Awards & Honors
- 2010 Nebraska Male Student-Athlete of the Year
- 109-21 Career Record
- 8th-Best Winning Percentage in School History (.838)
- 4th-Most Dual Wins in School History (63)
- Three-Time NCAA All-American (2008, 2009, 2010)
- Four-Time NCAA Championship Qualifier (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
- Nebraska 100-win Club
- 2009 Big 12 Champion
- 2009 Big 12 Championships Most Outstanding Wrestler
- 2009 NWCA All-Star Participant
- 2009 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Champion and Most Outstanding Wrestler
- 2010 Nebraska Most Outstanding Wrestler
- Four-Time Nebraska Wrestling Lifter of the Year (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
- 2006 Nebraska Wrestling Redshirt of the Year
- Four-Time Academic All-Big 12 First Team (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
- Seven-Time Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll (Fall 2007, 2008, 2009; Spring 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010)
- Four-Time NWCA All-Academic Team (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
- 2009-10 Dr. Prentice Gautt Postgraduate Scholarship
Brester dominated his first four opponents at the NCAA Championships before falling in the title round for the second-straight season to claim runner-up honors. After opening the tournament with his 11th pin of the season on Rider's Tyler Smith (2:59), Brester shut out his next three foes. He won major decisions against No. 14 Logan Brown of Purdue (8-0) and No. 7 Anthony Biondo of Michigan (9-0) to set up his semifinal match vs. third-seeded Hudson Taylor of Maryland. Brester was challenged through the final period, but earned an escape point with 19 seconds remaining to take the 1-0 victory. In the national championship match, Brester fell to No. 1 Jake Varner of Iowa State by a 5-2 decision.
Big 12 Championships
Brester cruised to a 6-1 semifinal victory over No. 6 Eric Lapotsky of Oklahoma to advance to the Big 12 championship match for the fourth consecutive year. In the finals, he met No. 1 Jake Varner of Iowa State and dropped a 5-2 decision.
Brester went 25-1 during the 2009-10 regular season, pinning 10 opponents to go along with three technical falls and five major decisions. He led the team in wins (25), dual points (86) and had NU's second-fastest fall of the season, pinning North Dakota State's Drew Ross in 41 seconds. On Jan. 24 vs. Oregon State, Brester became the 17th Husker in school history to win 100 matches with a 10-2 major decision over Chad Hanke.
In December, Brester was awarded for his outstanding performance as he was named Big 12 Wrestler of the Week by the league office for matches Dec. 7-13. It was the second Big 12 weekly award of his career, earning the honor after pinning Minnesota's Joe Nord (1:10) before defeating his fourth ranked opponent in a two-week stretch with an 8-2 decision over No. 9 Tyler Sorenson of South Dakota State. The week before, Brester claimed the 2009 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational championship and was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestlers.
Eighteen of Brester's 25 regular season victories came in bonus-point fashion. He had seven wins over ranked opponents, including three-straight in Big 12 duals over No. 15 Brent Haynes of Missouri, No. 6 Eric Lapotsky of Oklahoma and No. 8 Alan Gelogaev of Oklahoma State.
The top-seed at the tournament, Brester posted a 5-1 record to finish second. He opened with a 16-3 major decision over American's Charles Silber in the pigtail round, before claiming a 10-3 decision against Hofstra's Joe Fagiano. Brester posted a 14-5 major decision against No. 16 Jesse Strawn of Old Dominion and won his quarterfinal match 2-0 over No. 10 Cayle Byers of George Mason. In the semifinals, Brester claimed a 7-2 decision over fourth-seeded Tyrel Todd of Michigan, but lost a 2-1 decision to second-seeded Jake Varner of Iowa State in the final.
Big 12 Championships
The second-seeded Brester advanced to the final for the third consecutive year with a 15-4 major decision over Missouri's Max Askren in the semifinals, and claimed the title by knocking off top-seeded Jake Varner of Iowa State, 4-3, to earn Outstanding Wrestler honors.
Brester posted five falls in his first six matches en route to earning the title at the Kaufman-Brand Open on Nov. 22 and two dual wins. He followed with a 5-0 performance at the Las Vegas Invitational to claim the crown with two wins over ranked foes. He collected three major decision dual victories over opponents from Minnesota, Michigan and Northern Colorado. Brester suffered his first loss of the season to Iowa State's Jake Varner at National Duals, but posted a 3-1 mark to help Nebraska to a fourth-place finish.
Brester rebounded with six straight dual victories, including a 6-4 decision over No. 4 Max Askren to give NU a 16-15 win over Missouri on Jan. 31. Brester also posted a 5-2 decision over No. 11 Eric Lapotsky to propel NU over Oklahoma 18-15 on Feb. 8. He was 2-0 in dual-deciding matches during the season.
Ranked in the top two in the nation for the entire spring semester, Brester racked up bonus points in bunches for NU, finishing 34-4 on the year, including 18-3 in duals, with 23 of his 34 wins coming by bonus points. Three of his four losses on the season came at the hands of Varner. Brester had 12 major decisions, eight pins and three major decisions, while earning a 13-4 mark versus ranked opponents during the season.
Brester finished fourth with a 5-2 mark to claim his first All- America award. He opened with a resounding 17-0 technical fall of Army's Richard Starks and defeated Illinois' Patrick Bond 7-2 in the second round. Brester lost to top-seeded Josh Glenn of American in the quarterfinals, but reeled off three straight wins over Hofstra's Joe Rovelli, Missouri's Max Askren and Wisconsin's Jacob Herbst to advance to the third-place match. Brester took an early lead on Maryland's Hudson Taylor, but finished fourth after Taylor rallied to win in overtime.
Big 12 Championships
With his second straight second-place finish at the Big 12 Championships, Brester clinched his second consecutive berth to the national tournament.
The third-seeded Brester upset second-seeded Joel Flaggert of Oklahoma in the Big 12 semifinals with a 6-2 decision. Flaggert opened with a takedown two minutes into the first period, but it would be the only points he scored as Brester held him scoreless the rest of the match.
Brester dropped an 8-3 decision to top-seeded Max Askren of Missouri in the finals, but Brester would get revenge with a win over Askren at the NCAA Championships.
Brester began the season with five straight wins and a first-place finish at the Cowboy Open on Nov. 10, but a knee injury forced him to the sideline for the rest of November. He returned in December and picked up right where he left off, reeling off five more victories. Nine of Brester's first 10 wins were bonus-point affairs.
Brester suffered his first loss of the season at National Duals on Jan. 12, as he went 2-2 with losses to the No. 2 and No. 3 wrestlers in his weight class. Brester bounced back to end the regular season on a 10-2 run, including four straight pins at one point.
Brester ended his season with 12 of his final 13 matches against top 20 opponents. He went 8-4 against those ranked foes, with two of those losses to Missouri's Max Askren and one to No. 1 Josh Glenn of American.
Brester earned a 26-7 overall record and a 12-4 dual mark while amassing six pins, four technical falls and four major decisions. He was ranked in the top 10 in the nation for the entire season.
Brester was 2-2 in his first career trip to the NCAA Championships. Brester won his first-round match against David Mendoza of Old Dominion by major decision, 15-2. In the second round, Brester defeated former All-American Wynn Michalak of Central Michigan, 7-2. Brester was eliminated after suffering back-to-back losses by fall to Josh Glenn of American and J.D. Bergman of Ohio State.
Big 12 Championships
Highlighted by a dominant victory over fifth-ranked Joel Flaggert of Oklahoma, Brester clinched his first career bid to the NCAA Championships with a second-place finish at the Big 12 Championships. Brester throttled Flaggert by technical fall, 17-2, in the semifinals at 197 pounds to clinch a trip to nationals. In the finals, second-ranked Max Askren of Missouri defeated Brester, 5-3.
Brester earned a 19-7 record, including a 10-2 mark in dual competition. After a 2-2 performance at the Las Vegas Invitational on Dec. 1, Brester won nine straight dual matches. He debuted in the Huskers' dual lineup with five straight bonus-point wins.
Brester went undefeated at the National Duals, including victories over fourth-ranked Chris Weidman of Hofstra and No. 12 Nick Roy of Michigan. After entering the rankings for the first time at No. 19, Brester upset fifth-ranked Kurt Backes of Iowa State, 4-3, and dominated Jared Shelton of Oklahoma State in an 18-6 major decision win that saw Brester score eight takedowns. Brester closed the regular season with four straight wins, including a 3-0 mark in the final weekend with wins by fall and major decision.
Brester finished in the top three in four of his last five tournaments to wrap up a 23-9 season. Brester, who wrestled primarily at 174 pounds, earned the championship at the UNK Loper Open on Dec. 10 with a 4-0 showing. Brester finished third at the Oklahoma Open on Nov. 26. He reached the finals with three victories, including a win by major decision and another by technical fall.
After a 2-2 record at the UNI Open on Dec. 4, Brester captured the UNK Loper Open championship. On Jan. 7, Brester finished third at the Dana College Open, including three wins by fall and another by major decision. Two weeks later, Brester finished third at 184 pounds at the Brand Open in Omaha. Brester was dominant in the consolation bracket with wins by major decision and fall in his two matches.
Brester was a two-time state champion at Howells High School under Coach Lee Schroeder. Brester was a four-time state medalist and led Howells to a 2004 Class D state wrestling championship. He was 141-4 in his four-year wrestling career. He was also an all-state football player on a pair of state championship football teams at Howells and was an all-state performer. Brester was a member of both National Honor Society and the honor roll at Howells.
Born on Oct. 2, 1986, in Howells, Neb., Craig is the son of Dan and Denise Brester. He has three older sisters, Christy, Cheryl and Connie, and two younger brothers, Chad and Cory. He is a mechanized systems management major at Nebraska.
Brester's Career Statistics