Huskers Host Lehigh for First Home Dual

By NU Athletic Communications
Levi Wofford and the Huskers face a challenging weekend.
Levi Wofford and the Huskers face a challenging weekend.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Dual No. 2: No. 14 Nebraska vs. Lehigh
Date: Friday, Nov. 16
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: NU Coliseum
Live Stats:
Live Webcast:

Tournament No. 2: No. 14 Nebraska at Kaufman-Brand Open
Host School: University of Nebraska-Omaha
Date: Saturday, Nov. 17
Time: 9 a.m.
Location: Sapp Fieldhouse, Omaha, Neb.
Live Stats:

Special Event: No. 1 Paul Donahoe at NWCA All-Star Classic
Host School: University of Oregon
Date: Monday, Nov. 19
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: McArthur Court, Eugene, Ore.
Live Webcast:
Television: College Sports Television (Tape-Delayed)

Nebraska Begins Home Schedule with Lehigh
The coming weekend may be a good indicator of how the Nebraska wrestling team will fare this season. NU hosts their first dual of the the year as the Huskers welcome Lehigh (0-1) to the NU Coliseum on Friday at 7:30 p.m and travel to the talent-filled Kaufman-Brand Open in Omaha on Saturday. Friday night’s matchup is one of only four home duals for NU during the 2007-08 campaign as the Huskers feature another tough schedule this season, while Saturday’s Kaufman-Brand Open is the largest single-day collegiate meet in the nation. Action begins at 9 a.m. in Omaha at the Sapp Fieldhouse as nearly all of NU 31’s wrestlers will see action. Junior Paul Donahoe will also face a tough early test as he travels to Eugene, Ore. for the All-Star Classic on Monday. He will face No. 4 Jayson Ness of Minnesota.

Last Time Out: Huskers Claim Six Titles at Cowboy Open
The Husker wrestling team wrapped up its weekend trip to Wyoming by claiming six individual titles at the Cowboy Open in Laramie on Saturday, including five first-place finishes in the elite division.

After a 47-0 dual win over Wyoming on Friday night, Nebraska continued its early-season success in its first tournament of the 2007-08 campaign. Five Huskers won the elite division of their weight class, including Jordan Burroughs (149), Chris Oliver (157), Stephen Dwyer (165), Brandon Browne (174) and Craig Brester (197). Freshman Tucker Lane added NU’s final title by winning the heavyweight class of the amateur division.

Burroughs highlighted the day with a dominating performance at 149 pounds. Burroughs, a sophomore, recorded three straight major-decision victories to enter the finals and nearly added another major decision as he capped the day with a 13-7 decision over Adam Hall of Boise State. Burroughs had plenty of competition for the spotlight. Fellow sophomore Craig Brester pinned his first two opponents in 55 seconds and 1:43 and added a 16-1 technical fall to advance to the finals. Brester used a 10-4 decision over Josh Majerus of Chadron State College to win his class.

Junior Chris Oliver also racked up a pin, his coming in the second round in 1:08 against Noomis Jones of Adams State, as he won the 157 pound class with a 2-1 decision in the finals. Sophomore Stephen Dwyer notched two major decisions before winning a 3-1 overtime match against Eric Coxbill of Wyoming on his way to winning at 165. After sitting out the 2006-07 campaign, junior Brandon Browne shook off the rust with a 13-1 major-decision win in the finals to claim the 174-pound title.

Scouting Lehigh (0-1, 0-0 EIWA)
Lehigh lost its season-opening dual to No. 20 Pittsbrugh, 24-9, but the Mountain Hawks may be a team ready to excel. LU tied for 38th at the NCAA Championships last year, but return all five qualifiers, including six starters. Lehigh’s probable starting lineup for Friday includes six freshmen or sophomores and only two seniors. Several observers are noticing Lehigh’s potential also as WIN Magazine has ranked the Mountain Hawks No. 22 and, although they are not ranked by the NWCA, they have received votes.

Lehigh’s probable starting lineup includes two wrestlers that have climbed into the rankings. Senior Dave Nakasone (157) earns the No. 17 spot according to Amateur Wrestling News after qualifying for his first NCAA Tournament last season. Nakasone went 1-2 at nationals, but both losses came to eventual All-Americans. Sophomore David Craig (184) is the highest ranked Mountain Hawk, ranked No. 12 by Amateur Wrestling News, No. 11 by Intermat and No. 7 be WIN Magazine. Craig will lead Lehigh this season after going 3-2 last year at nationals and reaching the round of 16 as a true freshman at LU.

Husker History vs. Lehigh
Lehigh is one of a limited number of schools that hold a winning record against the Huskers, as the Mountain Hawks have a 3-2-0 advantage. The series has an interesting history. All five previous meetings between the two squads have come outside of Lincoln, as Friday’s matchup will be the first time in school history the Huskers have hosted Lehigh.

Nebraska first faced off against LU on Jan., 11, 1939 and lost 22-10. The rivalry took an extended hiatus for 62 years, until NU visited Lehigh in 2001 and again suffered another loss, 24-18. The Mountain Hawks added their third victory against NU at the Virginia Duals in 2003, 34-7, but the Huskers have rolled off two consecutive victories over LU, including a 25-13 win in 2004 at the Virginia Duals.

Last year’s matchup saw the 19th-ranked Huskers win five of the first six matches and never look back on their way to a 27-15 win over No. 23 Lehigh. The win clinched at least a .500 season, the fifth straight for Nebraska and the 17th in the last 18 years.

In last year’s dual, after a fall at 133 pounds gave NU a six-point deficit, Nebraska reeled off five straight wins, starting with Dominick Moyer’s 9-2 victory at 141 pounds over Matt Ciasulli in the night’s only match featuring a pair of ranked wrestlers. At 149 pounds, Jordan Burroughs put the Huskers in front with a 19-3 win by technical fall over Jeff Santo. Chris Oliver continued his strong wrestling with a 15-5 major decision triumph over Dave Nakasone at 157 pounds. Stephen Dwyer followed at 165 pounds with a 5-1 win over Manuel Schubert.

Marc Harwood continued the run at 174 pounds, defeating Dave Helfrich, 7-4. Harwood clinched the dual with a three-point near fall late in the third period to break a 4-4 tie. The win by Harwood gave Nebraska an 18-6 lead with four matches remaining. After a setback at 184 pounds, Craig Brester clinched the dual for Nebraska with his pin of Matt Cassidy 1:10 into their match at 197 pounds. The pin gave the Huskers a 24-10 lead with just two matches to go.

With the dual decided, a loss at heavyweight cut Nebraska’s lead to 24-15 with one match left, before Paul Donahoe finished the dual with a thrilling 10-8 win over Matt Fisk at 125 pounds.

Scouting the Kaufman-Brand Open
The Kaufman-Brand Open, hosted by the University of Nebraska-Omaha has been the nation’s largest single-day collegiate meet in the nation for several years. This year, a total of 42 teams are expected to enter approximately 650 wrestlers in the meet.

The open attracts a talented field from all levels of wrestling. Teams entered include Big 12 Conference foes Iowa State and Oklahoma State, while the U.S. Olympic Training Center will send a squad. A range of strong teams from around the region attending include Division II schools such as Augustana College (S.D.) and Minnesota State-Mankato. Host school UNO has a strong wrestling history including a national championship two year ago. Division III will also be well represented by Wartburg and Wisconsin-LaCrosse.

The first matches get underway at 9 a.m. in two divisions, an open and one for 20 and under competitors. The meet will proceed, with no set times for semifinals or finals, until its conclusion.

Last Year at the Kaufman-Brand Open
Mike Rowe won the 133-pound elite bracket championship and Matt Vacanti won the 125-pound amateur bracket title to lead the way for the 15 Nebraska wrestlers who placed at the 2006 Kaufman-Brand Open on Saturday at Sapp Fieldhouse in Omaha, Neb.

No team scoring was kept, but half of the 30 wrestlers Nebraska sent to the event placed. The tournament, which featured Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Minnesota and hosted by Division II national champion Nebraska-Omaha, is the largest one-day tournament in the nation with 37 teams participating.

On his way to the championship, Rowe won four matches, including one by fall over Brad Neitenbach of Oklahoma State in the second round. Rowe clinched the championship with a win by medical forfeit over the OSU’s Coleman Scott. Vacanti was dominant on his way to the championship in the 125-pound amateur bracket. He won his first three matches in the tournament by fall by in a total of 7:12. Vacanti defeated Terrance Young of Iowa Central by decision, 3-1, before knocking off Oklahoma State’s Ben Ashmore, 3-2, in the finals.

At 141 pounds, Dominick Moyer took second in the elite bracket. His run to the finals included a 9-3 semifinal win over fourth-ranked Alex Tsirtsis of Iowa. Moyer was defeated in the final by 10th-ranked Manuel Rivera of Minnesota, 6-4, in his third match against ranked opposition on the day. After a first-round win over Dan Ruter of Dubuque, Moyer defeated eighth-ranked C.J. Ettelson of Northern Iowa, 6-3. Also taking runner-up honors was Brandon Browne at 174 pounds in the elite bracket. Browne ran off four straight wins by decision before losing in the sudden victory period in the final to 11th-ranked Gabe Dretsch of Minnesota, 3-1.

Three Huskers competing in the elite brackets earned third-place finishes in their respective weight classes. Paul Donahoe at 125 pounds won five of six matches including the first three by fall and the third-place match by major decision on his way to finishing third. At 157 pounds, Chris Oliver capped a 5-1 day with a 5-4 win over Ryan Morningstar of Iowa to take third, while heavyweight Jon May also placed third, rebounding from an overtime loss to win a pair of matches in the consolation bracket.

Rounding out the eight Huskers placing in the elite brackets were Patrick Aleksanyan (sixth, 133) and Vince Jones (fifth, 184). In the amateur brackets, a pair of Nebraska wrestlers earned third-place finishes, including Curtis Salazar at 149 pounds and Stephen Dwyer at 165 pounds. Jordan Burroughs took fourth at 149 pounds, while Casey Gubbels and Cameron Browne finished in fifth place at 141 and 197, respectively. Alex Ward finished sixth at 165 pounds.

Donahoe Selected to All-Star Classic
Nebraska junior wrestler Paul Donahoe has been selected to participate in the 42nd Annual NWCA (National Wrestling Coaches Association) All-Star Classic in Eugene, Ore.

The event, hosted by the University of Oregon this year, begins at 9 p.m. CT on Monday, Nov. 19. The event attempts to pair the top two wrestlers in each weight class. However, Donahoe, ranked No. 1 at 125 by Intermat, will be pitted against No. 4 Jayson Ness, a sophomore from the University of Minnesota. Donahoe is the first Husker to compete in the All-Star Classic since Jacob Klein wrestled at 174 pounds in 2004.

Fans can watch the event live through the subscription-based service,, or catch the action tape-delayed on CSTV at 7:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday. Follow for match-day news.

Donahoe Defends
Junior Paul Donahoe will attempt to become the first Husker to repeat as a national champion this season. Donahoe capped his sophomore year by going 5-0 at the NCAA Championships, including a 3-1 overtime win over No. 1 Sam Hazewinkel of Oklahoma in the finals. Donahoe started the season by winning 23 of his first 24 matches and never looked back. His 35-5 season record tied three Huskers for fourth-most wins by a sophomore in school history. He became the first NU wrestler since Jason Powell in 2002-03 to win at least 30 matches. Donahoe became the ninth national champion in school history and the 77th All-American.

Single Senior
The Nebraska wrestling team sports plenty of youth this season as its roster includes just one senior. Heavyweight Jon May returns for his senior year as a Husker looking to return to the NCAA Championships. May notched a 1-2 record at nationals in 2006, and looked to be well on his way last season before an ACL injury sidelined him. May recorded a 14-4 record before the injury. May’s experience will come in handy as 16 of NU’s 34 wrestlers are in their first or second year in the program. Last Friday, May made his first dual start since Feb. 19, 2006, against Wyoming. May recorded a 7-3 decision over Jason Still to pick up the win.

Manning’s Meanderings
Nebraska wrestling head coach Mark Manning took his talents halfway across the world, as he traveled with the U.S. delegation as an assistant coach to the 2007 World Championships in Bauke, Azerbaijan, on Sept. 17-23. Manning has his share of international experience. He was selected as the head coach of the U.S. team for the 2001 World Championships. He also coached in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics as an assistant.

Manning focused his efforts on the freestyle team, while two of his former wrestlers, Brad Vering and Justing Ruiz, competed for the U.S. in the Greco-Roman division. Vering, an NCAA Champion at 197 pounds at Nebraska in 2000, captured the silver medal in the 84 kilograms (185 pounds) division. He rolled off five straight wins before losing in the finals.

The country of Azerbaijan, where the World Championships were held, was a full 10 time zones ahead of Lincoln. The country is located north of Iran and east of Armenia. Manning is entering his eighth year as Nebraska’s head coach in 2007-08, having compiled a 118-63-4 dual record.

St. Louis Slated for Schedule
Eager Nebraska fans can mark March 20-22 on their calender right now. The NCAA Championships will be held on those dates at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo. and hopefully more than a few Huskers will be there. As the 2007-08 season begins, eight NU grapplers are ranked in their respective weight classes, but a tough road to St. Louis faces them. Nebraska’s schedule features seven schools ranked by InterMat, including the top three teams in Minnesota, Oklahoma State and Iowa State. Nebraska will face all three of those opponents on the road.

It’s All In the Family
The Nebraska wrestling team will be a family affair this season as three sets of brothers are on the squad. For the second consecutive year, two members of the Moyer, Sanders and Browne family will share time on the mat. Dominick Moyer, Robert Sanders and Brandon Browne will be joined by their younger brothers Derek, Paul and Cameron, respectively.

Dominick Moyer, a volunteer assistant coach this year after finishing his career with the Huskers, is joined on the NU wrestling squad by his brother, Derek, who was a three-time state champion at Oskaloosa High School in Iowa. Robert Sanders, an NCAA qualifier at 149 pounds in 2005-06, continues his wrestling career with his brother Paul at NU. With their father, Bob, as their head coach, both Robert and Paul won at least two individual state championships at San Juan High School in Blanding, Utah. Brandon Browne, a projected starter at 174 pounds, is joined again by his brother, Cameron. Brandon was a two-time state champion at Plattsmouth High School, while Cameron earned one state title during his time at PHS.

Since 1990, six pairs of brothers have lettered for NU, including the Buxtons (Jason, 1991-92; John 1990-93), the Coltvets (Jeff, 1985-86, 1988-89; Rick, 1992-93), the DeAndas (Tony, 1995-96; Jose, 1996-99), the Hensons (Joe, 1999-2000; Josh, 1999-2000), the Malias (Joe, 2000-04; Ty, 2001) and the Verings (Brad, 1998-2001; Russ, 1994). Among those wrestlers are three that attained All-America status, including three-time All-American and 2000 national champion Brad Vering. Jose DeAnda and John Buxton also earned All-America honors during their Husker careers.

In NU wrestling history, the most decorated pair of brothers are the Scherrs. Bill and Jim Scherr each won a national championship in 1984, Jim at 177 pounds, and Bill at 190. Jim earned a pair of All-America honors during his career, while Bill was a three-time All-American. Both Bill and Jim are members of Nebraska’s 100-win club.

Non-Varsity Notes
Nebraska’s non-varsity wrestlers face one of their most difficult challenges of the season with the Kaufman-Brand Open on Saturday. The tournament is one of the nation’s largest single-day collegiate meet, and draws top teams from across the nation. Many of the Huskers will compete in the amateur division, reserved for 20 and under competitors, while the majority of NU’s starters will see time in the elite division.

The majority of the NU’s non-varsity wrestlers began their season last Saturday at the Cowboy Open. Leading the way for the Huskers was freshman Tucker Lane, who won the heavyweight class of the amateur division. Lane is now 7-1 on the season with three pins. He has finished first and second in the two open tournaments he has competed in. At 149, freshman Chris Hacker realed off four straight victories, including his first two by pin in 1:51 and 1:25, respectively. Curtis Salazar, competing at 141, and Cody Foust, wrestling at 165, both went 2-2 at the Cowboy Open.

Huskers Battle for Starting Spots at Wrestle-Offs
The 2007-08 Nebraska wrestling team made its public debut Nov. 2 as the Huskers held their annual wrestle-offs at the Devaney Center Track. Several Huskers made cases for starting positions while several grapplers made a tough decision for NU head coach Mark Manning.

The wrestle-offs, held to assist Manning in deciding the final starting lineup, saw several grapplers go undefeated on the night. Junior Chris Oliver qualified for the NCAA Tournament last year and looks to be on his way again as he asserted his abilities at 157 pounds Friday night. Oliver pinned Rob Plambeck in 35 seconds, pinned Frank Jonas in 2:25 and recorded an 11-3 major decision over Paul Sanders. Sophomore Stephen Dwyer also qualified last year and also won both his matches Friday night. Dwyer recorded a 12-0 major decision over Cody Foust and followed up with a 4-1 decision over Alex Ward at 165 pounds.

The talented group of Huskers at 141 pounds continued to prove the weight class is the deepest for NU this season. However, a starter did not make himself immediately clear Friday night. Junior Robert Sanders won two matches against Jered Hensley and Patrick Aleksanyan, but redshirt freshman Curtis Salazar beat him. Salazar made his own bid for the spot with a win over Sanders, but came up short against Aleksanyan.

Next up: Nebraska Invited to Las Vegas
The Huskers will trek to the Silver State for their next competition to participate in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational on Nov. 30-Dec. 1. The event, held at the Las Vegas Convention Center this year, usually draws several of the top teams in the nation. Ranked schools such as Oregon State and Hofstra will be in attendance. The Huskers have historically excelled at the invite, including finishing fourth as a team last year.


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