Huskers Head to First Big Ten Championships
Mackey Arena (14,123) I West Lafayette, Ind. I March 3-4, 2012
Saturday, March 3
Session I - 9 a.m. (BTN.com - subscription required)
Session II - 4 p.m. (BTN.com - subscription required)
Sunday, March 4
Session III - Noon (BTN.com - subscription required)
Session IV - 2 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
Big Ten Tournament Central: www.purduesports.com
*All times Central
The No. 8 Nebraska wrestling team will embark on its first run through the Big Ten Conference Wrestling Championships this weekend, beginning on Saturday, March 3 and concluding on Sunday, March 4. The Huskers, who finished the dual season with a 15-4 overall record and a 5-4 record against Big Ten foes, will be in search of their eighth conference championship in school history and first since 2009 when they captured the Big 12 title in Lincoln, Neb.
This year's championships are being hosted by Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., and are being held in historic Mackey Arena (14,123). The first session of action will begin at 9 a.m. (CT) on Saturday, while Session II will kick off at 4 p.m. (CT) and will feature the semifinal matches. Session III, which will include the consolation and seventh-place matches, will start at Noon (CT) on Sunday. The tournaments last session will kick off at 2 p.m. (CT) and will feature the finals, along with third- and fifth-place matches.
For the first time ever, all four sessions of the tournament will be covered live on either the Big Ten Network's digital network or on television. The first three sessions will be covered on BTN.com (subscription required), with whip around coverage of the first session and select matches being shown for Sessions II and III. On Sunday, Session IV will be covered live on the Big Ten Network with analysts Tim Johnson, Jim Gibbons and Shane Sparks breaking down the action.
The Huskers earned nine preliminary seeds for the tournament, which were released on Monday, Feb. 27. Three Huskers were placed as the No. 3 preliminary seed at their respective weight classes, including James Green (157), Robert Kokesh (165) and Josh Ihnen (184). Senior Tucker Lane (Hwt) was awarded the No. 4 seed, while Jake Sueflohn (141) was placed at No. 5. Tyler Koehn earned the No. 7 seed at 174 pounds, which seeded all 12 wrestlers because the NCAA allotted nine or more qualifiers to that weight class for the 2012 NCAA Championships. The Big Ten also seeded 12 wrestlers at 149 pounds, where Skylar Galloway is the No. 11 seed. Ridge Kiley is the No. 7 seed at 133 pounds.
All of the Huskers are wrestling for a chance to advance to the 2012 NCAA Championships, which will take place March 15-17 in St. Louis, Mo., at the Scottrade Center. The Big Ten Conference was awarded a record 74 automatic qualifying spots for the tournament.
Last Time Out: Huskers Finish Regular Season with Victory Over Northern Iowa
Senior heavyweight Tucker Lane won his 100th career match as the Nebraska wrestling team finished its regular-season dual schedule with a 26-16 victory over the Northern Iowa Panthers on Sunday, Feb. 19, at the NU Coliseum.
Lane became only the 20th wrestler in school history to hit the century mark in wins after defeating Blayne Beale (UNI) by decision, 6-1. The Redvale, Colo., native jumped out to 4-0 lead with a takedown and a 2-point nearfall with just over one minute left in the first period, and tacked on an escape and the riding-time point to capture the victory. Lane now owns a 22-5 overall record and finishes the year with a 15-4 dual mark
Redshirt freshman Skylar Galloway (149) got the Huskers on the board in the first match by taking down Ryan Jauch (UNI), 6-3. After falling behind 1-0 and having the riding time advantage against him, Galloway erupted in the third period with three takedowns to pull away. The win was Galloway's first on the varsity level and 24th overall this season.
Nebraska blew the lead open with a pair of back-to-back bonus-point victories from No. 7 Robert Kokesh (165) and No. 17 Tyler Koehn (174). Kokesh won his second match of the season by technical fall, defeating Riley Banach (UNI), 20-3, while Koehn pinned Onni Prestidge (UNI) in 2:36 to give the Huskers a 14-3 advantage.
Junior Josh Ihnen notched a win over a top-10 opponent at 184 pounds to extend the Huskers lead. No. 8 Ihnen defeated No. 6 Ryan Loder (UNI), 4-2, for his 21st victory over the season. After a scoreless first period, Ihnen scored a reversal with 1:02 remaining in the second to pull ahead 2-0. In the third, Loder earned an escape to cut the lead in half, but Ihnen recorded a takedown with 34 seconds left to seal the victory.
No. 6 James Green (157) dropped only his fifth match of the season against the Panthers, falling to No. 20 David Bonin (UNI) by decision, 4-3, in the duals second match.
With a 26-11 lead and three bouts remaining, the Huskers couldn't pull out another victory to end the dual. Cruse Aarhus (UNI) defeated Shawn Nagel (125) by major decision, 15-4, while No. 5 Joe Colon (UNI) took down No. 19 Ridge Kiley (133) by major decision. In his first action as a varsity starter, Drew Etherton (141) was defeated by Levi Wolfensperger (UNI) by technical fall, 21-2. Senior James Nakashima won by forfeit at 197 pounds.
Husker History at Conference Championships
The 2012 Big Ten Championships will mark the first time the Huskers have participated in the event after joining the conference before this season. Overall, the Huskers own seven conference championships, including their last one in 2009 when the NU captured the Big 12 title in Lincoln, Neb.
Nebraska has crowned 60 individual conference champions over its history. Last season, Jordan Burroughs (165) and David Klingsheim (125) both won a Big 12 individual title. The Huskers have had a conference champion each of the past four seasons, including 2009 when they had four first-place finishers to tie for the most in school history in a single season.
Half of Husker Lineup Set for First Conference Tournament
Five of Nebraska's 10 starters for the Big Ten Championships will be wrestling in the first conference tournament of their career. Shawn Nagel, Jake Sueflohn, Skylar Galloway, James Green and Robert Kokesh will all look to make an impact in their debuts. Green, one of two true freshman in the group with Sueflohn, leads the pack with 27 victories that include 10 major decisions. Kokesh isn't far behind with 25 total wins and 17 victories in dual action, which helped him accumulate a team-leading 68 team dual points.
Lane Joins 100-Win Club
Tucker Lane became the 20th wrestler is Nebraska's storied history to win 100 career matches after his 6-1 decision over Blayne Beale of Northern Iowa in NU's final dual. Lane is a four-year starter at heavyweight for the Huskers, and has posted at least 23 victories in each of his first three seasons. The three-time NCAA qualifier won 28 matches during his redshirt freshman season, before winning 23 his sophomore year and 27 last season.
The last Husker to join the 100-win club was two-time NCAA champion Jordan Burroughs, who did so in 2010-11, and finished with 128 career victories.
Green Breaks into Freshman Top 10 Wins Chart
True freshman James Green broke into the top 10 for wins in a season by a freshman in school history with his victory over No. 20 Josh Demas of Ohio State at the NWCA National Duals. Green's 27 victories is tied for No. 10 on the list with former Husker Justin Ruiz, who won 27 matches as a freshman in 2001-02.
With one more victory, Green will move into a tie for 7th on the list with current Husker Tucker Lane, John Buxton and Matt Keller. The Willingboro, N.J., native could become the first freshman to win 30 matches in a season since J.R. Plienis accomplished the feat in 1997-98. Tolly Thompson owns the record for most wins is a season for a freshman, collecting 38 wins in 1993-94.
Galloway Inserted at 149
After not seeing any action on the varsity level in the first portion of the season, redshirt freshman Skylar Galloway was inserted into the lineup for the Huskers dual against Purdue and will be the starter at 149 pounds at the Big Ten Championships. The Omaha, Neb., native has participated in three duals this year and earned his first dual victory against Ryan Jauch of Northern Iowa in the Huskers last dual. Overall, Galloway has won 24 matches this year participating in open tournaments and finished first in his last two tournaments at the Quality Hotel Open and Viking-Warrior Open. Galloway has won five matches by major decision and one by pin. He joins sophomore Shawn Nagel as the only two Nebraska natives in the Husker lineup.
Four Freshmen Have Chance to Join Elite Company
With four true freshmen or redshirt freshmen in the lineup this weekend, the Huskers will look to crown their first freshman conference champion since former national champion Jason Powell won the 125 pound Big 12 title as a redshirt freshman in 2001. The last true freshman to win a title was four-time All-American and current assistant coach Bryan Snyder, who captured the 157 pound Big 12 championship in 1999.
Huskers in the Rankings
For the eighth consecutive week, the Huskers will have five wrestlers ranked inside the top 10 of their respective weight classes after the newest rankings were released by InterMat on Feb. 28. To go along with the five top 10 rankings, junior Ridge Kiley (133) is ranked at No. 18 and junior Tyler Koehn is No. 17.
Top 10 Huskers include: No. 9 Jake Sueflohn (141), No. 8 James Green (157), No. 7 Robert Kokesh (165), No. 7 Josh Ihnen (184) and No. 8 Tucker Lane (Hwt).
The Huskers finished the year ranked at No. 8 in the final NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll, which was released on Feb. 28. Nebraska began the year unranked.
Koehn Making Noise at 174
Junior Tyler Koehn has had a breakout season for the Huskers after starting the season at 165 pounds. Koehn moved up to 174 pounds because of an injury to last year's starter Caleb Kolb. The Pittsburg, Kan., native has made the most of his opportunity by winning 19 matches, including three victories over nationally ranked opponents. One of Koehn's most impressive matches came against the No. 7 Nick Heflin of Ohio State on Feb. 12, when he recorded a takedown with just 25 seconds remaining to claim the 3-1 decision. Koehn also owns victories over the No. 11 Curran Jacobs (Michigan State) and then-No. 18 Patrick Martinez (Wyoming). He tallied his first pin of the season in NU's last dual against Northern Iowa, pinning Onni Prestidge in 2:36. Koehn earned the No. 7 preliminary seed at 174 pounds for the Big Ten Championships and is in search of his first NCAA berth.
Ihnen Having Career Year
Junior Josh Ihnen is having the best year of his Husker career in 2011-12. Ihnen is 21-4 on the year and finished 16-3 in dual competition. The Sheldon, Iowa, native has been especially impressive in his last 12 dual matches, only allowing three takedowns and recording four major decisions and a pin. Ihnen's seven major decisions this year are one better than his total from a year ago and his 60 team dual points is also a career high and second on the team. After dropping a pair of matches against No. 2 Quentin Wright (Penn State) and No. 8 Kevin Steinhaus (Minnesota), Ihnen has reeled off two straight victories over No. 11 Cody Magrum (Ohio State) and No. 6 Ryan Loder (Northern Iowa) to finish the regular season.
Nakashima Keeping it Close
Excluding his last victory which came by forfeit against Northern Iowa, James Nakashima has seen his last eight matches decided by two points or less, while going 5-3 in those duals. Nakashima has wrestled in overtime in four out of his last seven matches, including his last victory over Jackson Hein of Wisconsin. Overall, Nakashima has wrestled in 13 matches this season decided by two points or less. The senior is 17-7 on the year and owns a 13-4 dual record.
Lanes' Streak Over Ranked Foes Comes to an End
With his loss to Adam Chalfant of Indiana on Jan. 20, senior Tucker Lane saw his streak of four consecutive victories over ranked opponents come to an end. The last Husker to win four straight matches over ranked foes was Stephen Dwyer in 2010. Lane's streak surpassed the number of ranked opponents that he defeated last year, which was 3. The Redvale, Colo., native has defeated a total of seven ranked opponents this year and has won 14 out of his last 15 matches.
Kokesh Earns Big Ten Honor
Redshirt freshman Robert Kokesh became the first Nebraska wrestler to earn Big Ten Wrestler-of-the-Week honors this season, when the conference announced the award on Tuesday, Dec. 13. Kokesh was rewarded for efforts in Nebraska's 19-15 upset of No. 14 Wyoming at the NU Coliseum on Saturday, Dec. 10.
Kokesh extended the NU's lead over Wyoming to seven points with only two matches remaining with his 5-0 decision over No. 3 Shane Onufer at 165 pounds. The win avenged a 6-2 loss that Kokesh suffered to Onufer earlier in the year at the UNK Open.
Six Huskers Place at Cliff Keen Invitational
A total of six Husker wrestlers, including four third-place finishers, found the awards stand on Saturday, Dec. 3, at the 30th Annual Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev. As a team, the Huskers finished in fourth place with a total of 106 points. Ohio State took the title with 129 points, followed by Michigan and Wyoming.
James Green (141), Robert Kokesh (165), Josh Ihnen (184) and Tucker Lane (Hwt) all won their consolation finals matches to capture third place finishes, while Jake Sueflohn (141) finished in fourth place and Ridge Kiley (133) finished in sixth.
Manning Wins No. 150 at Nebraska
Head Coach Mark Manning became only the second coach in school history to record 150 dual victories at Nebraska when the Huskers defeated Kent State on Nov. 12. Manning joins former coach Tim Neumann as the only other coach to reach the mark, with each coach doing so in their 12th season.
Manning has averaged over 13 dual victories per season at Nebraska en route to his 163-61-3 record, which is the best clip in school history. For his career, Manning owns a 186-85-5 record after spending three seasons at Northern Iowa.
Manning Named FILA Freestyle Coach of the Year
After helping former Husker Jordan Burroughs become the first American to claim a World Championship since 2006, Nebraska Head Coach Marking Manning was named the international freestyle coach of the year for 2011, announced by FILA, the international wrestling federation, on Nov. 1. Manning was Burroughs' personal coach, as he made a meteoric rise through the international wrestling ranks and won his first World Championship in September.
Manning helped Burroughs capture the gold medal at 163 lbs./74 kg at this year's World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, after already winning the U.S. Open and U.S. Team Trials titles earlier this year. Before his success at the international level, Burroughs became the school's only two-time national champion after capturing the 165-pound national title in 2011 and earning the prestigious Hodge Trophy, given to the nation's most outstanding wrestler, under Manning's tutelage.
Manning has an impressive track record on the international level having been a part of numerous World Team coaching staffs. Along with being a member of the 2011 staff, Manning also helped coach the 2009 team that competed in Denmark and placed seventh and was also part of the staff in 2010. In 2001, Manning was named the Head Coach of the freestyle team, but could not travel with the team after the tournament was moved from New York to Bulgaria following the September 11th attacks because of his collegiate coaching responsibilities. Manning was an assistant coach on the U.S. Olympic Team staff in 1996 and 2000.