The Nebraska wrestling team will send five wrestlers to the second round of the championship bracket at the 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships after completing Session I Thursday morning. Competing in front of a sold-out crowd at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo., the Huskers went a combined 6-3 and notched two bonus-point victories.
In the team standings, Nebraska will enter Session II in seventh place with a total of 12 points. Penn State is currently in first place with 25.5 points, followed by Minnesota (25.0), Oklahoma State (17.5), Cornell (17.0) and Iowa (17.0) to round out the top five.
True freshman James Green (157) picked up his first NCAA tournament victory with a 16-7 major decision over Brian Tanen (Lehigh). The No. 11 seed Green was dominant out of the gate, recording three takedowns in the first period to gain a 6-2 advantage, and cruised to the victory. Green will face off against the No. 6 seed James Fleming (Clarion) in tonight's second session.
Robert Kokesh (165) was in on several shot attempts in the first period of his match against Zach Toal (Missouri), but wasn't able to covert and entered the second tied at 0-0. In the second, the redshirt freshman earned an escape and tallied a takedown with 1:30 left to take a 3-0 lead, before Toal escaped to pull within two at 3-1. Kokesh was dominant in the third, keeping the Big 12 champion in the down position for the entire period. Kokesh will battle Patrick Graham (Oklahoma) in the second round.
Junior Tyler Koehn (174) tallied a victory in his first NCAA Championships, with a tight 3-2 decision over Quinton Godley (North Carolina State). The Pittsburg, Kan., native will face off against the No. 3 seed Nick Amuchastegui (Stanford) for the chance to advance to the quarterfinals.
Josh Ihnen started his quest to earn his first All-American honor with a dominant 16-4 major decision victory over Ophir Bernstein (Brown) in the first round. The three-time NCAA qualifier recorded a takedown and turned it into a 3-point nearfall in the first period to kick start the victory. Ihnen will wrestle against the No. 10 seed Jacob Swartz (Boise State) in the second round.
At 197 pounds, senior James Nakashima won two overtime matches to advance to the second round. Nakashima opened his tournament in the pigtail round with a 3-1 sudden-victory decision over Kelby Smith (Citadel), before defeating Joe Budi (Old Dominion), 7-6, in the tiebreaker. With a 4-2 lead against Budi with less than a minute left, Nakashima gave up an escape and a takedown to fall behind 5-4 with little time remaining. Nakashima was able to tie the match at 5-5 with an escape with 33 seconds left and recorded a reversal in the first tiebreaker to go ahead 7-5 and was able to hold on for the win. Nakashima will move on to face Cody Reed (Binghamton) in the second round.
Jake Sueflohn dropped a back-and-forth match to Zach Neibert (Virginia Tech) at 141 pounds in his opening match. Sueflohn held a 5-4 lead after an action-packed first period, where Neibert led off with a quick takedown to take a 2-0 advantage. The two then traded reversals and Sueflohn gained an escape to pull within one at 4-3. The Watertwon, Wis., native took Neibert down with a little over a minute left in the period and held Neibert in the down position for the remaining time. Sueflohn rode Neibert for the entire second period to gain the riding time advantage, but was turned on to his back at the start of the third and surrendered a 2-point nearfall and couldn't produce any more offense, falling by a 6-5 score. Sueflohn will now take on Mike Kessler (Appalachian State) in the first round of the consolation bracket.
Ridge Kiley (133) dropped his first round match to No. 5 Joe Colon (Northern Iowa) by major decision, 10-1, and will wrestle either Geoffrey Alexander (Maryland) or Bryan Ortenzio (Penn) in the consolation first round.
No. 11 Tucker Lane fell to Maciej Jochym (Cornell) in his first round match by decision, 4-2, and will try and work his way back through the consolation bracket starting with a match-up against Quintas McCorkle (Clarion).
Session II, which includes second round championship matches and first round consolation matches, will resume Thursday night from the Scottrade Center at 6:30 p.m. (CT).
Courtesy: Nebraska Media Relations