Seven Huskers will wrestle at the 2013 NCAA Championships.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Set for NCAA Championships

By NU Athletic Communications
2013 NCAA Championships
Wells Fargo Arena (16,110) • Des Moines, Iowa • March 21-23, 2013
Thursday, March 21
Session I - 11 a.m. (ESPN3)
Session II - 6:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
Friday, March 22
Session III - 10 a.m. (ESPNU/ESPN3)
Session IV - 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
Saturday, March 23
Session V - 10 a.m. (ESPNU)
Session VI - 7 p.m. (ESPN)
*All times Central

The Nebraska wrestling team concludes the 2012-13 campaign at the NCAA Championships, Thursday through Saturday, at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.

Session I (Pigtails and First Round) starts on Thursday at 11 a.m. (CT) and will be streamed on ESPN3. Thursday’s second session (Preliminaries and Second Round) begins at 6:30 p.m., and will also be on ESPN3. Friday’s action starts at 10 a.m., with Session III, which includes the quarterfinals and wrestlebacks. ESPNU and ESPN3 will provide coverage. Session IV (Semifinals and Wrestlebacks) commences at 6 p.m., and will be aired on ESPNU.

Session V (Medal Rounds) is set for Saturday at 10 a.m., on ESPNU. ESPN will broadcast Session VI (Championships Finals) starting at 7 p.m.

The Huskers will send seven wrestlers to the NCAA Championships. 2012 All-Americans James Green and Josh Ihnen are two of Nebraska’s four seeded competitors at this year’s tournament. Green is the No. 4 seed at 157 pounds and Josh Ihnen is the No. 8 seed at 184 pounds. Jake Sueflohn (No. 9 seed at 149) and Robert Kokesh (No. 4 seed at 174) are Nebraska’s other two seeded wrestlers.

Three Huskers will grapple as at-large selections at the NCAA Championships: Ridge Kiley (141), Austin Wilson (165) and Caleb Kolb (197). Kiley is making his third consecutive NCAA appearance, while Wilson and Kolb are each making their first.

Nebraska’s last competition came at the Big Ten Championships, where the Huskers finished seventh with 61 points. Sueflohn and Green appeared in the finals of each of their weight classes but lost by pin. Kokesh notched a third-place finish and Ihnen added a fourth-place result for the Huskers. Junior Shawn Nagel (133) battled his way to an eighth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships.

Last Time Out: Three Huskers Finish in Top Three at Big Ten Championships
Jake Sueflohn (149) and James Green (157) fell in their championship matches and Robert Kokesh (174) won his third-place match on Sunday, March 10 at the Big Ten Championships.

The Huskers finished seventh with 61 points. Penn State won the team championship for the third consecutive year with 151 points.

Sueflohn was pinned by Minnesota’s Dylan Ness, the No. 3-seed, in the finals at 149 pounds in 3:37. Sueflohn, a sophomore, entered the match after winning a pair of decisions on Saturday over Andrew Alton and Ian Paddock. He is 22-5 on the season following his second-place finish.

Green also took runner-up honors after being pinned in 6:38 by No. 2-seed Jason Welch of Northwestern at 157 pounds. On Saturday, Green defeated Indiana’s Taylor Walsh before upsetting No. 1 Derek St. John of Iowa in the semifinals. Green is 20-4 this season.

Kokesh won two matches on Sunday en route to a third-place finish at 174 pounds. The sophomore posted a 10-1 major decision over Michigan’s Dan Yates before his rematch against Jordan Blanton of Illinois. Kokesh trailed sixth-seeded Blanton 3-2 before a reversal with 13 seconds remaining that secured the 4-3 victory. He is 33-3 on the season and entered the top-10 season wins by a Husker sophomore on Sunday.

Senior Josh Ihnen (184) won a 3-0 decision over Ohio State’s CJ Magrum but lost an 8-1 decision to Iowa’s Ethen Lofthouse to finish fourth. Ihnen went 3-2 at the Big Ten Championships to climb within three wins of the 100th of his career. He is 24-6 this season.

Junior Shawn Nagel faced Michigan’s Rossi Bruno in a rematch of his first-round loss on Saturday at 133 pounds. Nagel fell again, this time by a 5-2 decision to finish eighth.

Eric Coufal (125), Ridge Kiley (141), Austin Wilson (165), Caleb Kolb (197) and Spencer Johnson (HWT) each lost both of their matches on Saturday en route to elimination.

Seven Huskers Qualify for NCAA Championships
Seven Husker wrestlers qualified for the 2013 NCAA Championships following Austin Wilson’s addition to the field on Friday, March 15.

2012 All-American James Green will be making his second NCAA appearance at 157 pounds after a runner-up finish at the Big Ten Championships. The sophomore is the No. 4 seed and will face Missouri’s Kyle Bradley in the first round. Green is 20-4 this season and compiled an 11-2 dual record.

Robert Kokesh (174) also earned a No. 4 seed and will wrestle Penn’s Ian Korb in the first round. Kokesh, a sophomore, qualified for the 2012 NCAA Championships at 165 pounds and went 2-2. He leads the Huskers in several categories, including victories (33), dual wins (15), pins (8) and major decisions (9). Kokesh finished third at the Big Ten Championships.

Senior Josh Ihnen will be making his fourth NCAA appearance after finishing eighth at 184 pounds last season. He is the No. 8 seed after a fourth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships and is set to grapple NDSU’s MacKain Stoll in the first round. Ihnen is 24-6 and leads the team in technical falls with six in 2012-13.

Sophomore Jake Sueflohn will be the No. 9 seed at 149 pounds after a 22-5 season. Sueflohn earned runner-up honors at the Big Ten Championships and will face Pittsburgh’s Ronnie Garbinsky in the first round of the NCAA Championships. Sueflohn is making his second NCAA appearance after going 1-2 last season at 141 pounds.

Three Huskers earned at-large berths to the NCAA Championships: Ridge Kiley (141), Austin Wilson (165) and Caleb Kolb (197). Kiley, a senior, will make his third consecutive NCAA appearance, facing No. 10-seed Charles Cobb of Penn in the first round. Wilson, a redshirt freshman, will face Missouri’s Zach Toal in the first round. Kolb, a junior, will wrestle No. 4-seed Alfonso Hernandez of Wyoming in the opening round.

Last year at the NCAA Championships, Nebraska tied for 21st with 28 points. Eight Huskers qualified for the tournament as Ihnen and Green earned All-America honors.

Husker Wrestling NCAA Qualifiers
141: Ridge Kiley (at-large)
149: #9 Jake Sueflohn (2nd at Big Ten)
157: #4 James Green (2nd at Big Ten)
165: Austin Wilson (at-large)
174: #4 Robert Kokesh (3rd at Big Ten)
184: #8 Josh Ihnen (4th at Big Ten)
197: Caleb Kolb (at-large)

Husker History at the NCAA Championships
Nebraska has finished in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships 18 times, including back-to-back fourth-place showings in 2008 and 2009. The program’s top finish at the NCAA Championships is third in 1993. 126-pound national champion Tony Purler led a six-man contingent of Husker All-Americans in 1993, including eventual Olympic gold medalist Rulon Gardner. The six All-Americans also set a record for most All-America honors by NU in one year. The 1993 team was the third of five teams in a seven-year period that finished in the top 10 at nationals. 

Nine of NU’s 18 top-10 finishes have come in the last 20 years, including three top-five finishes under Head Coach Mark Manning. The Huskers have 91 total All-Americans, including 11 national champions and 22 NCAA finalists. Nebraska’s last national champion was Jordan Burroughs (165) in 2011.

2012 NCAA Championships Review
James Green and Josh Ihnen earned All-American honors to lead Nebraska to a tie for 21st at the 2012 NCAA Championships in St. Louis, Mo. 

Green (157) finished seventh with a 4-2 record in the tournament to cap his freshman season. Ihnen (184) finished eighth after a knee injury in the consolation bracket.

Tucker Lane (HWT), James Nakashima (197), Robert Kokesh (165), Tyler Koehn (174), Jake Sueflohn (141) and Ridge Kiley (133) competed in the tournament but did not place. Nakashima advanced to the semifinals before dropping two straight matches. Lane lost his first-round match but responded with three consecutive wins in the consolation bracket before falling. 

Kolb, Wilson Making First NCAA Appearances
Junior Caleb Kolb (197) and redshirt freshman Austin Wilson (165) are each making their first appearance in the NCAA Championships in 2013. 

Kolb is 16-17 this season, which included a 7-10 dual record. He earned two pins and notched two major decisions during the 2012-13 campaign. He was one of three Huskers to appear in every dual for Nebraska this season along with Robert Kokesh (174) and Josh Ihnen (184).

Wilson holds a 24-12 record and compiled a 7-4 dual mark. The redshirt freshman pinned two opponents this season to go along with four technical falls and four major decisions. 

Ihnen Seeking 100th Win
Senior Josh Ihnen (184) is three wins shy of the 100th of his career at Nebraska. Ihnen holds a 97-39 record in more than three years with the Huskers. He is 52-22 in dual competition. This season Ihnen is 24-6 overall with first-place showings at the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open and the Cliff Keen Invitational. He is 9-6 against ranked opponents and finished the dual season at 13-4.

Last season Ihnen earned All-America accolades following a 26-8 record. He went 16-3 in duals and posted eight major decisions in his junior season. As a sophomore in 2010-11, Ihnen went 28-10 with a 14-5 dual record. During his redshirt-freshman season, he compiled a 19-15 record, going 10-10 in duals. In both 2010 and 2011, Ihnen fell one match short of a top-eight finish at the NCAA Championships before finishing eighth in 2012.

Kokesh Eyeing a Spot on Top 20 Season Wins List
Sophomore Robert Kokesh (174) is two wins shy of his 35th of the season, which would move him into the top 20 season victories by a Husker. At the Big Ten Championships, Kokesh became the 64th wrestler in Husker history to win 30 matches in a season and entered the top-10 season wins by a sophomore when he picked up his 32nd.

Wilson Approaching Top 10 Freshman Wins List
Redshirt freshman Austin Wilson is four wins shy of a spot in the top 10 season victories by a Husker freshman. Wilson is 24-12 and would tie John Buxton (1989-90) and Matt Keller (2003-04) for 10th if he reaches 28 victories.

Sueflohn Nearing 50-Win Mark
Sophomore Jake Sueflohn (149) is three wins shy of the 50th of his career. Sueflohn is 47-16 in nearly two seasons with Nebraska. He is 22-5 this season with 11 dual wins and five major decisions. Last season as a true freshman, Sueflohn went 25-11 with a 13-4 dual record.

Kiley Keeping It Close
Senior Ridge Kiley (141) is 14-11 on the season with a 9-5 mark in duals. Of Kiley’s 25 matches, 22 have been decided by decision. All of his 14 wins are decisions and eight of his 11 losses are by decision. He has lost two major decisions and was pinned once. Eight of Kiley’s matches have been decided by three points or less. He holds a 5-3 record in those matches.

Kokesh Looks to Keep Momentum Going
Robert Kokesh has won 28 of his last 30 matches and will look to continue that stretch at the NCAA Championships. The sophomore went 4-1 at the Big Ten Championships en route to a third-place finish. Kokesh won the Midlands Invitational and Cliff Keen Invitational titles while defeating 14 ranked opponents over the timeframe. He earned Big Ten Co-Wrestler-of-the-Week honors on Jan. 2.

Kokesh leads all starters in victories (33), dual wins (15), dual points (63), pins (8) and major decisions (9). He is second on the team in technical falls with five on the season. 

Huskers Complete Challenging Dual Slate
Nebraska completed its 2012-13 dual season with an 11-6 record following the NWCA National Duals on Feb. 17. The Huskers wrestled against 10 teams that are ranked in the final NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll of the season, which was released on Feb. 26.

NU defeated No. 8 Illinois, No. 13 Virginia, No. 18 Michigan, No. 23 Wyoming and No. 25 Rutgers, but lost to No. 1 Minnesota, No. 3 Penn State, No. 5 Iowa, No. 9 Cornell and No. 24 Maryland. In addition, Northwestern was ranked 18th when Nebraska defeated the Wildcats, 25-12, on Jan. 12.

The Huskers went 4-4 in Big Ten duals, with a win over Michigan State and a loss to Wisconsin in addition to the 3-3 record against the ranked conference teams listed above. Nebraska went 5-2 at home in its final season at the NU Coliseum, while compiling a 4-3 record on the road and a 2-1 mark at neutral sites. Two of NU’s neutral matches took place at the Grapple at the Garden, Dec. 16, when it took down Rutgers before losing to Maryland. The third neutral match for Nebraska was a 28-8 victory over Virginia at the NWCA National Duals in Ithaca, N.Y.

Nebraska’s longest winning streak of the season was three matches, which the Huskers achieved twice. NU never lost back-to-back matches during the season. Nebraska’s 11 wins in 2012-13 is tied for the 24th-most in school history, which spans 93 seasons. 

Wilson’s Pin Caps Final Dual at Coliseum
In the final dual at the NU Coliseum, redshirt freshman Austin Wilson (165) pinned Michigan State’s Nick Proctor en route to a 23-19 Husker victory on Friday, Feb. 1. 

The Huskers trailed heading into the final match against the Spartans, 19-17, before Wilson’s fall in 3:45. He faced an 0-2 deficit in the second period against Proctor before a takedown that led to the pin, his second of the season. The Coliseum crowd of 1,742 erupted following the win.

The NU Coliseum has provided Husker teams with a distinct home advantage for more than 80 years. Located in the heart of campus right next to Memorial Stadium, the Coliseum provides the Huskers a thrilling match-day environment for all of their home matches. A perfect setting for college wrestling, the Coliseum was home to the National Duals from 1993 to 1997, and host to the 2009 Big 12 Championships when Nebraska claimed a share of the conference title. The Huskers will move into the Bob Devaney Sports Center starting next season.
Huskers in the Rankings
Nebraska has four wrestlers ranked in the top 10 of the latest InterMat poll, released on March 12. Sophomore  James Green achieved the highest ranking on the team as the No. 2 wrestler at 157 pounds. Robert Kokesh dropped to sixth at 174 pounds after being fourth in the previous poll. Josh Ihnen (184) retained his No. 8 ranking and Jake Suefohn (149) moved up to No. 9.

The WIN Magazine rankings were released on March 11 and feature the same four Huskers in its poll. Kokesh and Green are each fourth in their respective weight classes. Sueflohn jumped to ninth after being No. 11 in the previous poll, while Ihnen dropped to No. 12.

In the Amateur Wrestling News poll, released on March 12, all four Huskers achieved top 10 rankings. Green is third to lead the way for NU. Kokesh is No. 6, while Sueflohn and Ihnen each earned the No. 8 ranking in their respective weight classes.

As a team, Nebraska is ranked 12th in the InterMat poll, 13th by WIN Magazine and 12th in the NWCA/USA Today Coaches rankings. 

Sophomores Leading the Way
Sophomores James Green (157), Robert Kokesh (174) and Jake Sueflohn (149) are three of Nebraska’s four nationally ranked starters in InterMat’s latest poll. The trio of sophomores are all in the top 10 of their respective weight classes and all qualified for the NCAA Championships last season.

Green is 20-4 on the season with an 11-2 mark in dual competition. Kokesh is 33-3 and completed the dual season with a 15-2 record. Sueflohn has a 22-5 record in 2012-13, which includes an 11-3 mark in duals.

Fellow sophomores Skylar Galloway (141), Brandon Wilbourn (157) and Spencer Johnson (HWT) have also appeared in the NU lineup this season. Galloway went 7-5 with a 2-3 dual mark, while Wilbourn finished at 17-3 with a 3-1 dual record and Johnson completed the season at 6-7 with a 4-4 record in dual competition.

The sophomore class led the team with 46 individual dual victories from six different starters. The seniors went 23-14 on the season with four different Huskers appearing in the lineup. The two juniors who competed compiled an 13-20 record. The redshirt freshmen started two different wrestlers and won nine matches. Three freshmen started and earned one victory.

Kokesh Earns Weekly Big Ten Honor, Jan. 2
Sophomore Robert Kokesh earned Big Ten Co-Wrestler-of-the-Week accolades with Northwestern’s Jason Welch, the conference announced on Wednesday, Jan. 2.

Kokesh took home the Midlands Invitational title at 174 pounds on Sunday, Dec. 30, winning six matches to extend his winning streak to 17 and improve his record to 22-1 on the season. The Wagner, S.D. native outscored his opponents 46-7 and added two pins to extend his number to eight on the season. He won two more of his matches by major decision and one by technical fall in addition to his pins.

Kokesh earned the 50th win of his collegiate career in the quarterfinals. He led the Nebraska wrestling team to a tie-for-15th place finish at the Midlands Invitational with the individual crown.

Kokesh was the last Husker to win Big Ten Wrestler of the Week when he took home the honor on Dec. 13, 2011.

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.

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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