Kearney, Neb. – Nebraska-Kearney wrestling coach Marc Bauer today announced the names of seven Nebraska natives who will take to the mats for the Lopers next season.
These are UNK's first recruits for the 2011-12 season.
The group includes former Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks Kevin Barrett (Boys Town H.S.), and Mark Fiala (Seward H.S.), Lincoln natives Brett LaBudda (Southeast H.S.) and Chase White (Lincoln H.S.), Ryan Bauer (Kearney H.S.), Michael Bolan (Grand Island H.S.) and Klay Kasik (Schuyler H.S.).
Expected to be at 197 lbs., Barrett came out of Boys Town as one of the nation's top prep wrestlers. Redshirting at UNO this past season, he finished third in the Kaufman-Brand Open before a minor injury cut the year short.
"Kevin is a tremendous athlete. He was a four-sport athlete in high school and there isn't much this young man can't do," said Bauer. "We're very fortunate to have him chose to transfer to our program and there is no doubt that he has all the tools to be a national contender as a freshman."
A three-time Class B state champion, Barrett was a combined 76-0 over his final two years and went 150-3 in his career. Pinning 78 of his opponents, he was ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation by Wrestling USA Magazine. Off the mats, he was a two-time all-state pick in football and a state track qualifier in the shot put.
Fiala (174/184 lbs.), a 2011 Academic All-American, will have three years of eligibility remaining after posting a 31-12 record this past season as a redshirt freshman. In 2009-10, Fiala was named UNO's Outstanding Redshirt as he went 29-14 and picked up the team's Redshirt Scholar Award thanks to a 3.92 GPA.
For Seward, he went 144-21 over four years, going 44-0 as a junior to win the Class B 152 lbs. state title. Reeling off 88 straight wins at one point, he was a team-captain as a senior and finished 2009 as a state runner up.
"Mark is an outstanding student-athlete and we are very fortunate to have him continue his college career at UNK," said Bauer. "We recruited Mark heavily out of high school so we know what kind of talent he possesses and look forward to the impact that he will have in our program the next three years."
LaBudda will be at 141 lbs. for the Lopers and is expected to redshirt this year. In his prep career, he won 93 times, 41 by fall, and placed fifth in Class A (140 lbs.) as a senior.
"Brett was a three-time state qualifier and was coached by for former Loper standout Jeff Rutledge. He is a tremendous student-athlete that is just starting to turn the corner in wrestling," said Bauer.
White (149/157 lbs.) is also expected to redshirt this upcoming season. Going 152-6 the past four years, he is a two-time state champion who placed fifth at sophomore nationals and sixth at FLO nationals. W
"Chase is one of Nebraska's top recruits this year. He is brings a lot of national level experience and success to our program. He's what I would call a franchise player," said Bauer. "Chase will redshirt his first year to gain valuable experience but look for this young man to be one of the Lopers future standouts."
Next, Bauer (125/133 lbs.) won 94 matches as a Kearney High Bearcat and was fourth in Class A this past winter.
"The Loper wrestling program has been a huge part of Ryan's life and he's looking forward to representing our program as a student-athlete," said Bauer. "Ryan loves UNK and it has always been a dream of his to take the mats for the Lopers."
Bolan (149 lbs.) went 99-15 the past four years for the Islanders and was the 2011 Class A state champion at 145 lbs.
"We have had the opportunity to watch Michael compete throughout his youth and high school career. He has been actively involved with our camps and tournaments," said Bauer. "As a member of the three-time Nebraska Class A state championship team, he has made great strides in his wrestling skills."
Finally, Klasik (141 lbs.) had three top three finishes at the state tournament while going 148-25 as a prep wrestler. Pinning 70 of his opponents, he left Schuyler with school records for wins in a career, wins in a season (44) and takedowns in a career (300).
"Klay follows his dad's footsteps to UNK. We've had the pleasure of watching Klay grow in the sport of wrestling," said Bauer. "He brings a wealth of talent to our program and was part of a state runner up team this pas year.
UNK has had 10 straight top 10 finishes at the NCAA Division II Championships and returns four All-Americans to its lineup in 2012.
Courtesy UNK Sports Information