NEB Wrestling: Huskers Begin Season at Daktronics Open

Posted By: Sports

Courtesy: UNL Media Relations

#15 Nebraska Cornhuskers at Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open
Sunday, Nov. 5, 9 a.m. (CT) – Brookings, S.D. (Frost Arena)
Live Broadcast and Brackets: FloWrestling (Subscription Required)

Huskers Begin Season at Daktronics Open
The Nebraska wrestling team opens the regular season this week at the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open, as the Huskers are set to bring a full team to the tournament contested Sunday in Brookings, S.D. Action at Frost Arena is set to begin at 9 a.m. (CT) and the tournament will be broadcast live on FloWrestling (subscription required) and live results and brackets will be available at TrackWrestling.

The Daktronics Open marks the first regular-season competition for Nebraska in 2017-18, and will assist the coaching staff in forming the dual lineup, as NU begins its dual season Nov. 17 against Wyoming at the Devaney Center.

Nebraska returns just two NCAA qualifiers from last season’s team in Tyler Berger and Colton McCrystal. Berger was an All-American after finishing fifth at 157 pounds last season, while McCrystal reached the round of 12 at the NCAA Championships last season at 141 pounds, and is set to move up to 149 this season.

In all, the Huskers return 15 letterwinners from last season’s team, but must fill at least six spots in the starting lineup due to graduation.

The Huskers begin the season ranked 15th in the USA Today/NWCA Coaches Poll, as well as 11th in InterMat’s dual meet rankings and 17th in the same publication’s tournament rankings. Four Huskers are ranked individually by InterMat, including Chad Red Jr. (141-17th), McCrystal (149-ninth), Berger (157-fourth) and Isaiah White (165-19th).

The Huskers open their dual season against Wyoming on Nov. 17 at the Devaney Center. Tickets to the Wyoming dual, as well as each of the seven home duals are on sale now, and can be purchased at or by calling 1-800-8-BIG-RED.

Nebraska’s History at the Daktronics Open
Nebraska is competing at the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open for a fifth time, as the Huskers have competed at the tournament in Brookings, S.D., in both of the last two seasons, as well as in 2012 and 2013.

Husker wrestlers have claimed a total of 20 weight class titles at the Daktronics, and four current Huskers own Daktronics Open titles. Tyler Berger has won the 157-pound title each of the last two seasons, while Chad Red Jr. won at 141 last season. Kris Williams (125) and Dustin Williams (165) both earned titles in 2015.

Nebraska’s Champions at the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open

  • 2012: Tim Lambert (125); Shawn Nagel (133); Skylar Galloway (141); Jake Sueflohn (149); James Green (157); Robert Kokesh (174); Tyler Koehn (174); Josh Ihnen (184)
  • 2013: James Green (157); Robert Kokesh (174); Collin Jensen (HWT)
  • 2015: Kris Williams (125); Tim Lambert (125); Eric Montoya (133); Jake Sueflohn (149); Tyler Berger (157); Dustin Williams (165); Micah Barnes (174)
  • 2016: Chad Red Jr. (141); Tyler Berger (157); TJ Dudley (184)

Nebraska to Face Strong Dual Schedule in 2017-18
Nebraska posted a 12-4 dual record in 2016-17, its seventh consecutive winning season and 28th winning season in the last 30 years. This winter, the Huskers will look to continue that streak, as they will be tested by a dual schedule designed to have them ready for postseason action.

The home schedule will be highlighted by matchups against 2017 NCAA Championships top-25 finishers North Carolina State, Rutgers and Wyoming. Maryland, Purdue and Indiana will also visit in Big Ten competition. In non-conference action, the Huskers will also host North Carolina.

Nebraska will travel to last year’s top-25 finishers Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin in Big Ten action, and end the season with a road trip to Stanford. The Huskers will also travel to West Virginia, Northwestern and Michigan State this season. In tournament action, in addition to the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open this weekend, the Huskers will again travel to the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational Dec. 1-2 after a two-year hiatus.

All-American Berger Returns Looking for More
Nebraska’s lone returning All-American Tyler Berger returns as a junior looking to take the next step and join an elite list of multiple-time All-Americans. The 157-pounder took fifth at the NCAA Championships last season, continuing a string of success at that weight in recent years, as the Huskers have had an All-American at 157 in five of the past seven seasons.

Berger, from Prineville, Ore., was Nebraska’s wins leader with 36 last season, giving him a career record of 60-19 to put him on pace to be the next member of Nebraska’s 100-win club. Of Berger’s six losses last season, five of them came to either Jason Nolf of Penn State or Michael Kemerer of Iowa, the top two seeds at the NCAA Championships. Berger, a two-time NCAA Championships qualifier, finished third at the Big Ten Championships last season.

Nebraska also returns an NCAA qualifier in senior Colton McCrystal, who advanced to the Round of 12 at 141 pounds last year. He also finished third at the Big Ten Championships, while racking up the second-most wins on the team with 34, with 17 coming by bonus points. McCrystal is set to compete at 149 this season.

Huskers Seek New Contributors
With six starters from a season ago lost to graduation, including three All-Americans, Nebraska’s 10 weight classes will look dramatically different from 2016-17. With just two NCAA qualifiers returning from last year’s team, the Huskers will be evaluating each weight class in practice, wrestle-offs and open tournaments before the start of the dual season on Nov. 17.

At 141 pounds, Chad Red Jr., a highly touted recruit who had a strong redshirt season, should get the call, while Isaiah White, who transferred to Nebraska in the offseason after winning the Division II national championship in 2017, is the favorite to be Nebraska’s starter at 165.

Nebraska will also look to replace starters at the two lowest weight classes, 125 and 133, and the four upper weights, 174, 184, 197 and heavyweight. Redshirt freshmen Taylor Venz and Eric Schultz look to have the inside track at 184 and 197 pounds, but open competition at each weight class will be productive for the Huskers as the season gets started.

Huskers Bring Back Dual Experience
Nebraska returns eight wrestlers with dual experience this season, including All-American Tyler Berger and NCAA qualifier Colton McCrystal. Both Berger and McCrystal racked up over 30 wins for the Huskers in 2017.

Collin Purinton (149), Jordan Shearer (149), Justin Arthur (157), Dustin Williams (165), Eric Engler (174) and David Jensen (HWT) each saw action in dual meets for the Huskers last season, and look to contribute again this year. In addition to Berger and McCrystal, Purinton and Williams were starters for NU at the Big Ten Championships last season.

Last Time Out: Intrasquad Wrestle-Offs
Oct. 27 • Bob Devaney Sports Center

Nebraska competed in front of fans for the first time last Friday, as it hosted Intrasquad Wrestle-Offs at the Devaney Center.

24 bouts were held, including at least one at each weight class, while seven weight classes held multiple matches.

Returning NCAA qualifiers Tyler Berger (157) and Colton McCrystal (149) put on a show for the fans, as Berger won his match by a major decision, while McCrystal went 2-0.

Kris Williams (125), Chad Red Jr. (141), Isaiah White (165), Beau Breske (174) and Patrick Grayson (HWT) each went 2-0 as well.

Brian Peska (133), Taylor Venz (184) and Eric Schultz (197) each won the only bout contested at their weight class.

2016-17 Review
NCAA Championships

Nebraska finished ninth overall with 59.5 points, its most at an NCAA Championships since 2009, and the third straight season in which NU finished in the top-10.

Four Huskers earned All-America honors: seniors TJ Dudley (3rd – 184), Aaron Studebaker (5th -197), Eric Montoya (6th – 133) and Tyler Berger (5th – 157). The four All-America honors were also the most by an NU team since 2009.

Big Ten Championships
Nebraska finished fourth overall with 102.5 points, the second consecutive year the Huskers scored more than 100 points at the tournament, matching its best finish since joining the conference in 2011.

Regular Season
Nebraska posted a 12-4 record, and 6-3 in the Big Ten. NU finished the dual season ranked fifth in the NWCA Coaches Poll. Dudley, Montoya, Studebaker and Tim Lambert each won their 100th-collegiate match as seniors in 2016-17