The Huskers face Arizona State and Wisconsin this weekend.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Return Home for Pair of Duals

By NU Athletic Communications
Arizona State (5-1) vs. No. 9 Nebraska (4-1)
NU Coliseum • Lincoln, Neb. • Saturday, Dec. 8 • 7 p.m.
Series History: NU leads, 12-4-1
Last Meeting: NU won, 42-0, on Dec. 29, 2011, in Tempe, Ariz.
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Wisconsin (3-2) vs. No. 9 Nebraska (4-1)
NU Coliseum • Lincoln, Neb. • Sunday, Dec. 9 • 2 p.m.
Series History: NU trails, 5-8-2
Last Meeting: NU won, 36-0, on Jan. 29, 2012, in Madison, Wis.
Video (subscription required):

The No. 9 Nebraska wrestling team (4-1) returns home for a pair of duals this weekend at the NU Coliseum following its fifth-place showing at the Cliff Keen Invitational last weekend.

The Huskers face Arizona State (5-1) on Saturday at 7 p.m., before hosting Wisconsin (3-2) on Sunday at 2 p.m. Both matches will be available on the Big Ten Digital Network. 

Nebraska enters the weekend following a fifth place finish at the Cliff Keen Invitational where Josh Ihnen (184) and Robert Kokesh (174) took home individual titles to lead the team. Jake Sueflohn (149) added a third-place finish, while Ridge Kiley (141) and James Green (157) earned seventh and eighth place finishes, respectively.

In its most recent dual outing, Nebraska hosted then-No. 1 Minnesota, North Carolina and South Dakota State. After suffering a 27-7 loss to the Golden Gophers, the Huskers responded by defeating North Carolina 25-12 before prevailing over South Dakota State, 32-7. 

Against the Sun Devils and Badgers, freshman Skylar Wood will start at 125 pounds. Wood is 6-3 on the season after going 1-2 in his first appearance in the NU lineup at the Cliff Keen Invitational. Prior to that, the freshman finished third at the Nebraska-Kearney Holiday Inn Open. Junior Shawn Nagel will start at 133 pounds for the Huskers. Nagel went 2-2 in Las Vegas, Nev., and holds an 8-5 record in the 2012-13 campaign. He finished first at the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open on Nov. 4 and has a 2-3 mark in duals this season.

At 141 pounds, senior Ridge Kiley will represent the Huskers. He has a 5-3 record on the season with a 1-1 mark in dual competition. Sueflohn will make his fourth dual start of the season against Arizona State at 149 pounds. The sophomore holds an 11-2 overall record and a 2-1 dual record this season.

At 157 pounds, Green or Ross Grande will start for the Huskers. Green is 12-2 for the year with a 5-0 record in dual competition. The sophomore has recorded three technical falls and five major decisions through 14 matches. Grande is 8-4 on the season with a third place finish at the Nebraska-Kearney Holiday Inn Open and a sixth place result at the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open. 

Austin Wilson will start at 165 pounds. He has started for the Huskers in four of five duals this season and has compiled a 3-1 record. Wilson is 9-4 on the season after going 2-2 at the Cliff Keen Invitational. Kokesh (174) and Ihnen (184) will start at their weights this weekend following their impressive performances in Las Vegas. Kokesh is 12-1 with a 4-1 mark in duals and has recorded five pins. Ihnen is 12-1 with a 4-1 dual record. 

Junior Caleb Kolb earned the start at 197 pounds for the sixth time in dual competition this season. He is 6-5 following a 3-2 showing in Las Vegas. Redshirt freshman Donny Longendyke will wrestle at heavyweight for NU following a 1-2 performance at the Cliff Keen Invitational. He is 6-7 with a 2-3 dual mark this season.

Last Time Out: Kokesh, Ihnen Earn Titles in Las Vegas
Robert Kokesh (174) and Josh Ihnen (184) won their weight divisions at the Cliff Keen Invitational on Saturday, Dec. 1 to lead Nebraska to a fifth place finish.

The Huskers earned 89.5 points at the tournament. Ohio State (124.5 points) edged Missouri by one point for the team title.

Ihnen, who was the No. 1 seed at 184 pounds, won a 3-2 decision over No. 4 seed Jacob Swartz of Boise State in the semifinals to start his Saturday. In the championships match, Ihnen pinned No. 3 seed Mike Larson of Missouri in 2:14.

At 174 pounds, Kokesh won a 17-5 major decision over No. 4 seed Mathew Miller of Navy before winning by injury default over Daniel Yates of Michigan in the title match. Kokesh was the No. 1 seed and Yates was the No. 3 seed.

Sophomore Jake Sueflohn finished third at 149 pounds. He lost his semifinal match against No. 4 seed Cole VonOhlen of Air Force in an 11-9 decision. Sueflohn responded in the wrestleback bracket by winning an 8-4 decision over Cornell’s Christopher Villalonga before winning the third-place match against Ohio State’s Cam Tessari in a 7-5 decision.

Ridge Kiley earned a seventh-place result at 141 pounds. He opened his Saturday with a 7-3 decision over San Francisco State’s Naveed Bagheri in the wrestleback bracket. Kiley fell in his next match by a 3-0 decision against Harvard’s Steven Keith. In the seventh-place match, Kiley won a 9-5 decision over CSU-Bakersfield’s Timmy Box.

Sophomore James Green finished eighth at 157 pounds. He won his first match of the day against Cal Poly’s Kyle Chene in a 9-4 decision. He lost by medical default in his next two matches en route to his eighth-place finish. Caleb Kolb (197) lost his only match of the day, falling by a 10-2 major decision against Arizona State’s Jake Meredith.

On Friday, Skylar Wood (125) won a 5-2 decision over Cal Poly’s Evan McIrdy, but lost his next two matches, leading to his elimination. Shawn Nagel (133) and Austin Wilson (165) went 2-2, while Donny Longendyke (HWT) went 1-2.

Scouting the Arizona State Sun Devils
Arizona State is 5-1 on the season with a 13th place finish at last weekend’s Cliff Keen Invitational. The Sun Devils’ lone loss came on Nov. 11 against Bloomsburg, 18-16. Arizona State has victories against North Carolina, Campbell, The Citadel, CSU Bakersfield and Grand Canyon.

At the Cliff Keen Invitational, the Sun Devils were led by redshirt freshman Blake Stauffer (174) and senior Jake Meredith (197), who each finished third in their respective weight classes. Kevin Radford (184) added a seventh place finish.

The Sun Devils are coached by Shawn Charles, who is in his fourth year as head coach. An alum of Arizona State, Charles has won 25 matches in his time at the school.

Scouting the Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin is 3-2 on the season with a 14th place finish at last weekend’s Cliff Keen Invitational. The Badgers are 2-0 at home with victories over Hofstra and Northern Iowa. Wisconsin is 0-2 on the road with losses to Old Dominion and Virginia Tech. In addition, Wisconsin has a neutral-site victory over Campbell, 35-7.

The Badgers are led by nationally ranked wrestlers Tyler Graff (141) and Connor Medbery (HWT). Graff is ninth and Medbery is No. 14 in the country. At the Cliff Keen Invitational, Graff earned a third-place finish and Medbery took fifth. At 133 pounds, Tom Kelliher finished eighth and at 174, Scott Liegel took sixth.

Wisconsin is coached by Barry Davis, who is in his 19th year as head coach. Davis has won 191 matches in his time at Wisconsin.

Huskers in the Rankings
Nebraska has four wrestlers ranked in the top 10 of the latest InterMat poll, which was released on Dec. 4. Senior Josh Ihnen is ranked sixth at 184 pounds following his first-place finish at the Cliff Keen Invitational last weekend. Sophomore Robert Kokesh also won his weight division and is ranked eighth at 174 pounds. Fellow sophomores James Green and Jake Sueflohn are also in the top 10 following top eight showings in Las Vegas, Nev. Green is eighth at 157 pounds and Sueflohn is 10th at 149.

The WIN Magazine rankings were released on Dec. 3 and feature the same four wrestlers in its top 12. Ihnen and Kokesh are sixth in their respective weight classes, while Green is seventh and Sueflohn is 11th. In the Amateur Wrestling News poll, five wrestlers made the top 20. Ihnen leads the way at fifth as Kokesh and Green are each sixth at their weights. Sueflohn earned the No. 7 ranking at 149 pounds. Senior Ridge Kiley is ranked 20th at 141 pounds after a seventh-place finish at the Cliff Keen Invitational last weekend.

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, 14th in WIN Magazine and ninth in the NWCA poll.

Sophomores Showing Leadership
Sophomores James Green (157), Robert Kokesh (174) and Jake Sueflohn (149) are three of Nebraska’s four nationally ranked starters in InterMat’s most recent poll, which was released on Dec. 4. Green and Kokesh are eighth in their respective weight classes and Sueflohn is 10th.

Green is 12-2 on the season with a 5-0 mark in dual competition following an eighth-place finish at the Cliff Keen Invitational last weekend. Kokesh is 12-1 and leads all starters with five pins this season. He won the 174 weight class in Las Vegas, Nev., and holds a 4-1 record in duals. Sueflohn finished third at the Cliff Keen Invitational and has an 11-2 record in 2012-13. He is 2-1 in dual competition this 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. Fellow freshman Skylar Wood is expected to start at 125 this weekend against Arizona State and Wisconsin. Wood competed for the Huskers at last weekend’s 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 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. 

Wilson Stepping Up at 165
Redshirt freshman Austin Wilson has started four of Nebraska’s five duals so far this season and will start this weekend against Arizona State and Wisconsin. In what was considered the most competitive weight class heading into the season, Wilson has stepped up with a 3-1 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. 

Senior Ross Grande and junior Cody Compton were among the wrestlers competing for the starting position at the beginning of the season. Grande has posted an 8-4 record with a sixth-place finish at the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open and a third-place showing at the Nebraska-Kearney Holiday Inn Open. Compton has not wrestled this season.

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 seven matches against currently ranked teams in the NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll, released on Dec. 4.

The Huskers have already wrestled against No. 3 Minnesota and No. 20 Wyoming. NU fell against the Gophers, 27-7, in its home opener on Nov. 16. The Huskers defeated the Cowboys, 22-15, on Nov. 11 in Laramie, Wyo.

Nebraska will face No. 17 Maryland on Dec. 16 at Madison Square Garden. The match, which is part of the first annual 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 two additional top 15 teams in Lincoln. No. 12 Northwestern comes to town on Jan. 12 and No. 6 Illinois will wrestle against the Huskers on Jan. 18. Nebraska visits No. 1 Penn State on Jan. 27 and journeys to face No. 5 Iowa on Feb. 10. 

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, including both matches this weekend. Saturday’s contest against Arizona State as well as Sunday’s match with Wisconsin will be two of four upcoming home duals that will be streamed online. Additional home matches include the Jan. 18 match 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.

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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