UNI Dome (16,400) • Cedar Falls, Iowa • Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 9-10, 2010 • 9 a.m.
History: 1993 and 1996 National Duals Runner-up
Last Appearance: 2009, Finished fourth after defeating No. 20 Northwestern and No. 20 Penn State, but lost to No. 1 Iowa and No. 2 Iowa State
Live Video: Livesportsvideo.com (subscription required)
Live Audio: Takedownradio.com
Live Stats: Huskers.com
The 12th-ranked Huskers wrestle in one of their biggest competitions of the season this weekend, traveling to Cedar Falls, Iowa for the 2010 NWCA National Duals. Nebraska (8-3) enters the tournament unseeded and will face No. 1 Iowa at 9 a.m., in Saturday's first round at the UNI Dome. The Huskers will then face either No. 8 Boise State or Buffalo in the second round at 1 p.m.
Fans can watch the action via streaming video on the Internet at Livesportsvideo.com ($5 subscription required), with commentary provided by Takedown Radio. Huskers.com will also provide free live stats for each of Nebraska's duals.
The Huskers have seen plenty of positives through the first half of the season, winning 8-of-11 duals with the three losses coming to ranked teams (No. 12 Lehigh, No. 5 Minnesota and No. 6 Central Michigan). Last Sunday, NU easily defeated North Dakota State and North Carolina State in its first competition of the New Year.
This weekend will be one of the toughest tests of the 2009-10 season. The NWCA National Duals is annually one of the most powerful wrestling tournaments in the nation. The dual-format tournament features seven of the top eight teams ranked in the Jan. 5 InterMat Top 25, including No. 1 Iowa, No. 2 Iowa State and No. 3 Ohio State. Overall, 16 teams are in the Division I bracket (No. 15 Arizona State, Bloomsburg, No. 9 Boise State, Buffalo, No. 6 Central Michigan, No. 8 Cornell, No. 1 Iowa, No. 2 Iowa State, No. 17 Missouri, No. 12 Nebraska, Northwestern, No. 3 Ohio State, Northern Iowa, No. 7 Maryland, No. 5 Minnesota and No. 22 Wisconsin), while Division II, Division III, NAIA, NJCAA and Women are also represented.
Second-ranked Craig Brester (197) takes the Huskers into the NWCA National Duals as one of the top wrestlers in the nation. The 2009 Las Vegas Invitational champion, Brester is 17-0 with nine pins and garnered Big 12 Wrestler of the Week honors Dec. 14. The Howells, Neb., native is nearing the 100-win total as a Husker, currently holding a 96-18 career record with an .842 winning percentage that ranks seventh on the school's career win-loss percentage chart.
Brester is one of three Huskers individually ranked, joining No. 3 Stephen Dwyer (174) and No. 11 Tucker Lane (HWT). The trio is a combined 48-5 this season.
Scouting No. 1 Iowa
No. 1 Iowa earned the top seed as it enters this weekend with a 9-0 dual record and fresh off the Midlands Championship crown, when it finished first ahead of No. 2 Iowa State and No. 6 Central Michigan in Evanston, Ill., Dec. 30. The Hawkeyes' dual season has been highlighted by their 18-16 win at Iowa State on Dec. 6. Iowa has won its remaining eight duals by an average of 42 points, dominating Coe, Cornell College, Iowa Lakes, UNC Pembroke, SIU-Edwardsville, Bucknell, Rutgers and Northern Iowa.
The Hawkeyes are looking to defend their 2009 national championship behind top-ranked seniors Brent Metcalf (149) and Jay Borschel (174). Iowa won last year's national title despite not crowning any individual champions. Metcalf was upset in the finals by North Carolina State's Darrion Caldwell, ending his 69-match winning streak. He is 15-0 in 2009-10 and is aiming to return to the podium after winning the 2008 national title.
Three other Hawkeyes are returning All-Americans in No. 4 Daniel Dennis (133), No. 5 Ryan Morningstar (165) and No. 6 Phillip Keddy (184). A total of eight ranked wrestlers are projected to be in Saturday's starting lineup (also No. 4 Matt McDonough, 125; No. 7 Dan LeClere, 141; No. 5 Chad Beatty, 197). Along with Metcalf, McDonough (15-0) and Borschel (14-0) have unblemished records this season.
Tom Brands is in his fourth season as head wrestling coach at Iowa, holding a 68-6 overall record with the Hawkeyes. He has led Iowa to back-to-back national championships, the program's 21st and 22nd in school history. Last year, the Hawkeyes went 24-0 in dual meets and currently have a 47-match dual winning streak.
Prior to Iowa, Brands served as head coach at Virginia Tech for two seasons (2004-06) after he spent 12 years (1993-2004) as an assistant with the Hawkeyes. Brands was a four-time All-American at Iowa (1989-92), winning three NCAA titles with a career record of 158-7-2.
Husker History versus the Hawkeyes
Iowa leads the all-time series against Nebraska, 20-8-2. The Huskers' last victory over the Hawkeyes came in the 2006 National Duals, when Marc Harwood (165), Jacob Klein (174) and Vince Jones (184) reeled off three straight wins to lead No. 14 NU to a 24-13 upset of No. 6 Iowa. The two teams have met in the past four National Dual competitions, with Iowa prevailing in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Scouting the 2010 NWCA National Duals Field
Although the NWCA National Duals is used to seeing a strong field of participating teams, this year's bracket is one of the most talented to ever travel to Cedar Falls, Iowa. The 2010 tournament features eight top-10 teams, headlined by No. 1 Iowa, No. 2 Iowa State and No. 3 Ohio State. Overall, 12-of-16 teams are ranked in the Jan. 5 InterMat Top 25. Only Bloomsburg, Buffalo, Northwestern and Northern Iowa are not in the poll. Along with No. 12 Nebraska, the field features No. 5 Minnesota, No. 6 Central Michigan, No. 7 Maryland, No. 8 Cornell, No. 9 Boise State, No. 15 Arizona State, No. 17 Missouri and No. 22 Wisconsin.
As usual, the three Big 12 North schools (Nebraska, Iowa State and Missouri) will compete in this weekend's tournament. The Cyclones are the highest seeded conference team at No. 2, while the Tigers are unseeded. Iowa State faces Bloomsburg and Missouri meets fifth-seeded Minnesota in the first round.
Husker History at the NWCA National Duals
The Huskers are 48-29 in their 17 appearances at the National Duals. NU went 2-2 last year, advancing to the semifinals with wins over No. 20 Northwestern (19-18) and No. 14 Penn State (20-16). The Huskers then suffered their first losses of the season, falling to No. 1 Iowa (22-11) and No. 2 Iowa State (20-19) to finish fourth. Following the 2009 National Duals, Nebraska did not lose another match until Feb. 22 vs. No. 4 Iowa State, running off a 9-0-1 record en route to a 17-3-1 dual season.
The Huskers have finished in the top five at the National Duals 11 times in the tournament's 20-year history. NU finished in the top five four straight years from 1993 to 1996. That run coincided with the event's five-year run in Lincoln, which saw Nebraska host the National Duals from 1993 to 1997. Nebraska ran off 11 straight top-eight finishes from 1990 to 2000.
A pair of runner-up finishes, in 1993 and 1996, have highlighted NU's participation in the event. In 1993, Nebraska clinched its bid to finals with a 24-20 upset of top-ranked Iowa. The win was clinched by Rulon Gardner at heavyweight with his 12-5 win over John Ostendorp.
Last Time Out: Huskers Begin New Year with Pair of Wins
Behind seven bonus-point victories and two pins from senior Craig Brester, the 12th-ranked Nebraska wrestling team (8-3) extended its winning streak to three with a pair of victories over North Dakota State (33-9) and North Carolina State (31-10) last Sunday at the NU Coliseum.
Seven Huskers dominated in their first competition of the New Year by individually winning both matches on the day, with Nebraska claiming seven bouts against the Bison and eight versus the Wolfpack.
At 17-0, Brester remained perfect in his senior season as he pinned North Dakota State's Drew Ross and North Carolina State's Andrew Tumlin. The Howells, Neb., native needed only 41 seconds to defeat Ross and just 1 minute, 19 seconds to down Tumlin. With nine falls in 2009-10, Brester is four pins away from reaching the school's single-season all-time top-10 chart.
Lane followed Brester's example against North Dakota State, registering his second pin of the season in 1 minute, 3 seconds against Joe Arthur to wrap up the 33-9 team win. The Huskers led just 13-9 through six matches, but 174-pound senior Stephen Dwyer created separation with his technical fall victory over Mac Stoll (18-1), followed by redshirt freshman Josh Ihnen's 6-0 win at 184 pounds against Kenny Moenkedick.
Dwyer was also responsible for spurting NU in its second dual of the day, as his pin of North Carolina State's Quinton Godley (3:59) gave the Huskers a 19-10 lead with three matches remaining. Ihnen, Brester and Lane all claimed victories again to give the Huskers their eighth dual victory of the season.
Nebraska was just as dominant in the light weight classes, with freshman David Klingsheim, freshman C.J. Napier and junior Mike Koehnlein all winning both matches. On paper, Koehnlein delivered the biggest upset of the day, defeating North Dakota State's Ryan Adams (14-7), who entered Sunday with a 16-2 record. Redshirt freshman Tyler Koehn also stepped in at 157 pounds to claim a 2-0 victory over North Carolina State's Colton Palmer.
Brester Shining in Senior Season
Senior Craig Brester is solidifying his spot among the best wrestlers in school history, beginning his final season with a dominant 17-0 record. Brester's start has the 197-pounder on the brink of climbing the record books, as he currently ranks No. 7 all-time in career win-loss percentage (.942) and is just four victories away from becoming the 17th Husker to reach 100 wins (currently 96-18).
This season, Brester is winning by domination, pinning nine opponents to go along with one technical fall and one major decision. In addition to his nine pins, he also leads the Huskers in wins (17) and dual points (51) and has the second-fastest fall this season, pinning North Dakota State's Drew Ross in 41 seconds on Jan. 3.
Last month, 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-Dec. 13. It was the second Big 12 weekly award of his career, earning the honor after pinning Minnesota's Joe Nord (1:10) Dec. 10 in Minneapolis 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 on Dec. 12. The week before, Brester claimed the 2009 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational championship and was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler.
Currently ranked No. 2 in the nation at 197 pounds, Brester is a two-time All-American and was named Most Outstanding Wrestler of the 2009 Big 12 Championships.
Hometown Husker Day Set for Jan. 17 for Wyoming
The Nebraska Athletic Department has announced "Hometown Husker Day" for Craig Brester and the community of Howells, Neb., for Sunday, Jan. 17 when Nebraska takes on Wyoming at the NU Coliseum at 2 p.m. The program is intended to provide the opportunity for the residents of Howells to show their pride and support of their hometown Husker - Craig Brester.
The former walk-on has developed into one of the best wrestlers in Husker history, winning the 2009 Big 12 title and placing second at the NCAA Championships. Now, Brester is winding down his Nebraska career as he aims to finish on top in his senior season.
Discounted group ticket rates are available for parties of 25 or more. To order, please call the Nebraska Athletic Ticket Office at 1-800-8BIG-RED or visit Huskers.com. Fans can also purchase tickets on match day at the on-site ticket office, located in the main lobby of the NU Coliseum.
Dwyer Nears Husker History
Senior Stephen Dywer is bidding to put his name in the Husker record books, as he is just seven victories away from reaching the 100-win total in his NU career. The 174-pounder is 93-31 since joining the Huskers in 2006 and is off to a 15-1 start this season with his only loss coming to No. 1 Mack Lewnes of Cornell.
Dwyer was a 2008 All-American at 165 pounds, where he wrestled his first three seasons. This year, he moved up to 174 pounds and has not skipped up a beat, rising to a No. 3 national ranking. Dywer is 11-0 in duals and is second on the team in dual points behind Craig Brester with 50. Dywer has pinned six opponents this season, doubling his career total entering 2009-10. He did not have any pins last season, and just three in his first two years combined.
Nebraska traveled to Blair, Neb., for the Dana Open on Jan. 2, where four of its seven participants claimed a top-four finish.
Freshman Caleb Kolb placed second at 174 pounds, posting a 3-1 record before he fell to Nebraska-Kearney's Marty Usman in the championship. Kolb has been the top performer among Nebraska's non-varsity wrestlers, compiling an impressive 23-5 record with 10 bonus-point wins.
At the heavyweight division, senior Levi Wofford went 5-1 before finishing third with a 3-0 decision over Iowa Central's Phil Mandzik in the consolation final, while redshirt freshman Ridge Kiley (133) and junior Cameron Browne (197) each placed fourth.
Burroughs to Sit Out Remainder of 2009-10 Season, Seek Medical Redshirt
Head Coach Mark Manning and the Nebraska wrestling program announced Dec. 21 that senior 157-pounder Jordan Burroughs will not be able to compete the rest of the 2009-10 season due to a left knee injury suffered Dec. 19 against Central Michigan. An MRI revealed Burroughs had a torn PCL and LCL and he underwent successful surgery on Saturday, Jan. 2.
"Unfortunately, we have lost Jordan Burroughs for the season, but we're fortunate that we will seek a medical redshirt to get this year back," Manning said. "I believe he will qualify for that due to him not competing more than 30 percent of this season. With successful surgery and good rehab, he'll be back better than ever next year."
Burroughs ends his shortened 2009-10 season with a 7-1 record. The only loss came in his injured match to No. 13 Steve Brown of Central Michigan - a 3-2 overtime defeat. Prior to the setback, Burroughs had won 44 straight matches, including a perfect 38-0 junior season in 2008-09 that took the Sicklerville, N.J., native to the 157-pound national championship and his second straight All-America honor.
"You don't replace a young man like Jordan," Manning said. "On the other hand, it gives other guys on the team an opportunity to step up. It also gives our team great lessons in life that relate to athletics. It shows them you have to protect yourself and make the most of your opportunities because you are not promised anything. We'll move on from this and our team will be fine."
Manning Earns Win No. 150
With Nebraska's 26-17 victory over No. 11 Wisconson on Nov. 15 at the NU Coliseum, 10th-year head coach Mark Manning picked up the 150th dual win of his collegiate coaching career. Manning spent three seasons as Northern Iowa's head coach from 1997 to 2000, turning around a Panther program that went 5-9 in his first year to 10-5-2 and an 11th-place finish at the NCAA Championships in 2000. At Nebraska, Manning is 134-48-3 with a 73.0 percent winning percentage that ranks No. 1 among the 15 head coaches in school history.
Follow Husker Wrestling on Twitter
The Nebraska Wrestling program has launched a home on Twitter at "www.twitter.com/HuskerWrestling". Follow everything surrounding the Huskers throughout the season with more news, notes and quotes on one of the world's fastest-growing social networks.
Huskers.com Adds NU Wrestling Blog
Huskers.com has announced an addition to the wrestling page with the start of the NU Wrestling Blog, another place to visit when looking to stay up-to-date and follow everything surrounding Husker wrestling. On the blog, you will find some interesting news, notes and tidbits surrounding the team as we go through the 2009-10 season.
The goal for the blog is to help fans and media stay in tune daily with what's going on with the Huskers and get inside the program. The blog will include anything that fans might find interesting, but maybe isn't newsworthy or lengthy enough for its own press release. You can expect all kinds of notes, learn about the upcoming opponents and hear what the coaches are saying throughout the season.
On match days, check out the blog for the latest updates as the Huskers get ready to take the mat.
In addition, there should be a lot of exciting news as the NCAA Championships get closer. This year's national meet takes place at Qwest Center Omaha from March 18-20 and is co-hosted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or suggestions about the blog.
Next Up: Huskers Host Wyoming
Nebraska welcomes the Wyoming Cowboys to the NU Coliseum on Sunday, Jan. 17 at 2 p.m. The home dual will mark Hometown Husker Day for senior Craig Brester, while the program will also recognize former Nebraska wrestlers with its annual Alumni Day.