With their first regular season dual just over a week away, the 10th-ranked Nebraska wrestling team won three individual titles at two separate tournaments over the weekend, which also included the return of senior 165-pounder Jordan Burroughs. The Huskers sent wrestlers to both the Cowboy Open in Laramie, Wyo., and the Harold Nichols Classic in Ames, Iowa. Both tournaments were held on Saturday, Nov. 13. Burroughs, Tucker Lane, Ridge Kiley, and James Nakashima all captured first-place finishes, while seven other Huskers finished in the top six of their brackets.
The weekend was highlighted by the return of Burroughs, who was back on the mat at the Harold Nichols Open for his first official match since injuring his knee last December. The fifth-year senior was nothing short of spectacular in his return, notching two victories by pin, a technical fall, and a major decision en route to the 165-pound title.
Burroughs shared the 165-pound title with freshman teammate Robert Kokesh, who recorded three straight pins to open the tournament before advancing to the final match with a 5-3 decision over Tad Merritt (St. Cloud State) in the semifinals to set up a match between Kokesh and Burroughs. A decision was then made to not wrestle the match. Burroughs and Kokesh squared off at the annual Red-White Wrestle-Offs earlier this month where Burroughs won by a 10-4 decision.
Also winning his bracket at the Harold Nichols Open was sophomore Ridge Kiley. A 133-pounder, Kiley finished the tournament by defeating his last four opponents by decision, including Big 12-foe Derek Geiges (Oklahoma) in the second round. Kiley took down Ryan Jauch (Northern Iowa), 3-2, in the finals.
Also placing for the Huskers at the Harold Nichols Open were redshirt freshman Ross Grande (fourth, 149), freshman Dakota Magrew (sixth, 157), freshman Robert Kokesh (second, 165), sophomore Josh Ihnen (third, 184), freshman Spencer Johnson (second, 184), senior Andy Johnson (third, 197) and freshman Matt Dwyer (fourth, 197)
At the Cowboy open, senior Tucker Lane won his second title of the season by winning all four of his matches by decision. The junior improved his record to 8-0 on the season after capturing the heavyweight title at the Williamson/Daktronics Open last weekend.
In his first round match, Lane took down Louis Thornton (New Mexico Highlands), 7-2, before defeating Matt McLaughlin (Wyoming), 3-1, to advance to the semifinals. In the semifinal round, Lane cruised past Eric McAllister (Utah Valley), winning by his largest margin of the day, 8-1. The finals paired Lane with Ben Hohensee (Nebraska-Kearney), where Lane prevailed by a 4-0 score to secure the heavyweight title.
Nakashima was just as dominant as his fellow Husker, winning by technical fall over his first opponent, Justin Grosse (Mesa State College), 19-3, in the first round of the 184-pound bracket. The senior then defeated Eric Brennan (Northern Colorado) and Kazden Ikehara (Air Force) in the next two rounds to set up a match against Adam Carey (CSU-Pueblo) in the finals. Nakashima was able to escape the match with a 6-4 overtime victory to take the title.
Overall, the Huskers won 55 matches between the two tournaments, while also recording 17 victories by pin. Brackets from both the Harold Nichols Classic and the Cowboy open are available at the top of the page.
The Huskers open their dual season this weekend when they travel to Columbus, Ohio, to take part in the Buckeye Duals. Nebraska will take on No. 24 Pittsburgh on Sunday, Nov. 21, at 9 a.m., before matching up with the 16th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes at 12:30 p.m.