Huskers Send Eight to NCAA Championships
Scottrade Center (22,000) I St. Louis, Mo. I March 15-17, 2012
Thursday, March 15
Session I - 11 a.m. (Pigtail, First Round)
Session II - 6:30 p.m. (Second Round, Consolation)
Friday, March 16
Session III - 10 a.m. (Quarterfinals, Consolation)
Session IV - 6 p.m. (Semifinals, Consolation)
Saturday, March 17
Session V - 10 a.m. (Consolation Semifinals/Finals)
Session VI - 6:30 p.m. (Finals)
TV: Sessions I-II (ESPN3.com); Sessions III-V (ESPNU/ESPN3.com); Session VI (ESPN/ESPN3.com)
The Nebraska wrestling program will send eight wrestlers to the 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships, which are set to begin on Thursday, March 15, from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo. The Huskers qualified at eight weight classes for the first time since 2008 and hope to improve on back-to-back 12th-place finishes at the NCAA tournament in 2010 and 2011.
The Huskers will begin action on Thursday at 11 a.m. with pigtail and first round matches taking place. In Session II, second round and first round consolation matches are scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. Sessions III and IV are on Friday and include the quarterfinals and semifinals, while Session V is slated for Saturday morning at 10 a.m. and include the consolation finals. The finals of the championship draw will start at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday night.
ESPN is once against providing wall-to-wall coverage of the event. Select matches from Sessions I-II will be available on ESPN3.com and Sessions III-V will be aired on ESPNU, along with ESPN3.com. Saturday night's finals session will be aired on ESPN and will also be on ESPN3.com. Fans will also be able to follow along with updates on the Huskers' twitter account at www.twitter.com/HuskerWrestling.
The eight Husker wrestlers to qualify for the tournament include Ridge Kiley (133), Jake Sueflohn (141), James Green (157), Robert Kokesh (165), Tyler Koehn (174), Josh Ihnen (184), James Nakashima (197) and Tucker Lane (Hwt). Lane brings plenty of NCAA experience to the table, having now qualified for four-straight NCAA tournaments. The senior is in search of his first All-America honor after coming up one match short each of the past two seasons. Ihnen and Kiley also both return after participating at the championships last year. Ihnen, a three-time qualifier, owns a 23-5 overall record and had the best showing of any Husker wrestling at the Big Ten Championships, finishing in second place. Kiley was one of two Huskers to earn an at-large bid into the tournament and is 17-14 on the season and won two matches at the Big Ten Tournament by major decision.
The Huskers will have five wrestlers competing in their first NCAA tournament, a list that also includes three freshman. Sueflohn, Green and Kokesh all qualified in their first season of collegiate wrestling.
Last Time Out: Ihnen Falls in Finals at Big Ten Championships
The Nebraska wrestling team had four wrestlers record top-five finishes, including junior Josh Ihnen, who dropped his finals match to finish in second place on the last day of the 2012 Big Ten Wrestling Championships in West Lafayette, Ind., on Sunday, March 4. Ihnen and the Huskers finished the tournament in eighth place (65 points), while Penn State finished in first, followed by Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Ohio State to round out the top five.
Ihnen dropped a heartbreaking match to Minnesota's Kevin Steinhaus in the finals, falling in sudden-victory overtime, 3-1. The pair exchanged escape points in the second and third periods sending the match into overtime. After 30 seconds of scoreless action, Steinhaus recorded a takedown after scramble where Ihnen nearly recorded a takedown of his own.
Kokesh advanced after winning his consolation semifinal in the opening session against Pierce Harger (NW), 6-1, for a chance to wrestle for third place. Kokesh then defeated the tournament's No. 5 seed, Conrad Polz (ILL), 4-1, to capture third.
True freshman James Green and Jake Sueflohn both dropped their consolation semifinals to fall to the fifth-place round, where thy came out victories. After falling to Michigan State's Anthony Jones, Green responded with an 8-3 victory over Josh Demas (OSU). Sueflohn won a wild match against Illinois' Daryl Thomas to capture third, after falling to Hunter Stieber (OSU) in the consolation semifinals.
The Huskers won two of their three seventh-place matches in the first session. Tucker Lane (Hwt) was victorious over Cole Tobin (Wis.) by decision, 3-0, while James Nakashima (197) defeated Max Huntly (Mich.) after accumulating the most riding-time in the second tiebreaker. Ridge Kiley (133) fell to Frank Martellotti (PSU) to finish in eighth place.
Husker History at NCAA Championships
Nebraska has finished in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships 18 times, including back-to-back fourth-place showings in 2008 and 2009. The program's top finish at the NCAA Championships is third in 1993. 126-pound national champion Tony Purler led a six-man contingent of Husker All-Americans in 1993, including eventual Olympic gold medalist Rulon Gardner. The six All-Americans also set a record for most All-America honors by NU in one year. The 1993 team was the third of five teams in a seven-year period that finished in the top 10 at nationals.
Nine of NU's 18 top-10 finishes have come in the last 19 years, including three top-five finishes under head coach Mark Manning. The Huskers have 89 total All-Americans, including 11 national champions and 22 NCAA finalists.
First Round Matches
Five Husker wrestlers earned top-12 seeds for the tournament, including junior Josh Ihnen, who was placed as the No. 7 seed at 184 pounds. Ihnen will take on Ophir Bernstein (Brown) in the first round.
True freshmen Jake Sueflohn (141) and James Green (157) earned the No. 10 and 11 seeds at their respective weight classes. Sueflohn will take on Zach Neibert (Virginia Tech) in the first round, while Green is set to battle Brian Tanen (Lehigh) to open his tournament.
Redshirt freshman Robert Kokesh earned the No. 8 seed at 165 pounds and will take on Big 12 Champion Zach Toal (Missouri) and senior Tucker Lane (Hwt) will be the No. 11 seed as he looks to earn his first All-America honor in his fourth NCAA tournament. Lane will wrestle Maciej Jochym (Cornell) in the first round.
Senior James Nakashima qualified for his first NCAA tournament at 197 pounds and will wrestle Kelby Smith (Citadel) in the pigtail round for the chance to wrestle Joe Budi (Old Dominion) in the opening round.
Both Kiley and Koehn earned an at-large bid after failing to earn an automatic bid at the Big Ten Tournament, but each wrestler met three of the four criteria needed to qualify for an at-large bid. Kiley will open his tournament against the No. 5 overall seed Joe Colon at 133 pounds. The two-time NCAA qualifier fell to Colon in the Huskers' final regular-season dual. Koehn will take on Quinton Godley of North Carolina State in his first dual.
Green Continues to Move Up Freshman Wins Chart
True freshman James Green continues to climb the freshman wins chart after reaching the 30-win mark at the Big Ten Championships. Green now ranks at No. 6 on the list, passing Tucker Lane, John Buxton and Matt Keller, who had all won 28 in their freshman campaigns.
Green is also the first Husker freshman to win 30 matches in a season since J.R. Plienis won 31 decisions in 1997-98.
Redshirt freshman Robert Kokesh also cracked the top-10, checking in a No. 8 with 28 victories.
Three Freshmen Have Chance to Make History
Jake Sueflohn, James Green and Robert Kokesh all have the opportunity to make history at the NCAA championships, as each of them have the chance to be the first freshman national champion in school history. All three wrestlers earned a top-12 seed at their respective weight classes.
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.
Koehn Shines 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.
Ihnen Having Career Year
Junior Josh Ihnen is having the best year of his Husker career in 2011-12. Ihnen is 23-5 on the year and finished 16-3 in dual competition. Ihnen's seven major decisions this year are one better than his total from a year ago and his 60 team dual points was 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. The Sheldon, Iowa, native avenged the loss to Wright he suffered earlier in the year in the semifinals of the Big Ten Championships, coming out on top, 3-1, to advance to the finals.
Nakashima Goes Extra Time
Senior James Nakashima has wrestled in a team-high seven overtime matches this season, going 5-2 in those duals. Nakashima defeated No. 14 Max Huntley of Michigan in the seventh-place match of the Big Ten Championships in overtime, accumulating more riding time than Huntley after wrestling two tiebreaker periods.
Nakashima has wrestled in 15 matches this season decided by two points or less. The senior is 19-9 on the year and finished with a 13-4 dual record.
2011 NCAA Championships: Burroughs Wins Second National Title
Former Husker Jordan Burroughs capped off his iconic career by becoming the school's first-ever two-time national champion with his major decision victory over Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma) in the finals of the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in Philadelphia, Pa. Burroughs finished the season with a perfect 36-0 record, the second undefeated season of his career after he captured the 2009 national title at 157 pounds.
As a team, the Huskers finished in 12th place for the second consecutive season with 43.5 points.
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 three.
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.
Huskers Announce Summer Camp Dates
The Nebraska wrestling program has announced camp dates for the summer of 2012 on the days listed below. Camp information, including dates, costs and an application form can be found at Nebraska's official athletic web site, Huskers.com.
The Husker staff will host three team camps and three specialized individual camps during the summer of 2012. Wrestlers in attendance will have a chance to learn from and compete with the Husker wrestling staff and team members. Head Coach Mark Manning will provide instruction at each camp as well as numerous guest instructors.
Team Camp I - June 17-21
Team Camp II - July 8-12
Team Camp III - July 15-19
Technique Camp - June 21-24
Intensive Camp - July 6-19
Takedown Camp - July 12-15
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.
Huskers Move into Hendricks Training Complex
The Nebraska wrestling program experienced some major changes over the offseason when it moved into the new Hendricks Training Complex, which was opened in October. The new home for the wrestling and the men's and women's basketball programs, the Hendricks Training Complex is home to the Huskers' new wrestling room, which features four full-sized mats, more than doubling the size of the previous wrestling room at the Devaney Center. The $18.7 million complex also features a new 5,000-square foot weight room and is home to the Nebraska wrestling offices.