Monday’s win brought the team score to 10-7, UNC, but after three consecutive UNI wins, marked by a dominant 10-2 win from UNI’s Taylor Lujan, the Panthers led 16-10.
But as with the rest of the dual, UNC bounced back and matched UNI. The Tar Heels won two straight of their own, capped off by an exciting win in the 285 bout by Cory Daniel that left the team score at 16-16.
“The effort level was high,” Scott said. “And when you have high effort, good things will happen.”
Northern Iowa should have won the match outright, but it was penalized one team point after the 184-pound bout. That left the match score at a 16-16 tie instead of a 17-16 UNI win.
Since neither team won a bout by technical fall, wrestling's version of a mercy rule, the tiebreaker was decided by total match points. UNI, with its 54-42 advantage in that category, came away with the win.
Who stood out?
In the Tar Heels’ last match, an upset win over No.12 Nebraska, Heilmann and Monday both brought energy to the team with big wins in their weight classes. This dual was more of the same.
Heilmann faced off against No. 6 Max Thomsen for the second time this season, the last time ending in a win at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. This match ended in the same way: a 3-2 win for Heilmann.
This makes Heilmann’s fifth win over a ranked opponent, which, to Scott, has built up a necessary confidence in the redshirt senior.
“He was always the hardest worker,” Scott said. “Now he knows what he’s working for. Having Tony (Ramos) in the room, who wrestles like him, has built up his confidence. If you want to see what confidence can do, just look at freshman Kennedy Monday.”
The redshirt first-year’s confidence showed in his dominant 13-5 major decision win over Logan Ryan, giving UNC its first momentum swing of the dual.
When was it decided?
The dual came down to the wire, with the final only being decided by tiebreaker criteria. In a rare way to decide a winner, the third criterion of total match points had to be used to declare UNI victorious.
Why does it matter?
To Scott, the only way to prepare his wrestlers for championship season is stiff competition. This explains the Tar Heels’ heavy road schedule, of which UNI starts off along with Nebraska. This dual gives UNC more practice before the end of season tournament.
“I promise you,” Scott said, “guys like Troy are going to see almost every guy in the top 20 by the end of the year. And that’s what we want. My goal is not to pad these guys’ records. The truth is, I want them to win national titles.”
With duals like this, Scott is giving his wrestlers the tests they need to be ready for national tournaments.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will travel to Deerfield Beach, Fla., on Dec. 29 to compete in the two-day South Beach Duals.