ANN ARBOR, Mich. — After losing a pair of tight duals before Christmas, the Nebraska wrestling team won a close one Friday night.
The 17th-ranked Huskers won two of the final three matches to rally for a 20-19 win at No. 11 Michigan, giving Nebraska its first Big Ten dual victory of the season.
Nebraska had lost two of its final three duals before the holidays, falling 19-17 to Wisconsin and 18-17 to Maryland.
The key match for the Huskers on Friday was a pin by Shawn Nagel at 133 pounds.
With the Huskers trailing 16-11 with three matches left, Nagel put Nebraska back ahead as he pinned Rossi Bruno 2:14 into the match. It was the first pin of the season for Nagel, who had a 10-9 record entering Friday.
NU’s Ridge Kiley followed that with a 4-3 decision over Camryn Jackson at 141 pounds. Jackson came into the weekend with an 8-2 record and is ranked 18th nationally.
Kiley’s win put the Huskers up 20-16, and even though Michigan’s Eric Grajales got a late takedown to edge Jake Sueflohn 3-2 at 149 pounds, the Wolverines fell one point short of catching the Huskers.
Friday’s match went back and forth as Nebraska won three of the first four matches to take an 11-6 lead.
With the dual starting with the 157-pound match, NU sophomore James Green won an 8-3 decision over Collin Zeerip. It was Green’s first match since he suffered an injury Dec. 1 in Las Vegas.
The Huskers also got early wins from Robert Kokesh at 174 and Josh Ihnen at 184.
Kokesh won his 18th match in a row as he decisioned 11th-ranked Dan Yates 9-3. Kokesh and Yates were supposed to meet earlier this season for the Cliff Keen Invitational title, but Yates defaulted because of a knee injury.
Ihnen, who missed NU’s previous invitational with an injury, improved to 16-2 on the season with an 18-3 technical fall over Chris Heald. Ihnen recorded five takedowns in his win.
Michigan won the next three matches to grab a 16-11 lead. That included heavyweight Ben Apland’s 9-3 decision over Spencer Johnson. Johnson, who wrestled at 197 for the Huskers last season, was making his season debut.
Nebraska looks for another league win Saturday at it travels to Northwestern for a 7 p.m. dual.
Individual results: 125: Sean Boyle, UM, major dec. Eric Coufal, 15-7. 133: Shawn Nagel, NU, pinned Rossi Bruno, 2:14. 141: Ridge Kiley, NU, dec. Camryn Jackson, 4-3. 149: Eric Grajales, UM, dec. Jake Sueflohn, 3-2. 157: James Green, NU, dec. Collin Zeerip, 8-3. 165: Taylor Massa, UM, pinned Austin Wilson, :45. 174: Robert Kokesh, NU, dec. Dan Yates, 9-3. 184: Josh Ihnen, NU, tech. fall over Chris Heald, 18-3. 197: Max Huntley, UM, dec. Caleb Kolb, 3-1. Hwt: Ben Apland, UM, dec. Spencer Johnson, 8-3.