Juniors James Green (157) and Robert Kokesh (174) each collected All-America honors for the second consecutive season to lead Nebraska to an 11th-place finish at the NCAA Championships. The Huskers earned 43.5 points at the national tournament at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Green picked up his third All-America accolade by taking third place at 157 pounds. He breezed through the first two rounds with major decisions before being pinned by No. 9 seed Dylan Ness of Minnesota. Green responded in the consolation bracket by reeling off four consecutive bonus-point victories. He finished the 2013-14 campaign with a 35-2 record.
Kokesh also opened his appearance with a pair of major decisions before a heartbreaker in the quarterfinals to sixth-seeded Logan Storley of Minnesota, 6-4. In the consolation bracket, Kokesh defeated Illinois’ Tony Dallago, 8-2, but suffered a torn ACL in the match. Kokesh won two more matches before falling to Storley again in the third-place match by a 3-1 margin in tiebreaker 1. Kokesh earned his second All-America honor and finished the season with a 37-3 mark.
Five additional Huskers qualified for the NCAA Championships, but fell short of All-America status. Junior Jake Sueflohn went 2-2 at the tournament at 149 pounds to finish the season at 31-6. He made his third NCAA Championships appearance.
Sophomore 165-pounder Austin Wilson made his second showing at the NCAA Championships, going 1-2. His consolation win over Missouri’s Zach Toal was bookended by losses to top-10 seeded opponents.
A trio of redshirt freshman qualified for the NCAA Championships: Tim Lambert (125), TJ Dudley (184) and Collin Jensen (HWT). Lambert managed a 2-2 record in his first NCAA appearance. Dudley opened with a major decision before suffering back-to-back losses. Jensen fell in both of his matches in Oklahoma City.
During the dual season, Nebraska compiled a 12-2 record, going 6-2 in the Big Ten. The Huskers were one win shy of a three-way tie for first in the conference. The two losses on the season tie the fewest by Nebraska in a season under Head Coach Mark Manning, who completed his 14th year.
The Huskers opened 2013-14 at the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open on Nov. 3 in Brookings, S.D. Kokesh, Green and Jensen each captured titles to lead the way for Nebraska, while Lambert, Sueflohn and Anthony Abidin (141) took second place in their respective weight classes.
On Nov. 17, Nebraska competed in its first dual of the season, hosting No. 19 Northwestern at the newly renovated Bob Devaney Sports Center after years of competing at the NU Coliseum. True freshman Colton McCrystal (133) won a 7-6 overtime decision in his first appearance in the NU lineup. Five additional Huskers posted victories, including Dudley, who pinned the Wildcats’ Jacob Berkowitz in 3:42. Despite losing the final two bouts of the dual, Nebraska posted a 25-16 triumph over Northwestern.
The following weekend, Manning picked up his 200th career victory in his home state when the Huskers cruised to a 36-6 win over South Dakota State in Brookings, S.D. Fellow South Dakota natives Kokesh and Jensen each earned pins for Nebraska as the nine Huskers posted victories.
The Huskers swept the Stanford Duals on Nov. 30 in Stanford, Calif., defeating Utah Valley, No. 18 Stanford and CSU-Bakersfield by a combined score of 106-18. In the opening dual, the Huskers split the first four matches against Utah Valley before adding bonus points in five of the last six matches for a 36-6 victory.
Nebraska also faced a tie after four matches against the Cardinal, but Sueflohn and Green notched major decisions and Kokesh earned a technical fall to help NU take down Stanford, 28-12. Abidin added a pin at 141 pounds. Against CSU-Bakersfield, Kokesh and Dudley’s pins led the way of seven Huskers winning by bonus points in a 42-0 shutout of the Roadrunners.
After completing November with a perfect 5-0 dual record, the Huskers spent December at a pair of tournaments in Nevada. At the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, Dec. 6-7, Green won the 157-pound title to lead the Huskers to a runner-up finish. Kokesh, Abidin, Sueflohn and Dudley each advanced to the finals before ultimately falling. For Kokesh, the loss against top-ranked Andrew Howe of Oklahoma marked his first of the season after a 14-0 start.
Kokesh came back two weeks later, along with Green and Sueflohn, to capture weight class titles at the Reno Tournament of Champions on Dec. 22. Nebraska finished first at the tournament with 159 points. Lambert and Wilson added second-place finishes at 125 and 165 pounds, respectively.
The Huskers opened the 2014 slate by hosting four duals, the first of which came against Wyoming on Jan. 3. Nebraska trailed the Cowboys 12-9 after five matches before reeling off five consecutive wins to close out the dual with a 26-12 win. Ranked wrestlers Sueflohn, Green, Wilson, Kokesh and Dudley earned victories during the closing run. Jensen and McCrystal won in the second and fourth matches, respectively.
The following weekend, Indiana and Penn came to Lincoln, but the Huskers won both duals to improve to 8-0 on the season. McCrystal and Dudley each earned pins against the Hoosiers in a 30-10 rout on Jan. 10. Sueflohn, Green, Kokesh and Spencer Johnson (197) won decisions, while Lambert notched a forfeit victory.
On Jan. 11, Nebraska topped Penn, 30-9, in front of 2,746 fans in the first-ever “Tumble N Rumble” event, which occurred simultaneously with the women’s gymnastics meet against Northern Illinois. After dropping the first match, Jensen, Lambert and Shawn Nagel (133) produced victories in the next three to build a 10-3 advantage. Sueflohn and Kokesh earned pins, while Green added a technical fall and Dudley notched a decision to finish off the Quakers.
No. 3 Iowa wrestled Nebraska on Jan. 18 in front of a school-record 3,946 fans at the Devaney Center. Despite the Hawkeyes handing the Huskers their first loss of the season, 22-9, Green stole the show with his 9-7 decision over top-ranked defending national champion Derek St. John. With his win, Green improved to 22-0 on the season and ascended to the No. 1 spot at 157 pounds in every major NCAA wrestling poll the following week. He also collected USA Wrestling Athlete of the Week and Flowrestling.com’s Brute Wrestler-of-the-Week Award after the win.
Sueflohn and Kokesh also managed victories against ranked Hawkeyes in the dual. Sueflohn defeated then-No. 13 Brody Grothus, 5-2, while Kokesh notched a 7-3 decision over then-No. 6 Mike Evans.
Following its four-match home stand, Nebraska traveled to Columbus, Ohio on Jan. 24 and West Lafayette, Ind., on Jan. 26 to close out January against a pair of ranked Big Ten foes. Seven Huskers posted victories against No. 11 Ohio State en route to a 28-12 win over the Buckeyes. Lambert and Dudley each pinned ranked opponents, while Green added bonus points with a major decision.
NU’s momentum continued two days later as the Huskers picked up their 10th win of the season in a 28-9 triumph over No. 21 Purdue. Eight Huskers, led by Nagel’s pin over then-14 Cashe Quiroga, managed wins against the Boilermakers. Kokesh won by major decision in the final bout of the night.
The Huskers opened February in Champaign, Ill., against 17th-ranked Illinois, and went home with a 22-13 win over the Fighting Illini. Sueflohn, Green, Kokesh and Dudley helped Nebraska build a 15-4 lead at the halfway point of the dual, as Jensen and McCrystal (141) fended off a late Illini rally. Caleb Kolb (197) and Lambert each battled to extra time in their respective matches before falling.
Nebraska returned home for its Feb. 7 Senior Night dual against No. 11 Michigan in front of 2,667 fans at the Devaney Center. Seniors Kolb, Nagel and Adam Joseph were honored before the match. The Huskers and Wolverines split the 10 matches, but Michigan edged NU on technical points, 56-52, to end Nebraska’s chance at a share of the Big Ten regular-season title. Sueflohn, Green and Kokesh helped the Huskers cut the lead to 12-10 after NU dropped the first three bouts. Dudley managed a sudden victory over then-16 Dominic Abounader and Kolb won a 5-4 decision over Chris Heald to give Nebraska a four-point lead before falling at heavyweight.
Two weeks later, the Huskers bounced back by knocking off No. 15 Wisconsin, 22-15, in Madison, Wis., in the final dual of the season. Nagel earned a pin to lead five Huskers who posted victories against the Badgers. Sueflohn, Wilson, Kokesh and Dudley also helped propel Nebraska to victory. At 157 pounds, Green suffered his first loss of the season after a 26-0 start. Seventh-ranked Isaac Jordan won in sudden victory 2 over the top-ranked Husker.
Green responded at the Big Ten Championships, March 8-9, by taking home the title with another win over St. John in the finals. Kokesh also claimed a conference crown with his victory over Evans as the pair became the first Huskers to ever win Big Ten titles since NU joined the conference in 2011. Kokesh’s victory marked the 100th of his career.
Sueflohn advanced to the finals at 149 pounds, but fell by decision to Northwestern’s Jason Tsirtsis in the title match. Lambert finished fifth at 125 pounds, while Wilson took sixth at 165 pounds. The Huskers finished fifth as a team with 79 points.