Foster, Thomsen advance for UNI

By Matt Levins For The Predicament
Max Thomsen (Northern Iowa) won by decision over Laike Gardner (Lehigh) (Dec 6-4)

Max Thomsen (Northern Iowa) won by decision over Laike Gardner (Lehigh) (Dec 6-4)

ST. LOUIS — University of Northern Iowa sophomore Drew Foster was so excited he was ready to bounce off the walls of the Scottrade on Thursday night at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
The University of Northern Iowa sophomore, who one year ago fell one points short of advancing to the national tournament, now finds himself in the 184-pound quarterfinals on Friday morning, and he'll have a familiar face staring across the line at him.
Foster (24-4), ranked 12th, will face fourth-ranked Nolan Boyd (23-4) of Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals. Boyd beat Foster, 10-5, in the Southern Scuffle in a match where Foster suffered a concussion in the opening seconds and was dazed the rest of the match.
Now, Foster gets a chance to redeem himself, punch his ticket to the semifinals and earn All-America honors all with one victory.
“I’m really ecstatic, but it’s not done yet. That’s just one win. I just beat the five seed. Just try to keep winning," said Foster, a three-time placewinner for Mediapolis High School. “I’m excited. I might have Carr or Boyd. I’ve wrestled both. I’m hoping for Boyd. I want a redemption match.”
Foster advanced with an 8-0 major decision over Minnesota freshman Bobby Steveson in his first match, then avenged a 13-2 loss last year to Virginia Tech's Zack Zavatsky, scoring a late takedown which proved to be the difference in a 4-3 win.
This time around against the Virginia Tech sophomore, Foster turned the tables.
“I was young, I was growing. I wasn’t going to hang my head on it. I’ve gotten better since then, and so has he. You have to continue to get better if you’re going to be good at this sport," Foster said.
“I love how he competed. He came out and scored right away,” UNI head coach Doug Schwab said. “Some of the other matches … when they get tight, they stay right a lot. He went out and got a score right away. He rode really well. He got a bonus point at the end. I’m happy with how he performed. I thought he looked as much at ease as anybody out there. That’s the best Foster I’ve seen in a while. Just explosive on his attacks. You could see there was pop there. That’s a good thing for Drew Foster. He looked really comfortable out there. I can’t say that for all of our other guys.”
Foster is one of two Panthers who will compete in the quarterfinals Friday morning. Joining Foster will be freshman Max Thomsen, who Matthew Climato of Drexel, 2-1, then held on for a 6-4 win over Laike Gardner of Lehigh in the second round.
Thomsen will face Kenny Theobald of Rutgers in the quarterfinals.
“Right now is the big dance, and when you’re wrestling upperclassmen, you know, this is some of their last chances at this tournament,” said Thomsen. “So they are coming at me hard, and I just need to keep on wrestling.”
“He’s attacking in big situations,” said Schwab.
Four other Panthers kept their seasons alive in the consolations. Senior Dylan Peters, after getting pinned in 52 seconds by Darian Cruz of Lehigh in the first round, gutted out a pair of one-point wins to stay alive.
“He is fighting through it,” said Schwab. “You get down 6-0 in that match and it’s easy to bag it. How many guys got pinned this round? Guys were bagging it left and right. To have him have that kind of guts and fight, that’s the kind of kid he is. That’s why I am so proud of him and how he is fighting for this team.”
Also still wrestling for medals are Josh Alber (133), Bryce Steiert (165) and Taylor Lujan (174).
Freshman Jacob Holschlag lost both of his matches at 197 and ended his season with a 20-12 record.
“It’s about moving on to the next round, really going out and doing the things we’ve talked about all year,” Schwab said. “It doesn’t matter that it’s a bigger stage. Overall I think we competed all right. As the tournament goes on you have to get tougher. That’s the nature of this event. The two guys that are on the back side they have to rebound right now, be ready to bounce back and fight through that back side, for themselves and for the team. For Dylan, that’s how he wants to end his career. For Holschlag, you have to respond.”