Nebraska junior Jake Sueflohn’s record this season doesn’t shine quite as bright as teammates James Green and Robert Kokesh.
Green and Kokesh are a combined 46-1, while Sueflohn is 22-3. But looking at Sueflohn’s three losses, there’s not a bad one in the bunch.
Sueflohn lost decisions to Missouri’s Drake Houdashelt in the final of the season-opening Daktronics Open; Northwestern freshman Jason Tsirtsis 3-2 in a dual; and Oklahoma’s Kendric Maple in the Cliff Keen Invitational final.
In this week’s InterMat 149-pound rankings, Houdashelt is No. 1, Maple is No. 2 and Tsirtsis is No. 4.
Sueflohn is right behind them at No. 5. He’s working to get over the hump against those in front of him.
“It’s learning how to wrestle really explosive guys, like James,” said Sueflohn, referring to Green. “Having him in the (practice) room has been instrumental to my progress for getting there.”
Sueflohn has knocked off a pair of ranked opponents this season. He defeated No. 7 Eric Grajales of Michigan at Cliff Keen before losing to Maple, and last Saturday he earned a 5-2 decision over No. 13 Brody Grothus of Iowa.
Sueflohn was in control against Grothus, recording his second takedown of the match early in the second period to build a 5-1 lead.
“I thought I started out real well. I was moving my feet well, attacking both sides of his body. The third period I kind of let him slow me down,” Sueflohn said.
The victory over Grothus gave Sueflohn 17 wins in his last 18 matches.
“I really like where he’s at. I really like how he’s got that fire burning,” Nebraska coach Mark Manning said. “He’s built a lot of momentum. He’s getting better in areas where he needs to.”
Sueflohn gets to see another ranked opponent this weekend as Nebraska hits the road for a pair of Big Ten duals. The Huskers face Ohio State at 6 p.m. Friday and then Purdue at noon Sunday.
Sueflohn likely will face Ohio State’s Ian Paddock, ranked 18th. Sueflohn decisioned Paddock 11-5 last season and also got a 10-2 major decision against him during the Cliff Keen Invitational earlier this season.
There will be more ranked opponents for Sueflohn in the near future. Eight Big Ten wrestlers are in the top 20 at 149 pounds, including five of the top eight.
“You just have to keep getting better, getting better for Big Ten and nationals,” Sueflohn said.
Sueflohn qualified for nationals his first two seasons, but hasn’t placed. He won his first two matches a year ago before losing his next two.
“He’s gotten better on the mat and he’s gotten better on his feet,” Manning said. “He’s got a better understanding of what he needs to do. He isn’t making the number of mistakes he did the last couple of years.”
» Notes: Nebraska is 2-1 in Big Ten duals this season. Ohio State is 2-2, while Purdue is 0-4. ... Of the seven ranked wrestlers in Ohio State’s lineup, four are in the top eight, according to InterMat. The highest-ranked Buckeye is Logan Stieber, who is third at 141. Stieber won the 133-pound national title last season. ... Nebraska’s Caleb Kolb moved into the 197-pound InterMat rankings this week at No. 20. Kolb has split time in the NU lineup at 197 with Spencer Johnson. NU will face a pair of ranked opponents at that spot this weekend — Ohio State’s Nick Heflin is eighth and Purdue’s Braden Atwood is 15th.