The last loss James Green suffered is still fresh in the Nebraska sophomore wrestler's memory.
That defeat was awhile ago, back in March at the NCAA Championships.
“I lost two matches by one point at nationals. It's tough to lose by one because that's when you think, 'What if this, what if that?'” Green said. “Those are just things you have to learn from. You got to know what to do the next time you're in that situation.”
Green hasn't put himself in many of those situations this season. In fact, Green, who wrestles at 157 pounds, is 10-0 and has won most of those matches in dominant fashion going into this weekend's Cliff Keen Invitational.
Green, who earned All-American status after finishing seventh at 157 at the NCAA championships last season, is currently ranked in the top six of his weight class in all three national individual ratings. His highest ranking is No. 4 in this week's Amateur Wrestling News.
“James has really improved,” Nebraska coach Mark Manning said. “One, he's a lot bigger for the weight class this year, he's stronger and obviously a year more mature. He understands the college wrestling game a little bit better.”
Green is building off a standout freshman year when he finished with a team-high 34 wins. Thirteen of those victories were by major decision, also a team high.
This season, Green already has four major decision wins and three others by technical fall. During a double dual with North Carolina and South Dakota State last Sunday, Green recorded 11 takedowns against his two opponents.
“Last year, I did a lot on my feet. This year, I'm mixing it up,” Green said. “This year I'm getting more riding time and still been able to dominate people on my feet.”
Manning said the area where Green has really improved has been his ability to control opponents from the top-bottom position.
“He's gotten a whole lot better on the mat. He's more of a complete wrestler,” Manning said.
Green was an accomplished wrestler when he arrived at Nebraska. He compiled a 148-8 record in high school in Willingboro, N.J. He was an undefeated state champion as a senior.
“We knew we were getting a guy with great character, and he's made strides faster than we thought he would,” Manning said.
ĽNOTES: Nebraska returns for an 11-day break after it competes at the Cliff Keen Invitational, which takes place Friday and Saturday in Las Vegas. Thirty-two teams will participate in the invitational. Nebraska finished fourth at the event last season. ... Green is the only Husker in the starting lineup who comes into the weekend undefeated. Skylar Wood (125, 5-1), Ridge Kiley (141, 1-1), Jake Sueflohn (149, 6-1), Robert Kokesh (174, 7-1) and Josh Ihnen (184, 8-1) all have one loss. Wood, a freshman from Platte County, Mo., is in NU's starting lineup for the first time after he went 5-1 at the Nebraska-Kearney Open on Nov. 17.
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