Six of Nebraska’s wrestlers earned top-20 spots in their respective weight classes in InterMat’s preseason rankings, which were released on Tuesday.
Juniors Robert Kokesh (174), James Green (157) and Jake Sueflohn (149) are each ranked fourth heading into the 2013-14 season.
Kokesh enters the season after a third-place finish at last year’s NCAA Championships. The Wagner, S.D., native produced the second-most wins in a season by a sophomore in school history, with 38 victories. Kokesh led all starters last season in dual wins (15), dual points (63), pins (9) and major decisions (10). Kokesh also captured the Midlands Invitational and Cliff Keen Invitational crowns in addition to a third-place finish in the Big Ten Championships.
Green earns the No. 4 ranking following his second consecutive seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championships last season. The 157-pounder compiled a 25-6 record as a sophomore and finished second at the Big Ten Championships. In the offseason, the Willingboro, N.J., native won the ASICS University Freestyle title at 66 kg.
Sueflohn is ranked fourth following his second straight NCAA appearance in 2013. The 149-pounder went 24-7 last season and fell one win shy of All-America honors at the national tournament. Sueflohn finished second at the Big Ten Championships and third at the Cliff Keen Invitational.
Redshirt freshman Tim Lambert is ranked 10th at 125 pounds heading into the season. Last season Lambert won four open tournament titles as a redshirt in addition to a runner-up finish at the Harold Nichols Cyclone Open. The Forest Hills, Mich., native compiled a 19-3 record in 2012-13.
Newcomer Pat Downey makes an appearance in the rankings at 184 pounds, representing the No. 17 position. The freshman spent the last two years at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., winning the three most prestigious tournaments in the country. In addition, the Baltimore, Md., native won back-to-back state titles to complete his high school career.
2013 NCAA qualifier Austin Wilson is ranked 19th at 165 pounds. The sophomore went 27-14 during his first year in the NU lineup and managed a 7-4 dual record. Wilson, a Hastings, Neb., native, went 3-2 at the NCAA Championships.
As a team, Nebraska is ranked seventh in the InterMat preseason poll. Three-time defending national champion Penn State earned the top spot in the rankings as Big Ten foes Iowa and Minnesota round out the top three. Last season the Huskers finished 13th at the NCAA Championships with 38 points.
The Huskers open the 2013-14 campaign on Nov. 3 at the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open in Brookings, S.D. On Nov. 8, Nebraska hosts its annual Wrestle-Offs at the Bob Devaney Sports Center at 6 p.m. NU’s first home dual is scheduled for Nov. 17 at 1 p.m., against Northwestern at the Devaney Center.
Complete InterMat weight class and team rankings can be found at http://www.intermatwrestle.com/rankings/college/125.
InterMat Preseason Rankings (Oct. 8)
125: #10 Tim Lambert - RFr. (19-3)*
149: #4 Jake Sueflohn - Jr. (24-7)
157: #4 James Green - Jr. (25-6)
165: #19 Austin Wilson - So. (27-14)
174: #4 Robert Kokesh - Jr. (38-4)
184: #17 Pat Downey - Fr. (first season at Nebraska)
Last season’s record in parentheses
*- denotes redshirt from last season