling program in the 2011 season. The highest finish for the Panthers under his helm was in 2019 with a 13th-place finish and six qualifiers.

The Panthers are on a four-tournament streak of having at least one All-American. It’s the 14th-longest streak in the nation.

The Panthers qualified eight wrestlers, the most since UNI sent nine in 2008. UNI head coach Doug Schwab has taken seven qualifiers from 2020, 2017 and 2014.

Schwab at NCAAs:
2011: T41st – 4 qualifiers / 1 All-American
2012: 34th – 5 qualifiers / 0 All-Americans
2013: T15th – 4 qualifiers / 2 All-Americans
2014: 15th – 7 qualifiers / 3 All-American
2015: 34th – 4 qualifiers / 0 All-Americans
2016: 25th – 5 qualifiers / 1 All-American
2017: 18th – 7 qualifiers / 2 All-Americans
2018: T24th – 6 qualifiers / 1 All-American
2019: T13 – 6 qualifiers / 1 All-American
2020: N/A – 7 qualifiers / 5 All-Americans *
2021: 19th – 6 qualifiers / 1 All-American
2022: T20th – 8 qualifiers / 1 All-American
* no tournament / seeded wrestlers earned All-America titles

Team scores under Schwab:
2022: 28.5 – T20th
2021: 24.5 – 19th
2019: 40.5 points – 14th
2018: 20 points – T24th
2017: 25.5 points – 18th
2016: 17.5 points – T25th
2015: 9 points – 34th
2014: 40 points – 15th
2013: 34 points – T15th
2012: 12 points – 34th
2011: 5.5 points – 46th

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