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College Wrestling: UNI faces Missouri and Wisconsin this weekend

UNI battles reigning Big 12 champions on Friday and welcomes Badgers to town for Senior Day on Sunday.

CEDAR FALLS – UNI wrestling’s 100th regular season will come to a close this weekend as the Panthers host their final two duals of the year against No. 7 Missouri and Wisconsin inside the McLeod Center.

Friday’s dual against the Tigers will begin at 7 p.m. CT with fans encouraged to wear purple attire for a Purple Out. UNI students will also have the opportunity to win a $1,000 scholarship during a drawing during the meet. Click HERE for rules and eligibility to win. The Panthers will also honor their senior class prior to Sunday’s competition against the Badgers.

Both duals will be broadcast live on FloWrestling as well as CFU Channel 15, with live results available online through TrackWrestling. Tickets for both competitions can be purchased online at UNIpanthers.com/tickets, or by calling the ticket office directly at 319-273-4849.

Northern Iowa will look to close the regular season on a strong note ahead of the Big 12 Championships, set to be contested March 9-10 at the BOK Center in Tulsa. The Panthers split their previous two duals two weeks ago with a 36-9 rout at Cal Baptist and a 27-14 loss at No. 4 Iowa State. UNI is 21-16 all-time against the Tigers in search of its first win over Missouri since 2020, while the Panthers trail the Badgers 27-23-2, also looking for their first win against Wisconsin since 2020.

UNI PANTHERS
Top-ranked Parker Keckeisen (184 pounds) looks to stay unbeaten at 21-0, coming off a 21-6 technical fall win over Iowa State’s Tate Naaktgeboren two weeks ago in his 100th career match. The three-time All-American has won 33 consecutive regular season matches dating back to last year and has recorded bonus-point victories in 18 matches this season.

At 141 pounds, Cael Happel will attempt to get back on track after falling to No. 9 Anthony Echemendia (Iowa State) in his last outing. Currently ranked in the top-ten in multiple national rankings with wins in eight of his last nine appearances, Happel has notched six career wins against top-ten challengers, including four this season alone.

Julian Farber (133 pounds) has won seven of his last night matches, including a pair of major decisions and one technical fall, seeking to bounce back after a 19-4 technical fall loss to No. 5 Evan Frost. At 157 pounds, Ryder Downey is riding an eight-match winning streak featuring four ranked victories, including a thrilling 12-9 decision against No. 9 Cody Chittum.

PROJECTED PANTHER LINEUP | (NCAA) #Intermat/FloWrestling rankings listed:

125 | (25) #26/23 Trever Anderson (9-10)
133 | (18) #25/21 Julian Farber (15-7)
141 | (7) #6/8 Cael Happel (15-5)
149 | Adam Allard (5-7) OR Cael Rahnavardi (8-9)
157 | (9) #14/9 Ryder Downey (14-4)
165 | RJ Weston (21-7) OR Jack Thomsen (13-4)
174 | (29) #29/30 Jared Simma (11-6)
184 | (1) #1/1 Parker Keckeisen (21-0)
197 | (24) #24/21 Wyatt Voelker (13-4)
HWT | (19) #16/13 Tyrell Gordon (7-3)

MISSOURI TIGERS
UNI faces a big test to open its final weekend of duals, hosting the reigning Big 12 champion Tigers on Friday. Missouri, ranked seventh in the latest National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) poll, is looking to repeat as conference champions for the first time in its history and the first Big 12 team to do so since Oklahoma State won eight straight team titles from 2013-20. •

The Tigers return all five All-Americans from last season when they led all Big 12 teams with a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championships, including the defending national champion at 165 pounds in Keegan O’Toole. Mizzou’s other returning All-Americans include Brock Mauller (149), Peyton Mocco (174), Rocky Elam (197) and Zach Elam (HWT). The Tigers overall return seven of their ten NCAA qualifiers from 2023.

Missouri makes its last road trip of the season to face UNI and Iowa State this weekend after rolling past North Dakota State last weekend and narrowly escaping an upset at No. 11 South Dakota State. The Tigers are 6-1 in Big 12 duals this year with the only loss coming against thenNo. 3 Oklahoma State at home.

PROJECTED TIGER LINEUP | (NCAA) #Intermat/FloWrestling rankings listed:

125 | (7) #10/9 Noah Surtin (14-2)
133 | Drew Stanfield (9-3)
141 | (22) #24/24 Josh Edmond (10-6) OR Zeke Seltzer (7-8)
149 | Joel Mylin (12-5)
157 | (11) #11/12 Brock Mauller (12-3) OR James Conway (20-7)
165 | (1) #1/1 Keegan O’Toole (16-0) OR Jeremy Jakowitsch (7-8)
174 | (10) #10/11 Peyton Mocco (10-3) OR Ellis Pfleger (15-5)
184 | (13) #14/12 Clayton Whiting (10-3) OR Colton Hawks (12-4)
197 | (8) #10/8 Rocky Elam (9-2) OR Jesse Cassatt (9-7)
HWT | (4) #5/5 Zach Elam (20-0) OR Jarrett Stoner (19-11)

WISCONSIN BADGERS

UNI’s senior day dual will feature the Panthers against Wisconsin, looking to snap a two-dual skid against the badgers.

Wisconsin tied with Northern Iowa for 16th place in the team standings at last year’s NCAA Championships in Tulsa, returning one All-American in Dean Hamiti, who played sixth on the national stage at 165 pounds.

The Badgers return five of their eight NCAA qualifiers from 2023 and placed eighth at last season’s Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor with six competitors from that tournament returning, including the reigning Big Ten champi- on at 141 pounds in Joseph Zargo.

February has been an up-and-down month for Wisconsin who escaped with three narrow dual wins over Northwestern, Purdue and Illinois before suffering tough losses last time out at Minnesota and Iowa.

PROJECTED BADGER LINEUP | (NCAA) #Intermat/FloWrestling rankings listed:

125 | (3) #6/4 Eric Barnett (21-4)
133 | Nicolar Rivera (12-9)
141 | Flex Lettini (3-15)
149 | (14) #16/15 Joseph Zargo (17-6) OR Julian George (1-3)
157 | Luke Mechler (6-15)
165 | (4) #5/5 Dean Hamiti (23-1)
174 | (12) #12/14 Max Maylor (15-4) OR Cale Anderson (5-5)
184 | (16) #17/17 Shane Liegel (18-8) OR Luke Condon (9-2)
197 | Josh Otto (1-11)
HWT | Gannon Rosenfeld (3-13)

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