The state of Nebraska isn’t a traditional powerhouse when it comes to wrestling, but the state does churn out a few Division I wrestlers each year. Some have become Huskers, while some have gone elsewhere to have success.
As is for any program, locking down the best in-state prospects should be a priority. And the Huskers have done a decent job of getting the best in the state to Lincoln. Obviously, there have been some big misses — such as Joel Adams going to Michigan and Isaac Trumble going to NC State.
However, Nebraska has in the past two classes signed some of the state’s best in Antrell Taylor of Millard South and Kael Lauridsen of Bennington. Both were some of the best in the country coming out of high school with Lauridsen getting set for his true freshman season and Taylor about to be a redshirt freshman.
With eight current Huskers from Nebraska, it’ll be interesting who the Huskers will keep an eye on over the next few years.
Nebraska Natives on Husker Roster
125 - Kael Lauridsen, Fr. (Bennington)
133 - Drew Cooper, Fr. (Omaha Skutt)
141 - Blake Cushing, So. (Grand Island)
149 - Tyler Antoniak, R-Fr. (Millard South)
149 - Scott Robertson, Fr. (Millard South)
157 - Antrell Taylor, R-Fr. (Millard South)
157 - Josh Licking, So. (Norfolk)
174 - Jake Licking, Fr. (Norfolk)
Let’s take a look at some of the state’s best who could warrant an offer from Nebraska.
Tyson Terry - Class of 2025
This one is tricky. Tyson Terry is an extremely gifted heavyweight wrestler and is probably the best the state has ever seen. And yes, he’s already committed to Nebraska — to play football.
TYSON TERRY HAS COMMITTED TO NEBRASKA. pic.twitter.com/HkPspklw85— Blackshirts (@blvckshirts) June 10, 2023
It’s an absolute long shot, but it would be a coup for the wrestling program if they were to convince both Terry and the Husker football coaching staff to let him wrestle. In fact, there’s been a trend of top-level heavies committing to both play football and wrestle lately. Just in the 2023 class, Ben Kueter is committed to both at Iowa while Jim Mullen will do the same for Virginia Tech. Both are top-shelf heavyweight prospects.
The reason I bring it up is because of just how dominant Terry has been in high school. Through two seasons, the junior-to-be is 96-0 with two Class A state titles to his name. In reality, he hasn’t been legitimately challenged in high school and will probably end his years at Omaha North undefeated with four state titles.
Cade Ziola - Class of 2025
As far as guys that compete nationally, not many guys in Nebraska do it more than Cade Ziola. He’s wrestled at national tournaments such as Ironman, the Dan Gable Donnybrook and Fargo Nationals.
Last year, Ziola placed seventh at Ironman while making it to the Donnybrook finals. In late July, Ziola went 5-2 at Fargo in the Junior division. At Ironman, Ziola showed he’s right there with the best in the country when he dropped a narrow 5-2 decision against No. 1-overall recruit Angelo Ferrari who is heading to Iowa (watch that match below).
In high school in Nebraska, Ziola finished as the state runner-up at 152 pounds as a freshman. He followed that up with a Class B state title at 170 as a sophomore. Heading into his junior year, Ziola is expected to move up to the new 175-pound division in search of his second state title.
When the class of 2025 rolls around, Ziola would fit right in because the Huskers will have needs at both 184 and 197.
Hudson Loges - Class of 2025
Heading into his junior year, Hudson Loges has had an impressive high school career already. As a freshman, he went 54-6 in finishing third at state. He then broke through as a sophomore by winning his first state title at 106 pounds with a 54-1 record on the year.
Away from the local folkstyle scene, Loges has excelled in Greco-Roman. Earlier this summer, Loges earned a spot on the U17 Greco-Roman World Team and just competed for Team USA in Istanbul, Turkey last week. He lost his opening match and was eliminated, but making the World Team is no small accomplishment in itself.
Hudson Loges of MWC is a 2023 US Open CHAMPION‼️ He will now be a part of the Team USA U17 World Team at 51kg when they travel to the World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey‼️ Congratulations Hudson pic.twitter.com/2VALzh3sJn— NE USA Wrestling (@NEUSAWrestling) April 27, 2023
With his 108-7 career record, Loges goes into his junior year as the only Nebraskan who’s ranked nationally at his weight. According to FloWrestling, Loges is ranked No. 13 in the country at 106 pounds.
Zaiyahn Ornelas - Class of 2026
The only wrestler on this list from the Class of 2026, Zaiyahn Ornelas burst onto the high school scene after a very successful time in middle school. A sophomore-to-be out of Class C Wilber-Clatonia, Ornelas finished his freshman year with a state title and an undefeated 43-0 record. He won his state title match via 18-2 tech fall.
In April, Ornelas finished in 3rd place at the U17 US Open (see below). Most recently, Ornelas competed in the 16U division at Fargo Nationals. He went 5-3 in freestyle, placing eighth for All-American honors. In Greco-Roman, he went 4-2 but failed to place.
Zaiyahn Ornelas finishes in 3rd Place at the US Open Events pic.twitter.com/6KfQdCTDqn— NE USA Wrestling (@NEUSAWrestling) April 29, 2023
Going into Fargo, Ornelas won titles in both freestyle and Greco at the USA Wrestling Southern Plains Regional, winning all his matches via either tech or pinfall.
It’s unlikely that Ornelas really gets challenged at the Class C level in Nebraska, so it’ll be interesting if he starts competing more nationally at big tournaments and how he does against the elite competition in them.
With a major need at 125 pounds in a couple years, Nebraska could bring in Ornelas in 2026 after the graduation of Caleb Smith.
Miles Anderson - Class of 2024
Another lightweight standout in Nebraska, Miles Anderson is going into his senior year as a two-time Class A state champion. A product of Nebraska’s biggest powerhouse program Millard South, Anderson won a state title as a sophomore at 113 pounds before jumping to 126 as a junior where he went 50-3 and won his second title.
This offseason, Anderson has been busy. He first wrestled at the Junior National Duals for Team Nebraska in both freestyle and Greco. He went 7-0 in freestyle, outscoring his opponents 79-3. In Greco, he was 5-0, outscoring his opponents 51-8.
Anderson also competed at Fargo Nationals where he went 5-2 in freestyle and 6-2 in Greco, taking All-American honors in Greco with a 7th-place finish.
It’s unclear what weight class Anderson wrestles at this season, but he’s shown to be good enough to get some Division I interest.
Kyler Lauridsen - Class of 2025
The younger brother of incoming Husker freshman Kael Lauridsen, Kyler is on track to match his brother’s four state titles wrestling for Bennington.
As a freshman at 126 pounds, Kyler went 47-2 and won his first state title. Then as a sophomore, he went 37-2 and won his second title at 138 pounds.
It’s unclear what weight class Kyler will be at the rest of his high school days, but if he turns out as good as his brother, he’ll be a Husker target for sure.
Noah Blair - Class of 2024
Going into his senior season at Millard West, Noah Blair is already a two-time Class A State Champion, winning the 182-pound division the past two years. With the Nebraska high school weigh classes changing this season, Blair will have to wrestle at either 175 or 190 this coming season.
Blair started his career going 30-5 as a freshman while finishing third at state. He then went 38-3 as a sophomore with his first state title before finishing this past season with a record of 47-1.
With a career record of 119-9 so far in high school, Blair could be in line for a Husker offer with another dominant season.