PITTSBURGH — Tyler Berger’s bid for a national title came one win short Saturday, when the former Crook County High School state champion lost in the 157-pound finals at the NCAA Division I wrestling championships.
Berger, a senior at Nebraska and the No. 2 seed, lost a 10-2 major decision in the final against Penn State senior Jason Nolf, the No. 1 seed and now a three-time national champion.
At Crook County, Berger was an OSAA Class 4A state champion as a senior in 2014. Before that, he won three consecutive 5A titles at Hermiston.
In the three-day NCAA meet at PPG Paints Arena, Berger won in the first round by technical fall and in the second round by fall. In his quarterfinal match against No. 7 seed Larry Early of Old Dominion, Berger won a 5-3 decision. Against No. 6 seed Kaleb Young of Iowa in the semifinal round Friday night, Berger prevailed 5-3 to set up a rematch against Nolf, a longtime nemesis whose 5-0 record against Berger going into Saturday’s final included a 12-4 major decision in the Big Ten Conference championships two weeks earlier.
Nolf took control early in Saturday’s match, scoring three takedowns and a near fall against Berger’s two escapes to give the Penn State star an 8-2 lead in the first period. Nolf scored one riding-time point in each of the final two periods.
Berger’s runner-up finish makes him a three-time all-American, an honor he earned as a sophomore with a fifth-place finish at the NCAAs and last year with a third-place finish.
More on the NCAA wrestling championships on page B2.
— Bulletin staff report