CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – UNI wrestling's Taylor Lujan earned his second Big 12 Wrestler of the Week honor by knocking off two-time All-American No. 5 Joe Smith of Oklahoma State.
Lujan trailed the match early but tied it up 3-3 with a second-period escape to prevent riding time. Smith took a second lead in the match with an escape in the third period, but Lujan responded with a final takedown to secure the 5-4 decision. It was Lujan's first victory over a top-five opponent in his career.
The junior from Carrollton, Georgia, is the only Panther to hold a MidAmerican Conference title and a Big 12 title. The two-time conference champion is undefeated in Big 12 duals (11-0). His only dual loss this year is to No. 4 Daniel Lewis of Missouri.
Lujan leads the team in dual scoring for the second consecutive year. He is on a four-match win streak and leads the Panther starting lineup in falls with eight so far this season.
Since joining the conference last year, three Panthers have earned the Big 12's weekly honor. Lujan has received the honor three times in his career, with two of them being this year. He was the only Panther to earn the award last season.
Complete list of Big 12 Wrestlers of the Week:
- Nov. 12: Dom Demas / 141 – Oklahoma
- Nov. 19: Cole Verner / 125 – Wyoming
- Nov. 26: Branson Ashworth / 165 – Wyoming
- Dec. 3: Demetrius Romero / 165 – Utah Valley
- Dec. 17: Taylor Lujan / 174 – UNI
- Dec. 26: Sam Turner / 141 – Wyoming
- Dec. 31: Drew Foster / 184 – UNI
- Jan. 7: Kaden Gfeller / 14 – Oklahoma State
- Jan. 14: Josh Hokit / 197 – Fresno State
- Jan. 21: Josh Alber / 141 – UNI
- Jan. 28: Ian Parker / 141 – Iowa State
- Feb. 4: Taylor Lujan / 174 – UNI
UNI wrestling stays on the road with another Big 12 dual this week against Utah Valley 8 p.m. CT Feb. 9. The Panthers return to the West Gym to host the Iowa State Cyclones 7 p.m. Feb. 21.
Fans are encouraged to wear purple for the Thursday matchup against Iowa State. It will be Senior Night and UNI's final dual of the season. UNI has three seniors on the roster: Josh Alber, Darren Eades and Drew Foster.