Hometown Husker Day/Alumni Day
No. 17 Nebraska (8-5) vs. Wyoming (4-2)
NU Coliseum (4,300) • Lincoln, Neb. • Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010 • 2 p.m.
Promotions: Hometown Husker Day - Craig Brester; Alumni Day
Series History: NU leads, 29-13-0
Last Meeting: NU won, 47-0, on Nov. 9, 2007 in Laramie, Wyo.
Live Video: Huskers NSide
Live Stats: Huskers.com
The Nebraska wrestling program will recognize one of its most successful student-athletes in school history when the Huskers return to the NU Coliseum to face the Wyoming Cowboys on Sunday, Jan. 17 at 2 p.m.
The dual will mark "Hometown Husker Day" for senior 197-pounder Craig Brester, a walk-on from Howells, Neb., that has developed into a two-time All-American and Big 12 champion since joining the NU wrestling team as a redshirt in 2005. Residents of Howells can take advantage of Brester's accomplishments with discounted tickets for groups of 25 or more ($4 adults, $2 youth). Regular ticket prices are $5 for adults and $3 for youth. UNL students receive free admission with their N-Card.
Fans can watch the action online via video stream with with Huskers NSide. Free live stats will also be provided on Huskers.com.
Brester is ranked No. 2 nationally at 197 pounds with an unblemished 19-0 record this season. He has 11 bonus-point victories and has earned honors as the Las Vegas Invitational Most Outstanding Wrester (Dec. 4-5) and Big 12 Wrestler of the Week (Dec. 12). The Howells, Neb., native is nearing the 100-win total as a Husker, currently holding a 98-18 career record with an .844 winning percentage that ranks sixth on the school's career win-loss percentage chart. Brester is just 11 victories shy of cracking Nebraska's top 10 career win list.
Senior Stephen Dwyer is also producing a big senior season as the third-ranked wrestler at 174 pounds. Dwyer is 16-2 with his only losses coming by decision to No. 1 Mack Lewnes (Cornell) and No. 2 Jay Borschel (Iowa). The Rockton, Ill., native is 94-32 in his career.
In addition to Brester and Dywer, sophomore heavyweight Tucker Lane is ranked No. 10. The trio of returning national qualifiers have combined for a 52-7 record this season.
Nebraska (8-5) is a week removed from the 2010 NWCA National Duals, when it went 0-2 with losses to No. 1 Iowa and Buffalo. Sunday's dual against the Cowboys will be the last home non-conference match, as the Huskers travel to Arizona State and Arizona State next weekend before beginning Big 12 action Jan. 29 vs. Missouri at the NU Coliseum.
Scouting the Wyoming Cowboys
Wyoming enters this weekend with a 4-2 dual record and is set to host Northern Colorado on Friday night in Laramie. The Cowboys finished 10th out of 42 teams at the 2009 Las Vegas Invitational, when the Huskers placed fifth behind Craig Brester's 197-pound title. Wyoming also defeated North Carolina State, 26-15, on Jan. 5, two days after the Huskers downed the Wolfpack, 31-10.
The Cowboys are led by returning All-American Joe LeBlanc at 184 pounds. Last year, LeBlanc finished fifth at the 2009 NCAA Championships to become the first freshman in school history to earn All-America honors. He is currently ranked No. 6 with a 24-3 record that includes an impressive 19 bonus-point wins.
LeBlanc led Wyoming to a 32nd-place finish at the 2009 NCAA Championships and is one of four returning national qualifiers on the 2009-10 squad. Also returning is 11th-ranked 125-pound sophomore Michael Martinez, who holds a solid 20-5 record this season with seven major decisions. Following Martinez is three-time NCAA qualifier Cory VomBaur, a senior who has wrestled at both 133 (6-3) and 141 pounds (4-2) to total a 10-5 mark. Sophomore Shane Onufer rounds out the group of returning national qualifiers. He has compiled a 16-4 record at 165 pounds and is ranked No. 9 nationally.
Following a successful inaugural season, head coach Mark Branch is in his second year at Wyoming. A 1997 graduate of Oklahoma State, Branch led the Cowboys to a 15-3 dual record last season and a share of the Western Wrestling Conference title. Branch was named the league's coach of the year and also earned Top Rookie Coach honors from Amateur Wrestling News. An associate head coach at Oklahoma State for six years, Branch was a four-time NCAA All-American in Stillwater and won two national titles (1994 and 1997).
Husker History versus the Cowboys
Nebraska leads the all-time series against Wyoming, 29-13-0. The Huskers' last victory over the Cowboys came on Nov. 9, 2007, a 47-0 shutout at Wyoming. Sunday will mark the first time UW has visited Lincoln since Dec. 18, 2004, as the last three contests have been held in Laramie. Wyoming's most recent win over Nebraska was a 20-19 win in Lincoln on Dec. 21, 1987. Last Time Out:
Huskers Eliminated from National Duals
Nebraska won the last four matches but an early 18-3 deficit was too much to overcome as the Huskers were defeated by Buffalo, 18-17, last Saturday at the 2010 NWCA National Duals in Cedar Falls, Iowa. After a morning loss to No. 1 Iowa, Nebraska was eliminated from the tournament.
Senior Craig Brester kept the Huskers alive at 197 pounds, winning by technical fall over Jimmy Hamel, 15-0. The victory pulled Nebraska to within five points (18-13), although sophomore Tucker Lane's win by decision at Heavyweight left the final margin at one, dropping NU's dual record to 8-5 on the season.
Senior Stephen Dwyer began the streak of four consecutive wins to end the match with a 14-9 decision over Brian Sheehan. Redshirt freshman Josh Ihnen followed with a 5-2 victory at 184 pounds against Josh Peters that brought Nebraska within nine points (18-9) with two bouts to go.
After a pair of narrow losses to begin the dual, junior Mike Koehnlein picked up Nebraska's first win of the match in a hard-fought 7-2 victory over Andrew Schutt at 141 pounds. Koehnlein led 3-2 at the end of the first period, gained riding time in the second and dominated the third stanza for a 7-2 decision.
Nebraska forfeited at 149 pounds due to injury, awarding Buffalo six team points.
In the first match of the day, the Huskers came up against a stiff challenge, falling to No. 1 Iowa, 33-3.
Brester gave the Huskers a solid performance at 197 pounds, dominating Iowa's Luke Lofthouse by an 11-1 major decision. Brester quickly jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first period with a takedown and three-point near fall en route to improving his record to 18-0. Brester's victory at 197 pounds was Nebraska's only points of the dual, as the Huskers wrestled against five opponents ranked in the top 10 nationally for the two-time defending national champions.
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 19-0 record. Brester's start has the 197-pounder on the brink of climbing the record books, as he currently ranks No. 6 all-time in career win-loss percentage (.844) and is just two victories away from becoming the 17th Husker ever to reach 100 wins (currently 98-18).
This season, Brester is winning by domination, pinning nine opponents to go along with two technical falls and two major decisions. In addition to his nine pins, he also leads the Huskers in wins (19), dual points (60) 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 this Sunday
The Nebraska Athletic Department has announced "Hometown Husker Day" for Craig Brester and the community of Howells, Neb., for this Sunday, Jan. 17 when Nebraska takes on Wyoming. 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.
Howells is located 106 miles north of Lincoln in Colfax County. The town population is 635 and is not only home to Brester, but also three-time NU All-American Brad Vering (1999, 2000, 2001).
"It's going to be awesome," Brester said of Sunday's 'Hometown Husker' match. "I'm definitely looking forward to it. Wrestling in front of people is what makes it so much fun. You get to show off your talents for people that watch you and care about you. I'm excited for it, but I'm also going to go about it like any other match. At the end of the day, I'll be able to look up in the stands and see all the support."
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 six victories away from reaching the 100-win total in his NU career. The 174-pounder is 94-32 since joining the Huskers in 2006 and is off to a 16-2 start this season with his only losses coming to No. 1 Mack Lewnes of Cornell and No. 2 Jay Borschel of Iowa.
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 12-1 in duals and is second on the team in dual points behind Craig Brester with 53. 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.
Three Huskers were crowned champions at the 2010 Quality Hotel Open in Hastings, Neb., last week., as Nebraska wrestlers won 25-of-28 total matches.
Freshman Kyle Waldo dominated the 125-pound division, using three pins to claim the title. Waldo won the championship match with his quickest fall of the day in 2:28 over Jarrod Wiens of Hastings College.
At 157 pounds, freshman Cody Compton went 5-0 en route to the championship, where he claimed first with a 16-0 technical fall win over freshman teammate Michael Klinginsmith.
Freshman Caleb Kolb continued a strong redshirt season by winning the 174-pound class at ease. Kolb used two major decisions, one pin and a decision to win his second tournament title of the season and improve his overall record to 27-5 with 13 bonus-point victories.
Freshman Jerad Gubbels also finished third at 165 pounds.
Huskers Launch Twitter Page
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 Features 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 End Non-Conference Season at Arizona State, Oregon State
Nebraska will end the non-conference season with a pair of tough road duals at No. 22 Arizona State and No. 20 Oregon State next week. The Huskers will meet the Sun Devils on Friday, Jan. 22 at 9 p.m., before ending the weekend against the Beavers on Sunday, Jan. 24 at 4 p.m.