ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Max Thomsen avenged a loss from earlier in the year to take fifth place, and Drew Foster was seventh at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
UNI finished 18th with 25.5 points, the most points since 2014 when UNI finished 15th with 40 points.
"I put the boots on every day and went to work," said Thomsen. "My teammates motivated me to do that. I have a lot of great examples like our senior class. Guys like JJ Everard, a man who would be down here making noise, but he gets hurt. A guy like Dylan Peters, a two-time All-American: He's dinged up his shoulder and both knees and he's still fighting. So I see all this motivation, and that helps me go to work every day."
Thomsen's fifth-place finish is the highest of any freshman since former Panther and assistant coach Mark Schwab took fifth in 1986.
"You know, Max, you lose two tough matches, and he's able to respond like that to a guy who beat him earlier in the season," said Thomsen. "It shows the kind of grit and toughness that he has."
In Thomsen's first match of the final day of the championships, he gave up his first bonus points of the year.
However, he returned to avenge a loss to No. 6 Solomon Chisko of Virginia Tech to take fifth. Chisko handed Thomsen his first loss of the year in a dual Nov. 18. Thomsen won 10-4, giving up points off escapes.
"I finished beating a guy who beat me this year, so when you flip a score like that, you know you're doing the right things," said Thomsen. "We're young. We're hungry, and we're mean and I know we're going to be doing big things."
Foster dominated his 184-pound match to take seventh over No. 8 (ninth seed) Nathan Jackson of Indiana. He nearly had Jackson pinned but had to settle for the 11-7 decision.
"(Randy) Pugh was in my ear a little bit last night saying 'You know, you weren't pulling the trigger,'" Foster said. "I take what he says to heart, so I was pulling the trigger today."
Foster moved up from 174 pounds midyear last season and worked his way into the 184-pound rankings this season.
"He has just continued to get better," said Schwab. "He's still growing into his body. He's not even a full 84-pounder. He's going to be a dangerous dude. He's going to rub off on other guys. We do have a lot of momentum moving forward."
UNI will return six NCAA qualifiers, the most since the 2008-09 season, when seven Panthers returned. Both All-Americans are expected to return, the most since 2005 when UNI had two to start the 2004-05 season.
149 pounds: No. 7 seed Max Thomsen (ranked No. 8) – 5th place
March 16 #20 Matt Cimato Drexel W 2-1
March 16 #10 Laike Gardner Lehigh W 6-4
March 17 #15 Kenny Theobold Rutgers W 5-1
March 17 #3 Lavion Mayes Missouri L 4-2
March 18 #4 Micah Jordan Ohio State L 13-5 (MD)
March 18 #6 Solomon Chisko Virginia Tech W 10-4
184 pounds: No. 12 Drew Foster – 7th place
March 16 Robert Steveson Minnesota W 8-0 (MD)
March 16 #7 Zack Zavatsky Virginia Tech W 4-3
March 17 #5 Nolan Boyd Oklahoma State L 11-7
March 17 #10 Michael Macchiavello North Carolina State W 3-1
March 17 #4 Myles Martin Ohio State L 8-6
March 18 #8 Nathan Jackson Indiana W 11-7