Senior Ridge Kiley’s focus Friday night will be on his opponent at 141 pounds.
But in the days leading up to Nebraska’s dual against Michigan State, Kiley allowed himself to reflect.
“I was talking about it with my roommate and teammate, Josh Ihnen,” Kiley said, referring to Nebraska’s final home dual of the season. “We said we remember that we were freshmen just like it was yesterday and reminisced about some of the funny things of the past. It is hard to believe my last home dual ever is coming up.”
Kiley and Ihnen are two of five NU seniors who will be honored before the match as part of Senior Night. The others are Tyler Koehn, Ross Grande and Michael Klinginsmith.
“These guys have been a very instrumental group. They’ve carried through the values and character of the Nebraska wrestling team,” NU coach Mark Manning said. “They mean a lot to our program.”
A win for Kiley on Friday night would be his 70th as a Husker. Kiley went 17-16 at 133 pounds during his junior year and has improved to 12-7 this season after moving up to 141. His only loss this month came last Sunday when Penn State’s Bryan Pearsall earned a hard-fought 2-0 decision.
“Making 133 last year was pretty hard,” Kiley said. “Getting rid of a lot of the weight cutting aspects allows me to focus on getting better.”
Ihnen also is coming off a loss. He was beat by Penn State’s Ed Ruth, a two-time national champion. That was Ihnen’s third loss this season, and he’s ranked eighth nationally at 184 pounds.
When asked last week about competing in his final home dual, Ihnen, who has 91 career wins at Nebraska, said he hadn’t thought about it too much. Ihnen said it’s just another dual as he and his teammates keep preparing for next month’s Big Ten and NCAA Championships.
“I want to be peaking at the end of the year,” Ihnen said. “If I was peaking now, I’d be a little worried.”
Koehn also is expected to be in the lineup against the Spartans. Koehn is 4-3 at 165 pounds this season after qualifying for nationals at 174 last season.
ĽNotes: Besides the team’s seniors, NU also will honor former Husker Jordan Burroughs, who won an Olympic gold medal last summer, and former Athletic Director Tom Osborne. ... A pair of Huskers moved up in the InterMat national rankings this week after defeating Penn State wrestlers. At 174, Robert Kokesh, who is on a 21-match winning streak, moved up one spot to No. 3, while Jake Sueflohn climbed five spots to seventh at 149. ... Michigan State, whose only ranked wrestler is heavyweight Michael McClure, is 0-5 in Big Ten duals this season. Its most recent defeat was an 18-15 loss last week to Northwestern, a team Nebraska downed 25-12 on Jan. 12. ... Nebraska wraps up Big Ten dual action on Feb. 10 at Iowa, which is ranked third nationally.
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