Two NCAA All-Americans – Robert Kokesh of the University of Nebraska, and University of Pittsburgh’s Tyler Wilps – are slated to take to the mat in the 174-pound match at the 2014 NWCA All-Star Classic, the National Wrestling Coaches Association announced Wednesday.
The All-Star event – considered to be the kickoff of the college wrestling season — will be held at the Palestra at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia Saturday, November 1. The Kokesh-Wilps bout at the All-Stars will be the third time the two have faced off while in college. In their two prior mat meetings, Kokesh came out on top. In their first match in December 2011, the Cornhusker pinned the Panther in 20 seconds. The second time, Kokesh defeated Wilps 2-1 in the tiebreakers in the consolation quarterfinals at the 2014 NCAA Division I Championships in Oklahoma City.
Both 174-pounders bring solid mat credentials to the 2014 All-Star Classic. Kokesh has crafted an impressive 105-14 college career record. The senior from Wagner, S.D. is a two-time NCAA All-American, placing third in 2013 and fourth last year. Wilps brings a 70-28 overall record to the All-Star Classic. The Oakdale, Pa. native is a two-time NCAA qualifier, earning All-American honors by placing seventh at the 2014 NCAAs.
“So far, we’ve got seven matchups with a total of 14 All-Americans at the All-Star Classic,” said NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer. “Pittsburgh has been a rising program in the East the past several years and has a lot of great tradition, while Nebraska, as we know, is always a team pushing for a trophy at the end of the season.”
The 2014 NWCA All-Star Classic is an annual event that traditional pits the two top college wrestlers in each weight class. Over the past couple weeks, the NWCA has revealed a number of match-ups, including the 125-pound match between Cornell University’s Nahshon Garrett and Virginia Tech’s Joey Dance… at 133, Edinboro’s AJ Schopp vs. Lehigh’s Mason Beckman… in a rematch of the 2014 NCAA finals at 149, Northwestern’s Jason Tsirtsis takes on Oklahoma State’s Josh Kindig… Nebraska’s James Green vs. Kent State’s Ian Miller at 157… at 184, Gabe Dean of Cornell faces Old Dominion’s Jack Dechow… and, at heavyweight, North Carolina State’s Nick Gwiazdowski takes on Northwestern’s Mike McMullan. Other match-ups are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
The All-Star Classic, which first debuted in 1967, is an exhibition that does not count on a wrestler’s official record, nor is to be used for ranking or seeding purposes. This year’s All-Star event will be even more special, as it will be conducted under new experimental rules put forth by the NCAA. There are two rules that will be in effect only for this event, designed to limit stalling and promote active, aggressive wrestling.
Fans may purchase tickets for the 2014 NWCA All-Star event online at the Penn Athletic Ticket Office. Additional information on the event is available by visiting its official website. and by following the NWCA on Facebook and Twitter.