Published Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 8:58 pm / Updated at 10:44 pm
Huskers look to build off tourney success
Wyoming at Nebraska
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Devaney Center, Lincoln

Nebraska showed in December that it's a pretty good tournament team.

The Huskers started the month by finishing second at the 33-team Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. Then, just before Christmas, Nebraska easily won the Reno Tournament of Champions.

But coach Mark Manning knows there's always something to improve upon with his young team.

“We had some inconsistency, I thought, individually,” Manning said. “We'd wrestle a couple of good matches and then we wouldn't wrestle a good match. But we have guys growing up in front of our eyes, so we're going to have a little bit of that.”

Manning said those December tournaments will help prepare the team for the Big Ten championships and nationals in March. But for the next two months, the Huskers will concentrate on duals. That portion of the schedule begins 7 p.m. Friday when the Huskers face Wyoming at the Devaney Center.

The Huskers won the Reno meet with 159 points, while Wyoming was runner-up with 103.

“They have a lot of good individuals,” Manning said.

Manning, whose Huskers went 5-0 in duals in November, said his team is a little nicked up. Because of that, Manning may shuffle his lineup Friday.

But one Husker expected to be in the lineup is James Green at 157 pounds. Green won his weight class at both tournaments and, at 18-0, is the only unbeaten Husker.

“He's been really consistent,” Manning said. “We expect a lot from James, and he's right on track.”

Green is a two-time All-American, finishing seventh at nationals as a freshman and sophomore. Over the summer, Green competed for the United States in the World University Games in Russia.

Manning said qualifying for events like that has helped Green become a better collegiate wrestler.

“James was sick during the Las Vegas tournament, but that just shows his toughness,” Manning said. “His last two matches, he was hurting, but he got through because he's maybe a little more mentally tougher than he was a couple of years ago.”

Green, Jake Sueflohn (149) and Robert Kokesh (174) were individual champions for NU at the Reno tournament. All three are ranked in the top six nationally in their weight classes by InterMat, and as a team Nebraska is ranked seventh.

Ľ Notes: While Nebraska is 5-0 in duals this season, Wyoming is 1-3. The Cowboys beat No. 19 Boise State 17-15 while losing to No. 2 Minnesota, No. 4 Oklahoma State and No. 21 Oregon State. ... Wyoming finished with two individual champions at Reno — Tyler Cox (125) and Benjamin Stroh (184). ... Nebraska beat the Cowboys 22-15 in a dual last season. ... Nebraska will have three more home duals in the next two weeks. The Huskers face Indiana and Penn next weekend, while a showdown with Iowa looms Jan. 18.

Contact the writer: Gene Schinzel    |   402-444-1038    |  

Gene Schinzel is a copy editor and staff writer for The World-Herald.



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