The Huskers will face No. 11 Virginia in the first round on Sunday.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Look to Bounce Back at NWCA Duals

By NU Athletic Communications
NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals
No. 13 Nebraska (10-5, 4-4 Big Ten) vs. No. 11 Virginia (15-3, 4-1 ACC)
Newman Arena (Mat 2) • Ithaca, N.Y. • Sunday, Feb. 17 • Noon (CT)
Series History: Nebraska leads, 3-0-0
Last Meeting: Nebraska won, 31-10, on Jan. 9, 2004, in Hampton, Va.

The No. 13 Nebraska wrestling team heads to Ithaca, N.Y., for the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals presented by Hibiclens and The Marines on Sunday. The No. 3-seeded Huskers will face No. 2 seed Virginia (11th in NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll) in the Cornell Regional at noon (CT) on Mat 2 at Newman Arena.

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The winner of the dual between Virginia and Nebraska will face the winner of No. 1 seed Cornell and No. 4 seed Hofstra’s matchup, which also starts at noon. The winners will face off at 2 p.m. on Mat 1 and the losers will wrestle at the same time on Mat 2. The winner of the regional, as well as the winners of the Kent State, Missouri and Oregon State Regionals, will advance to the championship final Feb. 22-23 in Minneapolis. They will join Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Ohio State in the eight-team championship field.

The Huskers and Cavaliers have met three times in their histories, with Nebraska winning every time. NU won the last meeting, 31-10, on Jan. 9, 2004, in Hampton, Va. 

Nebraska trails in the all-time series against Cornell, 4-16-0, but the Huskers hold a 6-1-0 advantage over Hofstra. 

In Nebraska’s most recent outing, the Huskers fell on the road to No. 2 Iowa, 31-7. The Hawkeyes wrapped up the regular-season Big Ten title with the victory. Senior Josh Ihnen (184) and sophomore Jake Sueflohn (149) were the only Huskers to win their matches.

Last Time Out: Huskers Drop Dual at Iowa, 31-7
No. 13 Nebraska took an early 4-0 lead against No. 2 Iowa but fell by a 31-7 margin on Sunday , Feb. 10 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

With the loss, the Huskers fall to 10-5 on the season and 4-4 in Big Ten duals. The Hawkeyes improve to 18-1, with an 8-0 record in the Big Ten. Iowa won the regular season Big Ten title with the victory.

In the opening match of the afternoon, No. 11 Jake Sueflohn won a major decision over Iowa’s Brody Grothus, 8-0. Sueflohn has won nine of his last 11 matches and moves to 18-4 on the season. He is 9-3 in dual competition.

At 157 pounds, sophomore James Green suffered his third loss of the season in a 6-4 decision to undefeated No. 1 Derek St. John. Green, who is ranked No. 6 by InterMat, moves to 16-3 overall, with a 9-2 record in duals. At 165, redshirt freshman Austin Wilson was pinned in 6:41 by No. 13 Nick Moore. The Hawkeyes took their first lead of the match, 9-4, with the victory.

Sophomore Robert Kokesh suffered his second loss of the season at 174 pounds in a 9-6 decision against No. 4 Mike Evans. Kokesh’s loss snaps his 22-match winning streak as he falls to 27-2 on the season with a 13-2 dual mark.

No. 8 Josh Ihnen responded with a sudden victory over Iowa’s Grant Gambrall at 184 pounds. Ihnen, a senior, improves to 20-3 on the season, with a 12-3 dual mark. The Hawkeyes were deducted one point for unsportsmanlike conduct following the match and took an 11-7 lead into intermission.

Junior Caleb Kolb and No. 19 Nathan Burak battled to overtime following a 1-1 tie after three periods at 197 pounds. Burak held off Kolb in a 3-1 sudden victory to give Iowa a 14-7 lead. At heavyweight, Spencer Johnson fell by a 6-2 decision to No. 6 Bobby Telford. Johnson, a sophomore, falls to 4-5 on the season and 2-4 in duals.

At 125 pounds, Eric Coufal lost a 20-5 technical fall to No. 1 Matt McDonough. Junior Shawn Nagel was pinned in 4:05 at 133 pounds by No. 2 Tony Ramos. Both Hawkeye wrestlers are undefeated this season. In the final match, senior Ridge Kiley fell by a 6-1 decision to No. 8 Mark Ballweg.

Scouting the Virginia Cavaliers
No. 11 Virginia is 15-3 on the season and has a 4-1 record in the ACC. The Cavaliers have strung together six consecutive victories dating back to a 21-9 setback against Virginia Tech on Jan. 12. Virginia also lost to the Hokies on Nov. 25, 25-6, as part of a two-match losing streak. The Cavaliers also lost to Iowa, 26-12, on Nov. 16 following a six-match winning streak to start the season. Virginia finished seventh at the Cliff Keen Invitational and sixth at the Southern Scuffle. 

Virginia has two top-10 wrestlers in InterMat’s latest poll, which was released on Feb. 12. Nick Sulzer is No. 7 at 165 pounds and Matt Snyder is 10th at 125 pounds. George DiCamillo has the next-highest ranking at 13th at 133 pounds. Jedd Moore (No. 15 at 157) rounds out the top 15 wrestlers for the Cavaliers. Jon Fausey (16th at 174), Joe Spisak (No. 20 at 141) and Derek Valenti (20th at 149) are also ranked by InterMat.

Virginia is coached by Steve Garland, who is in his seventh year as head coach. Garland holds a 97-43 record.

Scouting the Hofstra Pride
Hofstra is 6-13 on the season and has a 3-2 record in the CAA. The Pride have won four of their last five duals since a 19-12 setback against Old Dominion at the CAA Duals on Jan. 19. Their lone loss during that stretch was against Cornell by a 30-15 margin. Hofstra opened the season on an 11-match losing streak, which included duals against Big Ten opponents Minnesota, Wisconsin, Purdue, Iowa and Ohio State. The Pride faced the Hawkeyes and Buckeyes at the Grapple at the Garden, falling by a combined score of 80-3.

Hofstra has two ranked wrestlers in InterMat’s latest poll. At 125 pounds, Steve Bonanno is ranked 17th with a 14-8 record on the season. Luke Vaith is No. 17 at 141 pounds with an 18-10 mark in 2012-13. Jermaine John (174) has 17 victories this season and Zeal McGrew (HWT) has 15.

Hofstra is coached by Rob Anspach, who is in his second year as head coach. Anspach holds an 18-16 record.

Scouting the Cornell Big Red
No. 10 Cornell is 12-3 on the season and has a 5-0 record in the Ivy League. The Big Red wrapped up their 13th consecutive conference title two weeks ago. Cornell is currently on a three-match winning streak, which followed a 23-20 loss to Oregon State on Jan. 27. The Big Red’s other two losses came at the Grapple at the Garden to Oklahoma State and Missouri. Cornell also wrestled at the Cliff Keen Invitational, where it finished third.

Cornell is led by undefeated No. 1 Kyle Dake at 165 pounds. The senior from Ithaca, N.Y., has posted 24 wins this season. Steve Bosak (No. 4 at 184) and Nahshon Garrett (No. 6 at 125) close out the top-10 for the Big Red. Mike Nevinger (No. 13 at 141) and Chris Villalonga (No. 14 at 149) are the other two members of the Big Red in InterMat’s latest poll.

Cornell is coached by Rob Koll, who is in his 20th year as head coach. Koll holds a 229-78-5 record.

Mat Mayhem Program Available This Weekend
The official event program for Mat Mayhem 2013 will be available for purchase this weekend at the four regional sites as well as in Minneapolis, Minn., Feb. 22-23. Nebraska will be competing this weekend in Ithaca, N.Y., along with Cornell, Hofstra and Virginia.

The Beast has produced a 48-page all-inclusive program with team rankings, individual rankings, team pages with this season’s dual results, probable line-ups, individual records, and wins/losses versus opponents also competing in this year’s NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals. The program is full color with action photos and all 20 teams are highlighted. This commemorative collector’s edition is only $10. For those unable to attend the event in person, they can contact to order their very own.

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.

Kokesh Eyeing 30 Wins
Sophomore Robert Kokesh (174) is three wins shy of his 30th of the season. Kokesh achieved the mark in 2011-12 and would become the 64th wrestler in Husker history to reach that number in one season. If he reaches 35 wins, he would move into the top 20 victories in a season by a Husker wrestler. If he earns his 32nd win, Kokesh will be in the top 10 season wins by a sophomore.

Kiley Keeping It Close
Senior Ridge Kiley (141) is 13-8 on the season with a 8-4 mark in duals. Of Kiley’s 21 matches, 18 have been decided by decision. All of his 13 wins are decisions and five of his eight 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.

Johnson Stepping In at Heavyweight
Sophomore Spencer Johnson moved up from 197 pounds to heavyweight this season and has competed for the Huskers in their last six duals. Johnson is 4-5 with a 2-4 dual record. 

Following a 1-1 showing against Michigan and Northwestern, Jan. 11-12, Johnson won a crucial 3-1 decision over Illinois’ Chris Lopez en route to a Nebraska victory on Jan. 18. In his last three matches, Johnson has lost to top 20 opponents for Penn State, Michigan State and Iowa.

Manning Closing In On 200 Career Victories
Nebraska Head Coach Mark Manning is three wins shy of the 200th of his career. Manning, who is in his 16th year as a head coach, holds a 197-94-5 record. He has spent over 12 seasons with Nebraska, where he is 174-70-3. Prior to coaching the Huskers, Manning spent three seasons with Northern Iowa, compiling a 23-24-2 record with the Panthers. 

Ihnen Climbing Up Wins List
Senior Josh Ihnen (184) is seven wins shy of the 100th of his career at Nebraska. Ihnen holds a 93-36 record in more than three years with the Huskers. He is 51-21 in dual competition. This season Ihnen is 20-3 overall with first-place showings at the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open and the Cliff Keen Invitational. He has a 12-3 record in duals and a 7-3 mark against ranked opponents.

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 Looks to Bounce Back
Robert Kokesh suffered his second loss of the season on Sunday while facing then-No. 4 Mike Evans of Iowa by a 9-6 decision. The loss snapped a 22-match winning streak in which the Wagner, S.D., native won the Midlands Invitational and Cliff Keen Invitational titles while defeated 11 ranked opponents. During the stretch, he earned Big Ten Co-Wrestler-of-the-Week honors on Jan. 2.

Kokesh leads all starters in victories (27), dual wins (13), dual points (56), pins (8) and major decisions (6). He is second on the team in technical falls with five on the season. 

Kokesh’s other loss came to then-No. 5 Logan Storley of Minnesota by a 3-1 sudden victory on Nov. 16.
Huskers in the Rankings
Nebraska has four wrestlers ranked in the top 10 of the latest InterMat poll, released on Feb. 12. Sophomore Robert Kokesh achieved the highest ranking on the team. He is fourth at 174 pounds following his second loss of the season in last weekend’s dual against Iowa. Fellow sophomore James Green is No. 6 at 157 pounds after his 6-4 loss to No. 1 Derek St. John. Jake Sueflohn jumped one spot to 10th at 149 pounds after an 8-0 major decision at Iowa. Senior Josh Ihnen retained his No. 8 ranking from last week at 184 pounds.

The WIN Magazine rankings were released on Feb. 11 and feature the same four Huskers in its poll. Kokesh leads the way at fourth, but Green is not far behind at No. 6 in his weight class. Ihnen rounds out the top 10 at seventh, while Sueflohn is No. 11.

In the Amateur Wrestling News poll, released on Feb. 12, all four Huskers achieved top 10 rankings. Kokesh dropped to No. 4 after being second last week. Green moved up to fifth despite his loss. Ihnen held on to the No. 7 ranking and Sueflohn improved to No. 9.

As a team, Nebraska is ranked 13th in the InterMat, WIN Magazine and 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 16-3 on the season with a 9-2 mark in dual competition. Kokesh is 27-2 and holds a 13-2 dual record. Sueflohn has an 18-4 record in 2012-13, which includes a 9-3 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 is 7-5 with a 2-3 dual mark, while Wilbourn is 11-3 with a 2-1 dual record and Johnson is 4-5 with a 2-4 record in dual competition.

The sophomore class leads the team with 37 individual dual victories from six different starters. The seniors are 21-11 on the season with four different Huskers appearing in the lineup. The two juniors who have competed have compiled an 11-18 record. The redshirt freshmen have started two different wrestlers and have won nine matches. Three freshmen have started and earned one victory.

Against the Hawkeyes, the seniors and sophomores each earned one victory to lead the team. The seniors lost one match while the sophomores lost three. The redshirt freshmen and freshmen each went 0-1, while the juniors compiled an 0-2 mark.

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 Saturday’s quarterfinals and now has 52 as a Husker. 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.

Huskers Working Through Challenging Schedule
Nebraska has faced a rigorous schedule this season and has at least two duals remaining as well as the Big Ten Championships and NCAA Championships. The Huskers have wrestled against seven teams that are currently ranked in the NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll, released on Feb. 12. Nebraska will face its eighth ranked opponent on Sunday against No. 11 Virginia.

NU has already wrestled against No. 2 Iowa, No. 3 Penn State, No. 4 Minnesota, No. 8 Illinois, No. 18 Wisconsin, No. 19 Michigan and No. 20 Wyoming. The Huskers have victories over the Fighting Illini, Wolverines and Cowboys, but have losses against the Hawkeyes, Nittany Lions, Golden Gophers and Badgers.

In addition, Maryland and Northwestern were ranked when Nebraska faced them earlier this season. NU lost to then-No. 18 Maryland on Dec. 16 at the Grapple at the Garden, but took down then-No. 18 Northwestern in Evanston, Ill., on Jan. 12.

The Huskers could potentially face No. 10 Cornell at the NWCA National Duals, depending on the outcome of CU’s match against Hofstra.

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.

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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