IU took two wrestlers to the 2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships at Madison Square Garden and brought home an All-American and a fifth-place finish.
Junior Nate Jackson worked his way to his first All-American berth as well as a fifth place finish in his second trip to the championships.
Through the first two days, Jackson was 3-1 with three major decision victories. One of those major decision victories brought Jackson redemption from a match earlier in the season.
Jackson lost to Illinois’ Zach Brunson 8-4 earlier in the season. He completed a perfect first day when he beat Brunson 10-1.
Day three brought the opportunity for Jackson to finish third in the wide-open 174-pound weight class.
Despite dropping his first match on day three, Jackson rebounded well, dominating the fifth-place match.
Jackson was down 2-0 early in the fifth-place bout but went on a five-point run to take the match 5-2.
Jackson showed his dominance in the third period when he added two minutes of riding time, which earned him a bonus point.
“I was just wrestling hard,” Jackson said. “My top game is not the best, but I know that I can hold him down, and I think I broke him a little toward the end.”
Jackson’s season ended with a fourth-place finish at Big Tens, a fifth-place finish at nationals, an All-American and a 35-9 overall record.
Freshman Elijah Oliver placed fifth at the Big Ten Championships, locking himself into the NCAA Championships where he would go 1-2 before his season came to a close.
Oliver opened the championships strong. He defeated Rutgers’ Sean McCabe 8-2 after beating him 8-6 at the Big Tens.
Oliver’s road did not get any easier. He dropped a match 11-2 against No. 1 Nathan Tomasello in the second round.
Despite the loss, Oliver advanced to day two in the consolation bracket. Oliver’s freshman campaign ended when he lost in his first consolation match to unseeded Alfredo Rodriguez, 18-9.
Oliver finished his season with a 32-10 record, and five of his losses came against wrestlers ranked in the top five nationally. He was also the first freshman to reach nationals for the Hoosiers since 2008.
Both Oliver and Jackson will be back, and they will be putting in the work to perform at a high level next season. Jackson said he’s sure to be working with Oliver in the meantime.
“It’s all about putting that work in, and I know he’ll be with me this offseason putting in the work,” he said.