Nebraska has a long, storied history on the wrestling mat. The Huskers have produced over 110 All-Americans and boast 11 individual national titles won by ten wrestlers. Two-time national champion Jordan Burroughs was the cream of the crop as a Husker and has continued his dominance on the world stage, winning Olympic gold in 2012 while racking up four world titles along the way. And he’s not done, as he’s a favorite to hit the medal stand again in 2020.
As a team, Nebraska has finished in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships 23 times, including each of the past five years. Head coach Mark Manning has led the team to eight of those top-10 finishes in 21 years at the helm, accumulating a slew of awards along the way.
Yet the Big Red on the mat has essentially flown under the radar in the Cornhusker state. At least as far as fanfare and media coverage is concerned.
So I’m here to do my part to remedy that.
My name is Dylan Guenther, and I’m the new Nebraska wrestling writer here at CornNation. So, who am I?
First and foremost, I’m an alum of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and a former sportswriter for the Lincoln Journal Star and the Columbus Telegram. On top of that, I’m just an all-around wrestling fan.
I’ve covered the sport. I’ve shot the sport. I’ve supported my eight-year-old nephew on the mat and even helped teach him in my spare time. At the moment, he’s no match for me when going head to head in my living room, but I anticipate my days are numbered there.
I feel there are a lot of Husker fans who are hungry for more wrestling coverage, so I’m here to whet their appetite as best I can. And since we’re smack dab in the middle of the wrestling season, I hope to hit the ground running.
I won’t pretend to know the most about wrestling or to be the world’s foremost expert, but I do know this: Nebraska is currently a top-10 program (currently No. 7) competing in an absolute gauntlet that is the Big Ten Conference. In fact, I’d argue that the Big Ten conference in wrestling may be the toughest conference in any sport in any division in the country.
Don’t agree with me?
Well, the last 13 teams to capture national titles hail from Big Ten country (Penn State, Ohio State, Iowa and Minnesota) and since 1991, the only non-Big Ten team to win a national title has been Oklahoma State, which has won five titles in that span. Now that’s what I call sheer domination over an extremely long stretch of time.
And when you look at this season alone, nine of the top 25 teams in the country are out of the Big Ten, including six of the top 11.
All of that puts into perspective the type of juggernaut that Nebraska got itself into when it joined the conference in 2011. And it doesn’t get any easier tonight when the Huskers travel to take on the top-ranked Hawkeyes of Iowa, a team considered the be the consensus favorite to win the title this year.
So here’s to hoping that NU gives me something positive to write about in my first go-round.