Honors & Awards
- Three-Time NCAA All-American (3rd, 174, 2013; 4th, 174, 2014; 3rd, 174, 2015)
- Four-Time NCAA Championships Qualifier (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)
- Two-Time Big Ten Champion (174, 2014; 174, 2015)
- Nebraska 100-Win Club
- Second-Most Wins in School History (144)
- Nebraska Most Outstanding Wrestler (2012-13, 2013-14)
- Nebraska Granite Award (2013-14)
- NWCA All-Academic Team (2014)
- Two-Time Academic All-Big Ten (2014, 2015)
- Big Ten Sportsmanship Award (2014, 2015)
- Tom Osborne Citizenship Team (2014, 2015)
- Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll (Fall 2013, 2014; Spring 2013, 2014, 2015)
- Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll (Fall 2010)
- Nebraska Most Dedicated Award (2011-12)
- Nebraska Redshirt of the Year (2010-11)
Robert Kokesh entered the NCAA Championships as the No. 1 seed at 174 pounds, and ended the tournament with a third-place finish and his third consecutive All-America award. Kokesh shut out both of his opponents on the first day before suffering his first loss of the season in the quarterfinals to eighth-seeded Tyler Wilps of Pittsburgh. The Husker senior responded by winning four straight matches in consolation bracket.
After collecting another pair of major decisions in the wrestleback bracket, Kokesh managed sudden victories over Mike Evans of Iowa and Logan Storley of Minnesota. Each of those wins came by a 6-4 margin on the final day of the national tournament.
Big Ten Championships
Kokesh repeated as Big Ten champion at 174 pounds in 2015. He recorded the quickest pin in the 101-year history of the Big Ten Championships with his 15-second fall of Michigan's Taylor Massa in the quarterfinals. Kokesh knocked off Storley, 2-1, in the semfinals before notching a 7-3 decision over No. 2 Matt Brown of Penn State in the finals.
Kokesh finished his final season at Nebraska with a 39-1 record, which included a perfect 14-0 mark in dual competition. He collected eight pins to lead the team and managed three technical falls to go along with 11 major decisions. Kokesh climbed Nebraska's all-time wins list during his senior campaign and finished his career as the second-winningest wrestler in school history with 144 victories. Kokesh climbed up the ranks in several other statiscal categories, including dual wins. He ended his career with a 60-4 dual record and won each of his final 30 matches, dating back to his sophomore season.
Kokesh won his first 35 bouts of the season and held the No. 1 ranking at 174 pounds for most of the year following his first-place finish at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational on Dec. 6. He was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week after the tournament and added titles at the Cowboy Open and Southern Scuffle.
Kokesh, the No. 3 seed, went 5-2 at the NCAA Championships to collect All-America honors for the second consecutive season and finish fourth. He opened with a pair of major decisions over West Virginia’s Jacob Scheffel and Rider’s Conor Brennan to advance to the quarterfinals. Facing fellow South Dakota native and No. 6 seed Logan Storley of Minnesota, Kokesh dropped a 6-4 match by tiebreaker 2.
In the consolation bracket, Kokesh battled a torn ACL, but managed three wins to advance to the third-place match. He took down Illinois’ Tony Dallago, No. 7 seed Tyler Wilps of Pittsburgh and fourth-seeded Mike Evans of Iowa. In the third-place match, Kokesh battled Storley to extra time for the second time in the tournament. Storley emerged victorious again, winning by tiebreaker 1, 3-1.
Big Ten Championships
Kokesh was one of two conference champions for the Huskers in 2014, joining 157-pounder James Green to become the first Big Ten champions in school history. In Kokesh’s first match, he pinned Michigan’s Collin Zeerip in 4:28. Kokesh notched a 3-2 decision over No. 6 Logan Storley of Minnesota before taking down No. 5 Mike Evans of Iowa, 6-4, in the championship match. Kokesh’s win in the title match marked the 100th of his college career at Nebraska.
Kokesh went 37-3 and posted a perfect 14-0 dual record as a junior. In addition to leading the team in both of those categories, Kokesh finished first among the Huskers in dual points (67), pins (9) and tied for first in technical falls (5). Kokesh tied for second on the team in major decisions with 10. He won his first 14 matches of the season, 13 of which were bonus-point victories, before falling to then-No. 1 Andrew Howe of Oklahoma to finish second at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational.
Kokesh responded to the loss by reeling off 20 consecutive victories before dropping his quarterfinal match at the NCAA Championships. He captured titles at the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open and Reno Tournament of Champions. In addition, Kokesh went 9-3 against ranked opponents in 2013-14.
Kokesh earned All-America honors for the first time in his Husker career, finishing third at 174 pounds in 2013. He pinned Penn’s Ian Korb in the first round before winning an 8-3 decision over Cody Walters of Ohio. In the quarterfinals, Kokesh won an 11-3 major decision over No. 5 seed Josh Asper of Maryland. Kokesh battled No. 1 seed Chris Perry of Oklahoma State to a 2-2 tie in the semifinals that headed into sudden victory. Kokesh was taken down in the extra period to fall, 4-2, and head to the wrestleback bracket.
Having clinched All-America honors, Kokesh faced No. 3 seed Mike Evans of Iowa in the consolation semifinals. The pair traded escapes for a 1-1 tie in the third period before a late Kokesh takedown that led to a 3-2 decision. In the third-place match, Kokesh faced No. 6 seed Logan Storley of Minnesota. Kokesh and Storley headed to sudden victory in a 1-1 tie, and the Husker sophomore took down the Gopher in the extra time to prevail.
Big Ten Championships
Kokesh fell in the first round of the Big Ten Championships to Illinois’ Jordan Blanton by an 8-2 decision but won his next four matches en route to a third-place finish. In the wrestleback bracket, Kokesh defeated Indiana’s Cheney Dale (MD, 13-2), Purdue’s Chad Welch (D, 7-3) and Michigan’s Dan Yates (MD, 10-1) to set up a rematch with Blanton. This time Kokesh got the better of Blanton, winning a 4-3 decision.
Kokesh led the Huskers in several categories during the 2012-13 campaign: wins (38), dual wins (15), dual points (63), pins (9) and major decisions (10). His 38 wins put him in a tie for seventh on Nebraska’s season victories list and gave him the second-most wins in a season by a Husker sophomore. From Nov. 18 to Feb. 1, Kokesh won 22 consecutive matches.
He tied for first at the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open in November, pinning two of his three opponents in the process. Kokesh added first-place finishes at the Cliff Keen Invitational and Midlands Invitational, outscoring his opponents in the latter tournament, 46-7, while adding two pins. Kokesh’s two regular-season losses came against Minnesota’s Logan Storley and Iowa’s Mike Evans. Kokesh avenged both losses at the NCAA Championships.
2011-12 (Redshirt Freshman)
No. 8 seed Kokesh won back-to-back matches to start his NCAA Championships on the right note. In the first round, Kokesh defeated Missouri’s Zach Toal by a 4-1 decision before powering past Oklahoma’s Patrick Graham, 5-4.
However, Kokesh suffered back-to-back losses to end his trip to the NCAA Championships. He was pinned by No. 1 seed David Taylor of Penn State in 30 seconds, before dropping a narrow 4-3 decision in the wrestleback bracket to Appalachian State’s Kyle Blevins.
Big Ten Championships
Kokesh took third at the Big Ten Championships with a 3-1 record. After a bye in the first round, the third-seeded Kokesh posted a 12-4 major decision over No. 13 Daniel Yates of Michigan. After a 17-2 technical fall loss to Iowa’s Mike Evans, Kokesh responded with two victories, including a 4-1 decision over No. 12 Conrad Polz of Illinois.
Kokesh went 30-7 as Nebraska’s starter at 165 pounds, including a 17-2 dual record. He went 7-2 in Big Ten duals. He opened his redshirt freshman campaign with six straight victories before losing a 6-2 decision to No. 2 Shane Onufer of Wyoming in the title match at the Nebraska-Kearney Holiday Inn Open.
At the Cliff Keen Invitational, Kokesh started with a pair of pins before being pinned by Northern Colorado’s Stephen Burak. Kokesh took third at the tournament and reeled off 10 consecutive wins following the loss to Burak.
Kokesh earned a team-high 68 dual points for the Huskers in 2011-12, while pinning a team-best seven opponents. His quickest pin, which occurred in 20 seconds, was the fastest by any Husker starter. In addition, Kokesh’s 11 major decisions ranked second on the squad.
Kokesh unleashed one of the most dominant redshirt seasons in recent Nebraska history by going 34-1 and recording 29 bonus-point victories. Kokesh’s only loss of the season came to fellow Husker Jordan Burroughs in the finals of the Harold Nichols Open to start the season, when Kokesh forfeited for medical reasons. Kokesh’s 34 victories ranked second on the team behind Burroughs, while leading the team in pins with 19. Kokesh also tied for the lead in major decisions with eight. After the second-place finish at the Harold Nichols Open, Kokesh went on to capture seven open tournament titles, which included the Kaufman/Brand Open, Bob Smith Open, UNK Loper Open, Viking-Warrior Open, Quality Hotel Open, Brand Open and the Briar Cliff Open. Kokesh closed the season wrestling in top form, pinning 11 of his final 15 opponents.
Kokesh was a three-time South Dakota Class B state champion (2008-10) and led Wagner High School to team state titles each year. His impressive career included a 216-24 prep record, while earning All-America honors in his last three seasons. In 2008, Kokesh was the NHSCA Sophomore Nationals champion before he claimed a pair of runner-up finishes at Junior Nationals in 2009 and 2010.
Kokesh also excelled on the football field for the Red Raiders, as the linebacker earned first-team all-state honors. He also lettered in track and field. Academically, Kokesh was on the honor roll.
Robert is the son of Doug and Kathy Kokesh. He was born on Dec. 5, 1991, in Yankton, S.D. Robert has three siblings, Richard, Kimberly and Kristi. He is majoring in agricultural economics and earned spots on the NWCA All-Academic Team and Tom Osborne Citizenship Team in 2014. Kokesh is also a two-time Academic All-Big Ten Team member, five-time member of the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll and earned Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll accolades in the fall of 2010.