Lizak leads Gopher effort at Harold Nichols Open

Groundhog’s Day came in November for Ethan Lizak on Sunday at the Harold Nichols Open in Ames, Iowa, as he wrestled through a tournament strikingly similar to one in which he competed just one week earlier.

Just as he did at the Daktronics Open in South Dakota last weekend, Lizak provided the best finish for the Minnesota contingent. Also like last weekend, Lizak marched to the championship bout with a series of lopsided victories before running into Tim Lambert of Nebraska in the finals. Unfortunately for Lizak, the similarities ended there, as Lambert bested him in a 4-3 decision to claim the 125-pound title, leveling the season series between the two at one match apiece.

In addition to Lizak, four other Gophers would have wrestled for podium finishes if a full allotment of eight placewinner spots were decided on the mat (the tournament only wrestled placewinner matches for the top six positions). This quartet included: Hunter Marko (149 pounds), Larry Early III (165), Dalton Lunde (184) and Will Balow (197). Three of those four went 3-2 on the day, while Lunde split his four matches and finished 2-2.

Marko and Early followed similar routes, winning their first two matches before falling in the quarterfinals and then picking up a third victory in the Round of 12 wrestlebacks before being eliminated. In Marko’s case, those first two wins came in impressive fashion — both major decisions with no takedowns allowed.

Balow took a more daunting route to his three wins, dropping his opening match before rattling off three straight in wrestlebacks prior to being eliminated. Meanwhile, Lunde’s 2-2 run was mostly feast or famine. Save for a 5-2 loss in the quarterfinals, all of Lunde’s matches ended with pins — two in his favor, and one that went against him.

Harold Nichols Open Results

Match-by-match results are listed below for all 11 Gophers who competed in Ames on Sunday.

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Match-by-Match Results


No. 10 Ethan Lizak (4-1, 2nd Place)
Champ Rnd 1: Bye
Champ Rnd 2: No. 10 Ethan Lizak tech fall Joseph Sibomana (Iowa Central), 19-3
Champ Rnd 3: No. 10 Ethan Lizak fall (1:24) Kahlen Morris (South Dakota State)
Quarters: No. 10 Ethan Lizak dec Markus Simmons (Iowa State), 4-0
Semis: No. 10 Ethan Lizak tech fall Danny Vega (Iowa State), 17-0
Finals: No. 11 Tim Lambert dec No. 10 Ethan Lizak, 4-3


Gresh Jones (1-2)
Champ Rnd 1: Bye
Champ Rnd 2: Brian Peska (Nebraska) dec Gresh Jones, 3-1
Cons Rnd 2: Gresh Jones fall (0:57) Justin Skerce (Pratt)
Cons Rnd 3: Trevor Murano (Grand View) dec Gresh Jones, 7-6


Hunter Marko (3-2)
Champ Rnd 1: Hunter Marko maj dec Josh Adams (Ellsworth), 11-2
Champ Rnd 2: Hunter Marko maj dec Walker Johnson (Nebraska-Kearney), 12-1
Quarters: Walker Marshall (Grand View) dec Hunter Marko, 10-5
Round of 12: Hunter Marko dec Ben Brancale, 7-4
Cons Quarters: Grant LaMont (Utah Valley) dec Hunter Marko, 9-2

Ben Brancale (2-2)
Champ Rnd 1: Bye
Champ Rnd 2: Corey Wilding (Navy) dec Ben Brancale, 6-2
Cons Rnd 2: Ben Brancale fall (1:02) Keenan Cook (Iowa Central)
Cons Rnd 3: Ben Brancale fall (6:57) Caleb Licking (Nebraska)
Round of 12: Hunter Marko dec Ben Brancale, 7-4

James Berg (1-2)
Champ Rnd 1: Bye
Champ Rnd 2: Zander Wick (Wisconsin) dec James Berg, 9-3
Cons Rnd 2: James Berg fall (2:59) Peterson Aulibrice (Ellsworth)
Cons Rnd 3: Blayne Briceno (Iowa State) maj dec James Berg, 14-5


Larry Early III (3-2)
Champ Rnd 1: Larry Early III dec Corey Sornson (Nebraska), 7-4
Champ Rnd 2: Larry Early III dec Jose Rodriguez (Iowa Central), 9-4
Quarters: Jacob Covaciu (Wisconsin) dec Larry Early III, 3-2
Round of 12: Larry Early III tech fall Jonah Egli (Iowa Central), 21-6
Cons Quarters: Jaquon Sowell (Nebraska) dec Larry Early III, 3-2


Jordon Rothers (1-0)
Champ Rnd 1: Bye
Champ Rnd 2: Jordon Rothers tech fall Brian Stanford (Iowa Central), 17-0
Quarters: Lelund Weatherspoon med. for. Jordon Rothers
Round of 12: Isaac Luellen (Nebraska-Kearney) med. for. Jordon Rothers

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Faris Karaborni (0-2)
Champ Rnd 1: Bye
Champ Rnd 2: Ethan Leighton tech fall Faris Karaborni, 15-0
Cons Rnd 2: Sumner tech fall Faris Karaborni, 18-0

Dalton Lunde (2-2)
Champ Rnd 1: Bye
Champ Rnd 2: Dalton Lunde fall (2:00) Tanner Zimmerman (Central College)
Quarters: Brady Ayers (South Dakota State) dec Dalton Lunde, 5-2
Round of 12: Dalton Lunde fall (2:12) Casey Crawford (Grand View)
Cons Quarters: Michael Coleman (Navy) fall (4:14) Dalton Lunde


Will Balow (3-2)
Champ Rnd 1: Tyler Hoffamn (Northern Iowa) dec (SV-1) Will Balow, 7-5
Cons Rnd 1: Bye
Cons Rnd 2: Will Balow maj dec Adam Ball (Central College), 12-4
Cons Rnd 3: Will Balow dec Jeremy Rodman (Northern Iowa), 5-2
Round of 12: Will Balow dec Corey Van Dorn (Nebraska-Kearney), 8-3
Cons Quarters: Tanner Orndorff (Utah Valley) dec Will Balow, 8-3


Luke Destiche (1-2)
Champ Rnd 1: Bye
Champ Rnd 2: Luke Destiche dec Patrick Grayson (Nebraska), 3-2
Quarters: Dustin Dennison (Utah Valley) dec Luke Destiche, 10-3
Round of 12: Jarrod Hinrichs (Nebraska-Kearney) dec Luke Destiche, 8-2

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