The University of Northern Iowa Panthers will leave the 2014 NCAA Division I National Wrestling Championships with its most All-Americans since 2002 with Dylan Peters, Joe Colon and Joey Lazor.  All three are still alive for a third place finish.

The team was one of four teams tied for 11th place after the second full day of competition. UNI hasn’t cracked the top 10 since 1992.

Peters got knocked out of the run for the 125-pound title by the No. 1 Jesse Delgado of Illinois in a 9-6 decision. Peters is still in the hunt for a third place and becomes Doug Schwab’s third Panther to become an All-American.

“I thought Peters put himself back in the match,” said head coach Doug Schwab. “He just couldn’t not take that single leg, but that isn’t where we wanted to go. But instincts took over.”

Three-time All-American No. 5 Tyler Graff of Wisconsin avenged two losses Joe Colon handed him earlier in the season. Colon fell 9-6 and will have a shot at third place Saturday morning.

“The thing with Joe is, he has to gut back up and come back and get third,” said Schwab.

Earlier in the day, Colon earned his second major decision of the tournament with a 19-9 win over No. 8 David Thorn of Minnesota and Peters took Earl Hall of Iowa State to overtime to win 4-2 in sudden victory.

Lazor lost a 5-2 decision to No. 3 Zain Retherford, but returned to earn a 1-0 decision over No. 8 Luke Vaith of Hofstra. His fall in 3 minutes, 27 seconds was the team’s fourth match won with bonus points and the Panthers’ first pin of the tournament.

“He’s a warrior,” Schwab said of Lazor. “He was a round of twelve last year, and it hurt him bad. He wasn’t going to let that happen again tonight.”

Lazor still has a shot at third, but he will need to get through the same wrestler who knocked him out of the tournament last year. He will battle No. 9 Evan Henderson of North Carolina Saturday morning.

No. 15 Ryan Loder earned the Panthers’ third major decision of the tournament over Devin Hightower of Air Force, winning 8-0. He followed it with a 3-0 decision over Kurtis Julson of North Dakota State. However, it was Jacob Swartz of Boise State, who would end his NCAA tourney run with a 6-5 decision.

No. 10 Cooper Moore (165 pounds) and Cody Caldwell (174 pounds) were knocked out of the tournament when they both lost by decision.

VYING FOR THIRD PLACE (will need to win following match and one more):

  • 125 – No. 5 Dylan Peters vs. No. 16 Joey Dance of Virginia Tech
  • 133 – No. 1 Joe Colon vs. No .6 Mason Beckman of Lehigh
  • 141 – No. 11 Joey Lazor vs. No. 9 Evan Henderson of North Carolina