The Huskers head to Las Vegas, Nev., this weekend.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Head to Las Vegas Over Weekend

By NU Athletic Communications
31st Annual Cliff Keen Invitational
Las Vegas Convention Center • Las Vegas, Nev. • Friday, Nov. 30-Saturday, Dec. 1 • 11 a.m.
Schedule of Events (all times central)
Friday, Nov. 30
11 a.m.: Pigtail Round, Round 1, Round 2, Consolation Pigtails and Consolation Round 1
8 p.m.: Quarterfinals and Consolation Round 2 & 3
Saturday, Dec. 1
11 a.m.: Consolation Round 4
Noon: Semifinals and Consolation Round 5, Consolation Semifinals, Consolation Finals (3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th & 8th)
5 p.m.: Championship Finals 1st and 2nd

The No. 9 Nebraska wrestling team (4-1) returns to competition on Friday following an 11-day break at the 31st Annual Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev. The Cliff Keen Invitational is a two-day event at the Las Vegas Convention Center that will start at 11 a.m. (CST). 

The Huskers are coming off their first three home duals of the 2012-13 campaign. After suffering a 27-7 loss to No. 1 Minnesota on Friday, Nov. 16, Nebraska responded with a pair of victories on Sunday, Nov. 18. The Huskers defeated North Carolina 25-12 before prevailing over South Dakota State, 32-7. Sophomore James Green (157) led the Huskers over the weekend, winning all three of his matches.

The Cliff Keen Invitational marks Nebraska’s second tournament appearance of the season. On Nov. 4, the Huskers won eight weight divisions at the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open in Brookings, S.D. Following that competition, the Huskers traveled west for a pair of duals. They emerged victorious in both matches, defeating Northern Colorado 28-9, before outlasting No. 19 Wyoming 22-15.

Nebraska joins Air Force, American University, Army, Arizona State, Boise State, Brown, Cal Poly, Cal State Bakersfield, California Baptist, Colorado State University Pueblo, Cornell, Harvard, Kent State, Michigan, Missouri, Navy, Nebraska-Kearney, Northern Colorado, Northern Iowa, North Dakota State, North Idaho College, Ohio State, Oregon State, San Francisco State, South Dakota State, Utah Valley, Virginia, West Virginia, Western Wyoming, Wisconsin and Wyoming at the Cliff Keen Invitational.

Freshman Skylar Wood is projected to start at 125 pounds for the Huskers this weekend. He will be making his first start in the NU lineup following a 5-1 showing at the Nebraska-Kearney Holiday Inn Open where he finished third. Junior Shawn Nagel will start at 133 pounds, while senior Ridge Kiley will earn the spot at 141 pounds. Sophomores Jake Sueflohn (149), James Green (157) and Robert Kokesh (174), who are all ranked in the top 20 of the InterMat poll, will start at their respective weights. Redshirt freshmen Austin Wilson (165) and Donny Longendyke (HWT) will travel to Las Vegas as well as junior Caleb Kolb (197) and senior Josh Ihnen (184).

Information for the tournament can be found at and results will be available at

Last Time Out: Huskers Drop Tar Heels, Jackrabbits
No. 9 Nebraska went 2-0 on Sunday, Nov. 18, at the NU Coliseum with a 25-12 victory over North Carolina and a 32-7 win over South Dakota State.

Against North Carolina, the Huskers faced an early 12-0 deficit after losing the first three matches, but responded by winning the final seven en route to a 25-12 win. At 125 pounds, the Tar Heels’ No. 16 Nathan Kraisser won a major decision over Eric Coufal, 12-1. Nebraska suffered major decision losses at 133 and 141 pounds as well to give North Carolina the early 12-0 advantage. Joey Ward won 14-4 over Shawn Nagel before No. 17 Evan Henderson posted a 10-1 victory over Skylar Galloway.

Nebraska responded with a victory at 149 pounds as No. 13 Jake Sueflohn won an 8-3 decision over North Carolina’s Christian Barber. Fellow sophomore No. 5 James Green kept the NU momentum going with his 10-3 decision over Chris Mears.

At 165 pounds, Austin Wilson won a 6-4 decision over J.M. Staudenmayer. Then Nebraska seized the lead, 15-12, after No. 7 Robert Kokesh pinned North Carolina’s Frank Abbondanza in 4:42. The pin marks Kokesh’s fourth of the season.

No. 6 Josh Ihnen (184) and Caleb Kolb (197) added decisions to extend the lead before Donny Longendyke won a major decision over Jake Barnhart, 9-1, at heavyweight. Ihnen posted a 10-4 victory over Alex Utley while Kolb defeated Antonio Giorgio, 4-2.

Nebraska faced another early deficit against South Dakota State after Coufal dropped a 12-4 major decision to Aaron Pickrel at 125 pounds. Nagel responded at 133 pounds with his 8-2 decision over the Jackrabbits’ Brance Simms. The victory marks Nagel’s sixth of the 2012-13 campaign.

At 141 pounds, Galloway responded from his earlier loss with a 14-4 major decision over Ben Gillette. The Jackrabbits bounced back, however, as Dustin Walraven upset No. 13 Sueflohn at 149 pounds, 3-2. The loss marks Sueflohn’s first of the season as South Dakota State tied the match at 7.

The Huskers responded by winning the final six matches to put away the victory. No. 5 Green won a 17-6 major decision over Cody Pack at 157 pounds before Wilson earned a 4-1 decision over Joe Brewster at 165. At 174 pounds, Kokesh won a 17-1 technical fall over John Nething II. Kokesh improves to 7-1 with the win.

Ihnen picked up his eighth win of the 2012-13 campaign by pinning Hunter Weddington in 1:20. The pin marks the senior’s first of the season. Kolb (197) and Longendyke (HWT) each capped 2-0 days as Kolb won a 13-4 major decision over Brandon Ballard and Longendyke won a 6-4 decision over J.J. Everard.

Huskers in the Rankings
The Nebraska wrestling team has four ranked individuals in the latest polls released by InterMat, WIN Magazine and Amateur Wrestling News. In the InterMat poll, released Nov. 27, Jake Sueflohn (149) was 17th and James Green (157) was ranked sixth, while Robert Kokesh (174) was eighth and Josh Ihnen (184) was sixth. In the WIN Magazine rankings, released Nov. 26, Sueflohn was ranked 20th, Green was fifth, while Kokesh and Ihnen each earned the sixth-place ranking in their weight classes. Ranked wrestlers in the Amateur Wrestling News poll, released Nov. 27, include Sueflohn (16th), Green (fourth), Kokesh (sixth) and Ihnen (fifth). 

Huskers Add Three Wrestlers for 2013-14
Nebraska Head Coach Mark Manning announced the signing of three wrestlers on Wednesday, Nov. 21, who will join the Huskers in 2013-14.

“Anthony, Colton and Pat are three guys we put a lot of time and energy into recruiting and we targeted these three individuals because they have the attributes we look for,” Manning said. “They are going to fit extremely well into the culture of our team and our program. My staff worked extremely hard for this recruiting class, and even though it’s small, it has three individuals that have the aspirations and the intent to help us compete for championships. They join a group of young student-athletes that have already bought in to the goals and standards of Nebraska wrestling.”

Anthony Abidin, Dix Hills, N.Y. (Nassau/Half Hollow Hills East/Calhoun) - 133/141
Abidin joins the Huskers after winning the NJCAA national title at 133 pounds as afreshman in 2012. Wrestling for Nassau Community College, Abidin finished the season ranked 12th following a 28-4 season before making a run to the championship match where he won a 7-4 decision over Iowa Central’s Brandon Wright. Abidin will redshirt this season at Nassau and have three years of eligibility left with Nebraska.

Before Nassau, Abidin wrestled at Half Hollow Hills East High School in Dix Hills, N.Y. As a senior, he went 36-1 en route to the state crown at 125 pounds. Abidin recorded 21 pins, five major decisions and four technical falls during 2011. Abidin also wrestled at Calhoun High School.

Colton McCrystal, Sergeant Bluff, Iowa (Sergeant Bluff-Luton) - 133
McCrystal comes to Nebraska with experience at Sergeant Bluff-Luton in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, where he won the Class 2A state title at 126 pounds as a junior last season. McCrystal compiled a 22-1 record during the season with 11 pins. He is currently ranked No. 20 in the InterMat national rankings at 132 pounds with a 143-8 mark entering his senior season. McCrystal earned a pair of runner-up finishes at the state championship as a freshman and sophomore, competing at 103 pounds in 2010 and 112 in 2011.

Pat Downey, Baltimore, Md. (Oviedo/North County/Loch Raven/Mount St. Joseph) - 184
Downey is a two-time Maryland state champion who is set to join the Huskers in 2013-14. He won his first state title as a sophomore at 160 pounds for Loch Raven, capping an undefeated 35-0 season. As a junior, he compiled a perfect 34-0 record en route a second consecutive state title, this time for North County at 171 pounds. As a freshman, Downey earned a sixth-place finish at 145 pounds while wrestling at Mount St. Joseph.

In addition, Downey won the silver medal at the 2012 FILA Junior World Championships in September. He has spent the last two years at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. He will have four years of eligibility at Nebraska.

Green Leads Strong Sophomore Class
James Green (157) is one of three ranked sophomores who are projected to start this weekend, joining Jake Sueflohn (No. 17 at 149) and Robert Kokesh (No. 8 at 174). Green is ranked No. 6 in the InterMat poll, which was released on Nov. 27. 

Green leads the team with a perfect 10-0 record, which includes a 5-0 mark in dual competition. Kokesh is 7-1 on the season with a 4-1 record in duals and leads all starters with four pins. Sueflohn missed the first two duals, but compiled a 2-1 record last weekend. He is 6-1 on the season. The trio of sophomores all qualified for the NCAA Championships last season. 

Fellow sophomores Skylar Galloway (141) and Brandon Wilbourn (165) have also appeared in the NU lineup this season. Galloway is 6-2 with a 2-2 dual mark, while Wilbourn is 9-0 with a 1-0 dual record.
Newcomers Making An Impact
The Huskers have 17 newcomers in 2012-13 and several are competing for spots in the Husker lineup. Freshman Eric Coufal started the first five duals at 125 pounds, compiling a 1-4 record. At this weekend’s Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev., fellow freshman Skylar Wood is expected to start at 125. Wood finished third at the Nebraska-Kearney Holiday Inn Open on Saturday, Nov. 17 with a 5-1 record. 

Freshman Tim Lambert has also experienced success in open tournaments at 125 pounds, compiling a 12-1 record after competing in three of them. He won the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open as well as the Nebraska-Kearney Holiday Inn Open and finished second at the Harold Nichols Cyclone Open. 

Freshman Ben Morgan could compete for a spot in the NU lineup at 133 pounds this season. He pinned all four opponents at the Nebraska-Kearney Holiday Inn Open en route to the title.

Eight Huskers Win at Daktronics Open
Nebraska opened its regular season on Sunday, Nov. 4, as eight wrestlers won their weight classes at the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open.

The Huskers took home the top three places at 165 pounds as Brandon Wilbourn won, Austin Wilson was runner up and Shaun’qae McMurtry earned a third-place finish. Wilbourn won a 4-2 decision over Wilson in the championship match. McMurtry pinned Augustana College’s Parker Swanson in the third-place match. Ross Grande went 4-3 to earn a sixth-place finish, while Michael Klinginsmith finished with a 1-2 mark.

At 174 pounds, the Huskers earned the top four spots with no contest in the championship and third place matches. Robert Kokesh and Tyler Koehn went 3-0, while Aaron Studebaker and Micah Barnes went 3-1. Freshman McCoy Newberg went 3-2.

Sophomores Jake Sueflohn (149) and James Green (157) as well as senior Josh Ihnen (184) won their respective weight classes at the Daktronics Open. Sueflohn won an 11-6 decision over Augustana’s Nate Herda, while Green won a 7-4 decision over SDSU’s Cody Pack. Ihnen won by decision over Minnesota’s Brett Pfarr, 8-3.

Newcomer Tim Lambert went 4-0 as the lone Husker competing at 125 pounds. Following a first-round bye, the freshman pinned South Dakota State’s Chet Utesch in 1:34 before a 7-0 decision over NSU’s Anthony Bruno. In the semifinals, Lambert won a 5-0 decision over SDSU’s Aaron Pickrel to advance to the finals where he pinned Augustana’s TJ North in 3:28.

At 133 pounds, junior Shawn Nagel took home the title with Adam Joseph taking sixth place. Nagel went 4-0, capping the tournament with a 7-6 decision over North Dakota State’s Justin Scherkenbach.

Sophomore Skylar Galloway went 4-0 en route to the title at 141 pounds. Following a first-round bye, Galloway won a major decision over Midland’s Jacob Luning-Hoshino, 12-3. Then Galloway won a 3-2 decision over Angel Vega before a 5-3 decision over Iowa Central’s Stephen Mincey. In the championship match, Galloway won a 4-0 decision over SDSU’s Will James.

Challenging Schedule Awaits Huskers
Nebraska will face a challenging schedule in 2012-13, which includes a trip to Madison Square Garden as well as matches against the top three NCAA finishers from 2012.

Nebraska heads to Las Vegas, Nev., Nov. 30-Dec. 1, for the Cliff Keen Invitational. Last season the Huskers finished fourth with 106 points. NU then returns home for a pair of duals against Arizona State (Dec. 8) and Wisconsin (Dec. 9). In 2011-12, the Huskers shut out both opponents by a combined score of 78-0.

On Dec. 16, the Huskers are set to compete in the first Grapple at the Garden in New York, N.Y. NU faces Maryland at 9:30 a.m., before wrestling Rutgers at 11:30 a.m. Other teams participating in the Grapple at the Garden include Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Iowa, Hofstra, Chattanooga and Bucknell. To close out 2012, the Huskers compete at the Midlands Invitational in Evanston, Ill., Dec. 29-30.

January begins with two road Big Ten duals against Michigan and Northwestern. The Huskers head to Ann Arbor, Mich., on Jan. 11 before a trip to Evanston, Ill., on Jan. 13. Nebraska returns home to face Illinois on Jan. 18. The Fighting Illini finished seventh at the 2012 NCAA Championships. Nebraska then heads to University Park, Pa., for a showdown against defending national champion Penn State on Jan. 27.

On Feb. 1, the Huskers host Michigan State at the NU Coliseum. Last season the Big Red crushed the Spartans 27-8 in East Lansing, Mich. The final Big Ten dual of the 2012-13 campaign comes Feb. 10 against Iowa, which finished third at the 2012 NCAA Championships. The Huskers will compete at the NWCA National Duals in Ithaca, N.Y., on Feb. 17. Their opponents are to be determined.

On March 9-10, Nebraska will make its second appearance in the Big Ten Championships in Champaign, Ill. Last season the Huskers produced four top-five finishers. The 2012-13 season concludes March 21-23 at the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. Last year Nebraska finished 21st with 28 points. James Green (157) and  Josh Ihnen (184) earned All-America honors, as eight Huskers qualified for the 2012 NCAA Championships.

BTDN to Feature Huskers Nine Times
The Nebraska wrestling program will be featured nine times on the Big Ten Digital Network in 2012-13. Home matches against Arizona State (Dec. 8), Wisconsin (Dec. 9), Illinois (Jan. 18) and Michigan State (Feb. 1) will be streamed online. Road matches against Michigan (Jan. 11), Northwestern (Jan. 12), Penn State (Jan. 27) and Iowa (Feb. 10) will also be streamed through BTDN. 

The Huskers were featured on BTDN for their Nov. 16 match against Minnesota.

Throughout the season, go to the BTN/BTN2Go/BTDN Olympic Sports TV schedule page for the most up-to-date information on the BTN and BTDN wrestling schedules.

Former Husker Burroughs Wins Gold Medal in Freestyle
Former Husker Jordan Burroughs won the gold medal at 74 kilograms (163 pounds) at the 2012 Olympics in London. Burroughs defeated Iran’s Sadegh Saeed Goudarzi 3-0 in the gold medal match.

Burroughs, a two-time NCAA champion at Nebraska, won four matches on Friday en route to becoming the first freestyle gold medalist in school history. Burroughs adds the gold medal to his list of accomplishments after Nebraska, which includes winning the 2011 FILA World Championships.

After taking a bye in the round of 32, Burroughs dominated Puerto Rico’s Francisco Soler Tanco. Burroughs won the first round 4-0 before taking the second round 6-0. With the win, he advanced to the quarterfinals to face Matthew Gentry of Canada.

In a much closer match, Burroughs survived the scare from Gentry. Burroughs posted a 2-1 victory in the first round before tying the second round and winning the match.

In the semifinals, Burroughs was challenged by Russia’s Denis Tsargush, but prevailed in the third round. The Sicklerville, N.J., native won the first round 3-1, but fell 2-0 in the second round. He bounced back in the third round, however, for a 2-1 win.

Burroughs then shut out Goudarzi in the gold medal match, winning 1-0, 1-0.

Burroughs, who won the 2011 Hodge Trophy for best collegiate wrestler, was coached by Nebraska Head Coach Mark Manning at the London Olympics.

Burroughs joins Dan Brand (1964), Bill Scherr (1988), Rulon Gardner (2000 and 2004) and Matt Lindland (2000) as the only former Huskers to earn Olympic medals. Brand and Scherr each took bronze in freestyle, Gardner won gold (2000) and bronze (2004) in Greco-Roman and Lindland earned silver.


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