Twelve Huskers are heading to the Midlands Invitational.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Travel to Midlands Invitational

By NU Athletic Communications
50th Ken Kraft Midlands Invitational
Welsh-Ryan Arena • Evanston, Ill. • Saturday, Dec. 29 - Sunday, Dec. 30 • 9:30 a.m.
Schedule of Events (all times central)
Saturday, Dec. 29  
9:30 a.m.: First Session
7 p.m.: Second Session
Sunday, Dec. 30  
Noon: Semifinals, Consolation, 7th Place Matches
6:30 p.m.: Parade of Champions
7 p.m.: Final Session, 1st, 3rd, 5th Place Matches

The No. 17 Nebraska wrestling team (6-3) returns to action after two weeks off at the 50th Annual Ken Kraft Midlands Invitational on Saturday and Sunday at Northwestern’s Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill. The Huskers will be among more than 30 Division I teams that includes 14 of the top 25 finishers from the 2012 NCAA Championships. 

Nebraska’s last competition was at the Grapple at the Garden on Sunday, Dec. 16 in New York, N.Y. The Huskers split their duals, which were against future Big Ten foes Rutgers and Maryland. NU defeated the Scarlet Knights, 22-10, before falling to the Terrapins, 19-17, at Madison Square Garden.

The Midlands Invitational will start on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. (CST). The second session is set for 7 p.m. on Saturday. Sunday’s wrestling action will begin at noon with the semifinals, consolation and seventh place matches. Following the Parade of Champions at 6:30 p.m., wrestling will resume at 7 p.m. with the first, third and fifth place matches. Event information is available at the link above.

Nebraska will take 12 wrestlers to the Midlands Invitational, with no one competing at 149 or 184 pounds. A trio of freshman will wrestle at 125 pounds as Skylar Wood, Eric Coufal and Tim Lambert earned spots in Evanston. Lambert’s results will be unattached. Wood went 0-2 at the Grapple at the Garden after a 1-2 showing at the Cliff Keen Invitational. He is 6-5 on the season. Coufal is 1-6 in 2012-13, with all his starts in dual competition.

Junior Shawn Nagel will represent the Huskers at 133 pounds. He is 10-7 on the season and has competed in two tournaments. He went 2-2 at the Cliff Keen Invitational and finished first at the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open.

Senior Ridge Kiley and sophomore Skylar Galloway will wrestle at 141 pounds after both competing at the Grapple at the Garden. At 157 pounds, sophomore Brandon Wilbourn will represent the Huskers after going 1-1 against Rutgers and Maryland two weeks ago.

Redshirt freshman Austin Wilson and senior Tyler Koehn will compete at 165 pounds. Wilson went 2-2 at the Cliff Keen Invitational and earned runner-up honors at the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open. Koehn tied for first at the Daktronics Open. 

Sophomore Robert Kokesh will represent Nebraska at 174 pounds and junior Caleb Kolb will wrestle at 197 pounds, while Collin Jensen will wrestle at heavyweight unattached.

Last Time Out: Huskers Go 1-1 at the Garden
No. 14 Nebraska defeated Rutgers, 22-10, before dropping an 18-17 match against No. 18 Maryland at the Grapple at the Garden on Sunday, Dec. 16 at Madison Square Garden.

The Huskers handed the Scarlet Knights their first loss of the season in the first match of the day. Rutgers won at 125 and 133 pounds, but Nebraska reeled off seven consecutive victories en route to its sixth win of the season. The victory also marked Head Coach Mark Manning’s 170th win at Nebraska.

At 125 pounds, Rutgers’ Joe Langel won a 9-1 major decision over freshman Skylar Wood before the Scarlet Knights’ Vinny Dellafave defeated junior Shawn Nagel in a 9-3 decision at 133 pounds. No. 19 Ridge Kiley responded with a 3-0 decision over Rutgers’ No. 20 Trevor Melde at 141 pounds. At 149 pounds, sophomore Jake Sueflohn won by decision over Kenny Theobold, 7-2. Sueflohn, who is ranked No. 9 by InterMat, earned his 14th win of the season and improves to 5-1 in dual competition.

Sophomore Brandon Wilbourn earned the start at 157 pounds. He won his match against No. 13 Scott Winston by a 13-2 major decision to give the Huskers the lead. NU never looked back as redshirt freshman Austin Wilson posted a sudden victory over Nick Visicaro, 3-1, before No. 8 Robert Kokesh (174) and No. 6 Josh Ihnen (184) added decisions over ranked opponents. Kokesh won 6-2 over No. 10 Greg Zannetti and Ihnen won 4-0 over No. 14 Dan Rinaldi. At 197 pounds, junior Caleb Kolb earned his seventh victory of the season with his 1-0 decision over Dan Seidenberg. Redshirt freshman Donny Longendyke fell in the heavyweight match by a 4-2 decision.

Against the Terrapins, the Huskers jumped out to a 17-9 lead before falling 18-17. Nebraska moves to 6-3 on the season with the loss.

At 125 pounds, Wood suffered his second loss of the day, falling to Maryland’s No. 13 Shane Gentry. Nagel responded at 133 pounds with a 12-4 major decision over Josh Polacek. Nagel earned his 10th win of the season and moves to 4-5 in dual competition. Kiley completed a 2-0 day and allowed no points to be scored on him as he won a 4-0 decision over Frank Goodwin of Maryland at 141 pounds. Kiley, a senior, improves to 8-4 on the season and 4-2 in duals.

The Huskers suffered back-to-back losses at 149 and 157. Sophomore Skylar Galloway wrestled at 149 and lost an 8-3 decision to Shane Arechiga. Wilbourn suffered his first loss of the 2012-13 campaign against Danny Orem in a 2-1 decision at 157. Senior Tyler Koehn earned the start at 165 pounds against Maryland and won a major decision over the Terrapins’ Anthony Guidice, 13-2. Koehn improves to 4-0 on the season. Kokesh also won in dominating fashion with a pin in 1:38 of Aaron Norris. The pin was his sixth of the season as Kokesh won his 11th consecutive match.

The Huskers lost at 184, 197 and Heavyweight to close out the match. Ihnen (184) battled to sudden victory against No. 10 Jimmy Sheptock but lost 6-4 before Kolb (197) fell by a 3-1 decision against No. 16 Christian Boley. In the heavyweight match, Longendyke fell in overtime to Carl Buchholz, 3-2.

Huskers in the Rankings
Nebraska has five wrestlers ranked in the latest InterMat poll, which was released on Dec. 25. Senior Josh Ihnen (184) and sophomore James Green (157) are each ranked seventh in their respective weight classes. Ihnen went 1-1 at the Grapple at the Garden and Green did not compete because of injury. Robert Kokesh is ranked eighth at 174 pounds while fellow sophomore Jake Sueflohn is No. 9 at 149 pounds. Kokesh completed a dominating 2-0 weekend against Rutgers and Maryland with a pin and a decision over 10th-ranked Greg Zannetti of Maryland. Senior Ridge Kiley is ranked 19th at 141 pounds following a 2-0 weekend where he didn’t allow any points against him.

The WIN Magazine rankings were released Dec. 17 and feature the same five Huskers in its top 20. Kokesh leads the way at sixth in his weight class, while Green and Ihnen are each seventh. Sueflohn is No. 10 and Kiley is 19th. In the Amateur Wrestling News poll, released on Dec. 18, four Huskers are in the top 8 and Kiley is 20th. Sueflohn, Green and Kokesh are each sixth in their weight classes and Ihnen is No. 7.

As a team, Nebraska is ranked in the top 20 of the InterMat, WIN Magazine and NWCA/USA Today Coaches  rankings. The Huskers are 17th in the InterMat poll, T-13th in WIN Magazine and 17th in the NWCA poll.

Sophomores Showing Leadership
Sophomores James Green (157), Robert Kokesh (174) and Jake Sueflohn (149) are three of Nebraska’s five nationally ranked starters in InterMat’s latest poll. The trio of sophomores are all in the top 10 of their respective weight classes and all qualified for the NCAA Championships last season.

Green is 12-2 on the season with a 5-0 mark in dual competition despite not competing since Dec. 1. Kokesh is 16-1 and leads all starters with six pins this season. He is 8-1 in duals following a 2-0 performance against Rutgers and Maryland. Sueflohn has a 14-2 record in 2012-13, which includes a 5-1 mark in duals.

Fellow sophomores Skylar Galloway (141) and Brandon Wilbourn (157) have also appeared in the NU lineup this season and will compete this weekend. Galloway is 6-3 with a 2-3 dual mark, while Wilbourn is 10-1 with a 2-1 dual record.

The sophomore class leads the team with 22 individual dual victories from five different starters. The seniors are 12-6 on the season with four different Huskers appearing in the lineup. The juniors and redshirt freshman have each started two different wrestlers and have won eight matches. Three freshmen have started and earned a 1-9 record.
Newcomers Competing for Spot at 125
The Huskers have 17 newcomers in 2012-13 and several are competing for spots in the Husker lineup. Freshman Eric Coufal started the first seven duals at 125 pounds, compiling a 1-6 record. Fellow freshman Skylar Wood has also appeared in the NU lineup this season, going 0-2 at the Grapple at the Garden two weeks ago. In addition, he wrestled at the Cliff Keen Invitational, where we compiled a 1-2 record. Wood is 6-5 on the season with a third-place showing at the Nebraska-Kearney Holiday Inn Open.

Freshman Tim Lambert has also experienced success in open tournaments at 125 pounds, compiling a 14-1 record after competing in four of them. He won the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open, the Nebraska-Kearney Holiday Inn Open and the UNK Loper Open, while finishing second at the Harold Nichols Cyclone Open. 

Wood, Coufal and Lambert will all compete at the Midlands Invitational, with Lambert as unattached.

Wilson Stepping Up at 165
Redshirt freshman Austin Wilson has started seven of Nebraska’s nine duals so far this season and will compete at this weekend’s Midlands Invitational. Senior Tyler Koehn will also wrestle at 165 for the Huskers in Evanston, Ill.

In what was considered the most competitive weight class heading into the season, Wilson has stepped up with a 6-1 dual mark. His lone loss was an 8-6 decision against No. 9 Cody Yohn of Minnesota on Nov. 16. 

Koehn and sophomore Brandon Wilbourn have also started for the Huskers at 165 this season. Koehn won a 13-2 major decision at the Grapple at the Garden over Maryland’s Anthony Guidice, while Wilbourn won an  8-5 decision over Northern Colorado’s Charlie McMartin on Nov. 10. 

Galloway, Kiley Battling at 141
Sophomore Skylar Galloway and senior Ridge Kiley have been competing for the starting position at 141 pounds this season, with Kiley starting in six duals and Galloway starting in five duals.

Galloway owns a 2-3 record in duals with victories against Wyoming’s Kyle Komata and South Dakota State’s Ben Gillette. He is 6-3 on the season with a first-place showing at the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open on Nov. 4. 

Kiley is 4-2 in duals this season. He won both his matches at the Grapple at the Garden without surrendering a single point. Kiley is 8-4 on the season with a seventh-place result at the Cliff Keen Invitational, Nov. 30-Dec. 1.

Both wrestlers will compete at this weekend’s Midlands Invitational.

Kokesh Closing In on Win No. 50
Sophomore Robert Kokesh (174) is four wins away from his 50th victory as a Husker. He owns a 16-1 record this season, including an 8-1 mark in dual competition. 

Last season as a redshirt freshman, Kokesh went 30-6 with a 17-2 record in duals. He finished third at the Big Ten Championships before going 2-2 at the NCAA Championships.

Huskers Add Three Wrestlers for 2013-14
Nebraska Head Coach Mark Manning announced the signing of three wrestlers on Wednesday, Nov. 21, who will join the Huskers in 2013-14.

Anthony Abidin, Dix Hills, N.Y. (Nassau/Half Hollow Hills East/Calhoun) - 133/141
Abidin joins the Huskers after winning the NJCAA national title at 133 pounds as a freshman in 2012. Wrestling for Nassau Community College, Abidin finished the season ranked 12th following a 28-4 season before making a run to the championship match where he won a 7-4 decision over Iowa Central’s Brandon Wright. Abidin will redshirt this season at Nassau and have three years of eligibility left with Nebraska.

Before Nassau, Abidin wrestled at Half Hollow Hills East High School in Dix Hills, N.Y. As a senior, he went 36-1 en route to the state crown at 125 pounds. Abidin recorded 21 pins, five major decisions and four technical falls during 2011. Abidin also wrestled at Calhoun High School.

Colton McCrystal, Sergeant Bluff, Iowa (Sergeant Bluff-Luton) - 133
McCrystal comes to Nebraska with experience at Sergeant Bluff-Luton in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, where he won the Class 2A state title at 126 pounds as a junior last season. McCrystal compiled a 22-1 record during the season with 11 pins. He is currently ranked No. 20 in the InterMat national rankings at 132 pounds with a 143-8 mark entering his senior season. McCrystal earned a pair of runner-up finishes at the state championship as a freshman and sophomore, competing at 103 pounds in 2010 and 112 in 2011.

Pat Downey, Baltimore, Md. (Oviedo/North County/Loch Raven/Mount St. Joseph) - 184
Downey is a two-time Maryland state champion who is set to join the Huskers in 2013-14. He won his first state title as a sophomore at 160 pounds for Loch Raven, capping an undefeated 35-0 season. As a junior, he compiled a perfect 34-0 record en route a second consecutive state title, this time for North County at 171 pounds. As a freshman, Downey earned a sixth-place finish at 145 pounds while wrestling at Mount St. Joseph.

In addition, Downey won the silver medal at the 2012 FILA Junior World Championships in September. He has spent the last two years at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. He will have four years of eligibility at Nebraska.

Huskers Face Challenging Schedule
Nebraska faces a challenging schedule this season, with nine matches against teams that are currently ranked in the NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll, released on Dec. 18.

The Huskers have already wrestled against No. 3 Minnesota, No. 16 Wyoming, No. 18 Maryland and No. 23 Wisconsin. In its most recent dual, the Huskers lost to Maryland, 18-17, on Sunday, Dec. 16 at the Grapple at the Garden in New York, N.Y. The Huskers also fell to Minnesota, 27-7, and Wisconsin, 19-17, but defeated Wyoming, 22-15, in Laramie, Wyo.

The Huskers will travel to face two of the top five teams in the country and will host No. 6 Illinois on Jan. 18. Nebraska will journey to Michigan for a showdown with the No. 12 Wolverines on Jan. 11 and will wrestle No. 15 Northwestern the following day in Evanston, Ill. On Jan. 27, the Huskers will wrestle No. 1 Penn State on the road before traveling to Iowa, Feb. 10, to face the No. 5 Hawkeyes.

On March 9-10, Nebraska will make its second appearance in the Big Ten Championships in Champaign, Ill. Last season the Huskers produced four top-five finishers. The 2012-13 season concludes March 21-23 at the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. Last year Nebraska finished 21st with 28 points. James Green (157) and  Josh Ihnen (184) earned All-America honors, as eight Huskers qualified for the 2012 NCAA Championships.

BTDN to Feature Huskers Eight Times
Nebraska will be featured eight times on the Big Ten Digital Network and once on Big Ten Network in 2012-13. Upcoming home matches on BTDN include the Jan. 18 showdown against Illinois and the Feb. 1 dual against Michigan State. Road matches against Northwestern (Jan. 12), Penn State (Jan. 27) and Iowa (Feb. 10) will also be streamed through BTDN. 

The Huskers were featured on BTDN for their home matches against Minnesota, Arizona State and Wisconsin.

The Jan. 11 dual between Nebraska and Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich. will be televised on Big Ten Network. The match is set for 6 p.m. The second day of the Big Ten Championships, March 10, will also be televised on BTN.

Throughout the season, go to the BTN/BTN2Go/BTDN Olympic Sports TV schedule page for the most up-to-date information on the BTN and BTDN wrestling schedules.

Former Husker Burroughs Wins Gold Medal in Freestyle
Former Husker Jordan Burroughs won the gold medal at 74 kilograms (163 pounds) at the 2012 Olympics in London. Burroughs defeated Iran’s Sadegh Saeed Goudarzi 3-0 in the gold medal match.

Burroughs, a two-time NCAA champion at Nebraska, won four matches on Friday en route to becoming the first freestyle gold medalist in school history. Burroughs adds the gold medal to his list of accomplishments after Nebraska, which includes winning the 2011 FILA World Championships.

After taking a bye in the round of 32, Burroughs dominated Puerto Rico’s Francisco Soler Tanco. Burroughs won the first round 4-0 before taking the second round 6-0. With the win, he advanced to the quarterfinals to face Matthew Gentry of Canada.

In a much closer match, Burroughs survived the scare from Gentry. Burroughs posted a 2-1 victory in the first round before tying the second round and winning the match.

In the semifinals, Burroughs was challenged by Russia’s Denis Tsargush, but prevailed in the third round. The Sicklerville, N.J., native won the first round 3-1, but fell 2-0 in the second round. He bounced back in the third round, however, for a 2-1 win.

Burroughs then shut out Goudarzi in the gold medal match, winning 1-0, 1-0.

Burroughs, who won the 2011 Hodge Trophy for best collegiate wrestler, was coached by Nebraska Head Coach Mark Manning at the London Olympics.

Burroughs joins Dan Brand (1964), Bill Scherr (1988), Rulon Gardner (2000 and 2004) and Matt Lindland (2000) as the only former Huskers to earn Olympic medals. Brand and Scherr each took bronze in freestyle, Gardner won gold (2000) and bronze (2004) in Greco-Roman and Lindland earned silver.


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