NU Wrestling opens Big Ten Slate Friday Night at home against Ohio State

No. 14 Nebraska (9-0, 0-0 Big Ten) vs. No. 6 Ohio State (7-0, 1-0 Big Ten)

NU Coliseum (4,030)  I  Lincoln, Neb.  I  Friday, Jan. 6, 2012  I  7 p.m.

Series History: NU leads, 6-1-0

Last Meeting: NU won, 24-11, on Nov. 21, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio

Video (subscription required): BTN.com

Live Stats: www.TrackWrestling.com
*Military Appreciation Night: All active and retired military personnel will receive free admittance to Nebraska's dual against Ohio State, along with the high school dual between Omaha Skutt and Grand Island starting at 5 p.m.

*Before the Huskers' dual, Nebraska high school programs Omaha Skutt and Grand Island will face off at 5 p.m.


Huskers Open Big Ten Slate at Home Against Buckeyes

After two of its most dominating victories of the season last week at the ASU Duals, the No. 14 Nebraska wrestling team returns to action this Friday, Jan. 6, when it opens the Big Ten Conference portion of its schedule against No. 6 Ohio State at 7 p.m. inside the NU Coliseum. The Huskers haven't dropped a dual yet this season by going a perfect 9-0, which is tied for the most wins to start a season by any team in school history.  The Buckeyes will enter the dual with a 7-0 mark, and a 1-0 record in Big Ten Conference competition.

 

Friday's dual marks Military Appreciation Night for the Husker program, with all active and retired military personnel receiving free admission to the dual. Also, before NU's dual against the Buckeyes, Nebraska high school programs Omaha Skutt and Grand Island will dual at 5 p.m. inside the NU Coliseum. Ticket prices for the special event are $10 for an adult and $6 for children and each fan only needs one ticket for admittance into both the high school dual and Nebraska dual.  Fans can order tickets by visiting Huskers.com or calling 1-800-8BIGRED. Military personnel will receive free admission to both the high school dual and the Huskers' match against OSU.

 

Live video will be available for the Huskers' dual at BTN.com (subscription required), or fans can view live stats by visiting www.TrackWrestling.com.

 

Nebraska is looking to win the first 10 duals of its season for the first time in school history as they begin their  first run through the Big Ten Conference. Six Huskers are ranked inside the top 25 of their respective weight classes, including five in the top 10. NU is led by redshirt freshman Robert Kokesh, who has stormed out to a 17-2 overall record and a 9-0 mark in dual action. Other ranked wrestlers for NU include No. 19 Ridge Kiley (133), No. 7 Jake Sueflohn (141), No. 10 James Green (157), No. 7 Josh Ihnen (184) and No. 9 Tucker Lane (Hwt).

 

The Huskers also welcome sophomore Caleb Kolb back to the lineup at 174 pounds after missing the first part of the season with an injury. Kolb saw his first action of the season in Nebraska's 42-0 shutout over Arizona State last Thursday. The Grove City, Pa., native was dominant in his first match back, defeating Jacob Graham (ASU) by major decision, 18-6. Kolb will battle with junior Tyler Koehn, who filled in for Kolb while he was dealing with the injury, for the starting spot. Koehn has amassed a 13-4 overall record and is 7-1 in dual competition.

 

Last Time Out: Huskers Sweep Through ASU Duals

The No. 14 Nebraska wrestling team matched its best start in school history after sweeping two matches at the ASU Duals in Tempe, Ariz., on Thursday, Dec. 29. The Huskers improved to 9-0 on the season by beating Boise State, 34-3, in their first dual, before shutting out host Arizona State, 42-0, in the last dual of the day.

 

Nebraska won 19 of the possible 20 matches between the two duals, while recording a total of 11 bonus-point victories, including seven major decisions and three pins. The win against Arizona State was Nebraska's first shutout since 2008 when they beat Augustana (S.D.), 50-0, while the 42 points was the most allowed by Sun Devil team in school history.

 

Senior Tucker Lane (Hwt) had one of the most impressive days of any Husker, defeating two nationally ranked opponents in No. 10 J.T. Felix (BSU) and No. 11 Levi Cooper (ASU). Lane cruised past Felix in his first match, 6-2, before taking down Cooper in overtime, 2-1, for his second victory over the Sun Devil wrestler this season.               True freshmen Jake Sueflohn (141) and James Green (157) continued their impressive first seasons by recording four bonus-point decisions between the two. No. 11 Sueflohn kicked off his day with a major decision victory over No. 16 Josh Strait (BSU), and pinned Nathan Hoffer (ASU) in 5:29 for his 15th win of the year. No. 13 Green did much of the same by beating No. 15 George Ivanov (BSU), 12-1, and Victor DeJesus, 16-5.

 

At 174 pounds, Tyler Koehn defeated Scott Bacon (BSU), 11-5. In the dual against Arizona State, sophomore Caleb Kolb returned to the mat for the first time this season and did so in impressive fashion by taking down Jacob Graham, 18-6.

 

No. 5 Robert Kokesh (165) remained perfect in dual competition for NU by recording a major decision over Michael Cuthbertson (BSU), and pinning Derek Felton (ASU) in 2:16 for his seventh fall of the season.

 

After a loss to Isaac Romero (BSU), sophomore Shawn Nagel (125) broke a six-dual losing streak by picking up his first pin of the season against Dalton Miller (ASU) in 1:26. No. 17 Ridge Kiley won two tight matches at 133 pounds, taking down Shawn Jones (BSU), 6-2, and Shane McGough (ASU), 6-1.

 

Senior James Nakashima (197) led off both duals with a pair of victories, including a major decision win over Derek Toney (BSU) and a 5-3 win over Tommy Burriel (ASU) to give the Huskers an early 3-0 lead over the Sun Devils.

 

Redshirt freshman Brandon Wilbourn (149) won his fourth and fifth straight duals of the year to raise his season win total to nine. Wilbourn pushed past Steve Hernandez (BSU), 7-4, before dominating his second match of the day against Kyle McIntosh (ASU), 14-3. No. 9 Josh Ihnen (184) closed out each of the duals with a victory. The Sheldon, Iowa, native won by medical forfeit over No. 12 Jake Swartz (BSU), before defeating Kevin Radford (ASU), 10-3.

 

Five Huskers Ranked Inside InterMat Top 10

The Nebraska wrestling team was well represented in the latest InterMat individual rankings, which were released Tuesday, Jan. 3. The Huskers have six wrestlers ranked inside the top 20 at their respective weight classes, including five ranked inside the top 10. The Huskers five top 10 wrestlers rank fourth in the Big Ten Conference.

 

As a team, the Huskers moved up to No. 12 in the InterMat rankings. NU was previously ranked at No. 21.

 

The Huskers are led by No. 3 Robert Kokesh (165), who has a 17-2 overall record this season and is a perfect 9-0 in dual competition. True freshmen Jake Sueflohn (141) and James Green (157) both cracked the top 10 this week, with Sueflohn moving up to No. 7 and Green checking in at No. 10. Sueflohn, a Watertown, Wis., native, has won 15 matches this season, while Green leads the team in victories with 19.

 

Senior Tucker Lane (Hwt) is ranked at No. 9, while junior Josh Ihnen (184) is placed at No. 7. Lane has been a force at heavyweight, defeating five nationally ranked opponents to help him to his 15-2 overall record. Ihnen has won 13 matches this season and has taken down five ranked foes.

 

Junior Ridge Kiley (133) is the other Husker ranked inside the top 20, checking in at No. 19. Kiley is 11-5, while going 7-2 in dual competition.

 

Scouting the Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State will feature one of the youngest and most talented lineups in the country, with nine of their ten projected starters being either sophomores of freshmen. The Buckeye's own a 7-0 dual record and have defeated three ranked opponents in No. 15 Virginia Tech, No. 9 Pittsburgh and No. 20 Kent State. The Buckeye's also participated in the Wrestle for a Cure Duals, where they beat Utah Valley, Old Dominion and North Carolina.

 

Redshirt freshman Logan Steiber (133) will lead the way for the Buckeyes. Steiber owns a perfect 16-0 record, with nine of his victories coming by pin. Steiber, who is ranked at No. 2 in the country, is joined by brother Hunter Stieber (141), who is rated No. 6 in the nation. The 141 pounder owns a 15-2 record and is 6-1 in duals.

 

Other ranked wrestlers for OSU include No. 15 Johnni Dijulius, No. 16 Cam Tessari (149), No. 5 Nick Heflin (174), No. 12 C.J. Magrum and No. 17 Peter Capone (Hwt).

 

The Buckeye's are coached by Tom Ryan, who is in his sixth season as head coach.

 

Huskers Look to Make History

With their two victories against Arizona State and Boise State at the ASU Duals last week, the Huskers improved to 9-0 for just the second time in school history, joining the 2000-01 squad as the only other team to do so. With a victory against Ohio State, it would mark the first time in school history a team has started 10-0, and would put them one victory away from tying the longest win streak in school history at 11, which was set in 1982-83.

 

Kolb Returns to Lineup, Creates Competition at 174

Sophomore Caleb Kolb made his first appearance in the Husker lineup against Arizona State after starting all of one dual at 174 pounds last season. Kolb, who sat out the first half of the season with an injury, was dominant in his return, racking up 18 points in a major decision victory over Jacob Graham (ASU). Kolb will continue to battle junior Tyler Koehn for the starting spot at 174 after Koehn recorded a 13-4 overall record while filling in for the injured Husker. Koehn, who began the year at 165 pounds, has won his last four matches, including an upset of No. 18 Patrick Martinez (Wyoming) by decision, 6-3, and also has two major decision this season.

 

Lane Seven Victories Away from 100-Win Club

Senior heavyweight Tucker Lane is only seven wins away from becoming the 20th wrestler in Nebraska history to win 100 matches during his career at Nebraska. 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 latest Husker to join the 100-win club was two-time NCAA champion Jordan Burroughs, who did so in 2010-11.

 

Freshmen Making Mark

The Huskers have received a boost from four freshmen in the middle of the lineup to help propel the team to its 9-0 start. Redshirt freshmen Brandon Wilbourn (149) and Robert Kokesh (165), along with true freshman Jake Sueflohn (141) and James Green (157) have combined to capture 27 dual victories. Green leads the pack with 19 overall victories and has won seven duals by major decision. The Willingboro, N.J., is currently ranked at No. 10 by InterMat. Kokesh has been nearly perfect this season, only dropping two matches to en route to his 17-2 record and a No. 3 ranking. The Wagner, S.D., native has won 13 out of his 17 matches in bonus-point fashion, with seven pins, one technical fall and five major decisions. Sueflohn has won 13 matches this season and has a 6-1 dual record, while Wilbourn has won five straight matches to bring his record to 9-4.

 

Huskers Next Home Dual Featured on Big Ten Network on Tape Delay

The Huskers next home dual against No. 1 Iowa on Jan. 13 will be aired on tape delay on the Big Ten Network. The Huskers and Hawkeyes will wrestle at the NU Coliseum starting at 7 p.m., with the broadcast beginning at 9 p.m. on the Big Ten Network. It will be the first appearance for NU on the Big Ten Network this season.

 

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.

 

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 158-61-3 record, which is the best clip in school history. For his career, Manning owns a 181-85-5 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.

 

Huskers Sign Five Wrestlers

Head Coach Mark Manning and the Husker wrestling program announced the signings of four high school seniors and one junior college athlete who plan to enroll and compete at Nebraska beginning with the 2012-13 season.

 

This year's class includes four wrestlers that have won state championships, and one wrestler that qualified for the NCAA tournament as a true freshman in 2010-11. The signees also include Howells, Neb., native and three-time Nebraska state champion Eric Coufal. Two of the recruits are ranked inside the top 85 nationally, according to InterMat.

 

2011-12 Nebraska Wrestling Signees (bold weights indicate projected college division)

Eric Coufal, Howells, Neb. (Howells) – 125/133

Coufal is the next wrestler to sign a letter-of-intent with the Huskers, continuing a strong connection between the Nebraska wrestling program and Howells High School. Coufal will begin his senior season with hopes of becoming only the state's 17th four-time state champion. A member of the NWCA Class D Academic All-State team as a junior, Coufal won his third state championship in as many years by pinning Garrett Bowder in 5:20 in the state final to finish his season 49-0. As a freshman he won the 103-pound state championship, before winning the 112-pound Class D title his sophomore year to help him rack up 124 career wins to go with no losses. Coufal will project as a 125 or 133 pounder.

 

Frank Cagnina, Hillsdale, N.J. (Iowa Central CC/Lehigh/Queen of Peace) – 133

Cagnina will come to Nebraska from Iowa Central Community College after transferring from Lehigh following his true freshman season. Cagnina will bring a wealth of experience to the Huskers as he qualified for the NCAA tournament at 133 pounds in his only season with the Mountain Hawks in 2011. The Hillsdale, N.J., native finished his season with a 20-6 overall record and nine major decision victories.

 

Cagnina was a highly rated recruit coming out of Queen of Peace High School where he was a three-time state champion and owned a 162-4 career record. Cagnina won the 103-pound state title as a freshman, before winning state titles his junior and senior seasons at 125 and 130 pounds, respectively. Cagnina went 82-0 during his last two seasons in high school. Ranked second nationally in his weight class and No. 20 overall, Cagnina was a Super 32 finalist two times and captured the title in 2009.

 

Ben Morgan, Forest Lake, Minn. (Forest Lake) – 133

Morgan is a five-time state qualifier for Forest Lake High School and won the 2008 112-pound Class AAA state championship as an eighth grader to finish his year with a 44-3 record. The No. 84 overall recruit in the country according to InterMat, Morgan has racked up 196 career victories during his five year career, which included varsity seasons in seventh and eighth grade. In 2009, Morgan took third at the state meet at 119 pounds and has placed third in both 2010 and 2011 at 130 pounds to help him become the school's all-time wins leader. Morgan is the son of 1996 U.S. Olympic wrestler Gordy Morgan.

 

Tim Lambert, Forest Hills Mich. (Forest Hills Eastern) – 125

The No. 2 ranked wrestler at 120 pounds and No. 35 recruit nationally, Lambert has finished in the top five at the Michigan state wrestling tournament for three consecutive seasons. Lambert took home third place as a junior by going 61-1, after recording a second place finish as a sophomore. Lambert finished in fifth place as a freshman. This summer, Lambert made a strong showing at the Junior Nationals in Fargo, N.D., pinning Cory Clark from Iowa to take third place honors. Lambert owns the Michigan state high school record for most three-point near falls in a season with 125 in 2010-11, breaking his own record of 109 which he did in 2009-10. Lambert has a 178-5 overall record entering his senior season.

 

McCoy Newberg, Franklin, Tenn. (Independence) – 174/184

The first recruit to join the Husker program from the state of Tennessee since Matt Keller in 2002-03, Newberg is a two-time state placer at the DI Tennessee state wrestling championships, including a first-place finish his junior season at 160 pounds. Newberg finished his junior year with a 51-2 record and won the Most Outstanding Wrestler award in his division for his efforts on the mat. Newberg was dominant during his state championships season, recording 157 takedowns, 23 pins and 11 technical falls. As a sophomore, Newberg finished third at the state championships which helped him reach his 129 career win total. Newberg is a two-time NHSCA All-American, including a second place finish in 2009 as a freshman.

 

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.