Last Time Out: Huskers Edged by Badgers, 19-17
The No. 9 Nebraska wrestling team trailed Wisconsin 19-9 before winning the final two matches, but it wasn’t enough as the Badgers edged the Huskers, 19-17, in front of 1,008 fans at the NU Coliseum on Sunday, Dec. 9.
With the loss, the Huskers fall to 5-2 on the season, with an 0-2 record in Big Ten duals. The Badgers improve to 5-2 with the victory, including a 2-0 mark in Big Ten competition.
No. 6 Josh Ihnen started Nebraska on the right track, winning by technical fall over Wisconsin’s Ben Cox, 17-0, at 184 pounds. Ihnen, a senior, picked up his 14th win of the season and improves to 6-1 in duals. The technical fall was his fourth of the 2012-13 campaign and his first since Nov. 10.
The Badgers responded by reeling off five consecutive victories to take a 16-5 lead. Wisconsin’s Jackson Hein and Nebraska’s Caleb Kolb battled to a sudden victory overtime at 197 pounds before Hein won the match, 3-1. At heavyweight, No. 14 Connor Medbery of Wisconsin edged Donny Longendyke by a 4-2 decision. Kolb fell to 6-7 on the season and Longendyke dropped to 6-9.
At 125 pounds, freshman Eric Coufal suffered a 7-4 decision loss to Matt Cavallaris before junior Shawn Nagel fell by a 5-1 decision to the Badgers’ Tom Kelliher at 133 pounds. Coufal moves to 1-6 on the season, while Nagel falls to 9-6. The Badgers added a major decision at 141 pounds as No. 9 Tyler Graff won 13-5 over senior Ridge Kiley. Kiley drops to 6-4 on the season with a 2-2 mark in duals.
The Huskers bounced back with No. 10 Jake Sueflohn’s major decision over Cole Schmitt, 9-1, at 149 pounds. Sueflohn, a sophomore, improves to 13-2 on the season with a 4-1 mark in dual competition. The major decision was his third of the 2012-13 campaign.
At 157 pounds, senior Ross Grande lost a 4-2 decision to Wisconsin’s Kalvin York, giving the Badgers a 19-9 lead with two matches to go. Grande suffered his sixth loss of the season and drops to 0-2 in duals.
The Huskers responded by winning the final two matches at 165 and 174 pounds. Redshirt freshman Austin Wilson picked up his 11th win of the season with his 11-5 decision over Frank Cousins. Sophomore Robert Kokesh, who is ranked No. 8 by InterMat, won an 18-2 technical fall over Scott Liegel in the final match. The technical fall was Kokesh’s third of the season, but it wasn’t enough as the Huskers lost 19-17.
Scouting the Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Rutgers is 6-0 on the season with a 2-0 record in the EIWA. The Scarlet Knights are 3-0 at home with victories over Clarion, Rider and Princeton. Rutgers also won three matches in Albany, N.Y., at the Northeast Duals against Columbia, Binghamton and Army.
Rutgers has four wrestlers in the latest InterMat poll, released on Dec. 11. Trevor Melde is 20th at 141 pounds with a 9-3 record. Scott Winston is No. 13 at 157. He is 14-3 on the season. Greg Zannetti is 10th at 174 and Dan Rinaldi is 14th at 184. Zannetti and Rinaldi are both 14-1 this season. All four wrestlers are seniors.
The Scarlet Knights are coached by Scott Goodale, who is in his sixth year as head coach. Goodale has won 90 matches in his time at Rutgers.
Scouting the Maryland Terrapins
No. 18 Maryland is 5-2 on the season with a 2-0 record at home and a 1-1 mark on the road. The Terrapins opened the season with four straight victories. They won at home against Johns Hopkins and West Virginia before defeating Columbia and Purdue at the Northeast Duals. Maryland suffered back-to-back losses against Illinois and Pittsburgh before prevailing over American last weekend.
The Terrapins are led by five nationally ranked wrestlers. Shane Gentry is 13th in the country at 125 pounds with a 10-1 record on the season. Geoffrey Alexander is 10-3 on the season and ranked No. 11 at 133 pounds. Josh Asper is No. 6 at 174 pounds with a 6-1 record, while Jimmy Sheptock is 10th at 184 with a 15-1 mark. At 197 pounds, Christian Boley is 9-3 and ranked 16th in the country.
Maryland is coached by Kerry McCoy, who is in his fifth season as head coach. McCoy has won 65 matches in his time at Maryland and holds a 94-38 record in his career.
Huskers in the Rankings
Nebraska has five wrestlers ranked in the latest InterMat poll, which was released on Dec. 11. Senior Josh Ihnen is ranked sixth at 184 pounds following a 2-0 weekend against Arizona State and Wisconsin. Sophomores James Green (157) and Robert Kokesh (174) are each ranked eighth in their respective weight classes. Fellow sophomore Jake Sueflohn is No. 9 at 149 pounds after a dominant weekend at home. At 141 pounds, senior Ridge Kiley is ranked 19th. Kiley is 6-4 on the season following a 1-1 showing last weekend.
The WIN Magazine rankings were released on Dec. 10 and feature four Husker wrestlers in its top 10. Kokesh and Ihnen lead the way at sixth in their respective weight classes, while Green is seventh and Sueflohn is 10th. In the Amateur Wrestling News poll, released on Dec. 11, those four made the top six and Kiley earned 19th at 141. Ihnen was fifth, while Sueflohn, Green and Kokesh were all No. 6 at their weights.
As a team, Nebraska is ranked in the top 20 of the InterMat, WIN Magazine and NWCA/USA Today Coaches rankings. The Huskers are 17th in the InterMat poll, 13th in WIN Magazine and 14th in the NWCA poll.
Sophomores Showing Leadership
Sophomores James Green (157), Robert Kokesh (174) and Jake Sueflohn (149) are three of Nebraska’s five nationally ranked starters in InterMat’s poll.
Green is 12-2 on the season with a 5-0 mark in dual competition despite not competing last weekend. Kokesh is 14-1 and leads all starters with five pins this season. He is 6-1 in duals following a 2-0 performance against Arizona State and Wisconsin. Sueflohn has a 13-2 record in 2012-13, which includes a 4-1 mark in duals. 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 and could compete this weekend. Galloway is 6-2 with a 2-2 dual mark, while Wilbourn is 9-0 with a 1-0 dual record.
Newcomers Competing for Spot at 125
The Huskers have 17 newcomers in 2012-13 and several are competing for spots in the Husker lineup. Freshman Eric Coufal started the first seven duals at 125 pounds, compiling a 1-6 record. Fellow freshman Skylar Wood has also appeared in the NU lineup this season and could see time on the mat this weekend at Madison Square Garden. Wood wrestled for the Huskers at the Cliff Keen Invitational, going 1-2. He is 6-3 on the season with a third-place showing at the Nebraska-Kearney Holiday Inn Open.
Freshman Tim Lambert has also experienced success in open tournaments at 125 pounds, compiling a 14-1 record after competing in four of them. He won the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open, the Nebraska-Kearney Holiday Inn Open and the UNK Loper Open, while finishing second at the Harold Nichols Cyclone Open.
Wilson Stepping Up at 165
Redshirt freshman Austin Wilson has started six of Nebraska’s seven duals so far this season and could compete for the Huskers at this weekend’s Grapple at the Garden. Either he or senior Tyler Koehn will start for the Huskers at 165 on Sunday.
In what was considered the most competitive weight class heading into the season, Wilson has stepped up with a 5-1 dual mark. His lone loss was an 8-6 decision against No. 9 Cody Yohn of Minnesota on Nov. 16.
Sophomore Brandon Wilbourn made the other dual start for the Huskers at 165, winning an 8-5 decision over Northern Colorado’s Charlie McMartin on Nov. 10. He is 9-0 on the season.
Galloway, Kiley Battling at 141
Sophomore Skylar Galloway and senior Ridge Kiley have been competing for the starting position at 141 pounds this season and have each appeared in four duals.
Galloway owns a 2-2 record in duals with victories against Wyoming’s Kyle Komata and South Dakota State’s Ben Gillette. He is 6-2 on the season with a first-place showing at the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open on Nov. 4. Galloway has not competed since Nov. 18.
Kiley is also 2-2 in duals this season. He lost his first match of the season before picking up a 3-1 decision over Wyoming’s Brandon Richardson at 149 pounds. Kiley went 1-1 last weekend at 141 pounds against Arizona State and Wisconsin, capturing a 9-3 decision over the Sun Devils’ Matt Kraus. Kiley is 6-4 on the season with a seventh-place result at the Cliff Keen Invitational, Nov. 30-Dec. 1.
The starter for this weekend’s Grapple at the Garden at 141 pounds has not yet been determined.
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 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 a freshman 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.
Huskers Face Challenging Schedule
Nebraska faces a challenging schedule this season, with nine matches against teams that are currently ranked in the NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll, released on Dec. 11.
The Huskers have already wrestled against No. 3 Minnesota, No. 17 Wyoming and No. 23 Wisconsin. Last weekend the Huskers lost to Wisconsin, 19-17. NU fell against the Gophers, 27-7, in its home opener on Nov. 16, but defeated the Cowboys, 22-15, on Nov. 11 in Laramie, Wyo.
Nebraska will face No. 18 Maryland on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. The match, which is part of the first Grapple at the Garden, will be the second of two matches that day for the Huskers. NU will start its day against Rutgers at 9:30 a.m., before facing the Terrapins at 11:30 a.m.
The Huskers will travel to face two of the top five teams in the country and will host No. 6 Illinois on Jan. 18. Nebraska will journey to Michigan for a showdown with the No. 13 Wolverines on Jan. 11 and will wrestle No. 10 Northwestern the following day in Evanston, Ill. On Jan. 27, the Huskers will wrestle No. 1 Penn State on the road before traveling to Iowa, Feb. 10, to face the No. 5 Hawkeyes.
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
Nebraska will be featured nine times on the Big Ten Digital Network in 2012-13. Upcoming home matches on BTDN include the Jan. 18 showdown against Illinois and the Feb. 1 dual against Michigan State. 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 as well as last weekend’s duals against Arizona State and Wisconsin.
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.