On June 10, former Husker wrestlers Jordan Burroughs and James Green qualified for the United World Wrestling Championships when they won matches at the Devaney Sports Center in front of a friendly crowd.
On Friday, they got more Nebraska support at a send-off party at Vega in Lincoln. Fans, friends and family packed the Haymarket venue to wish them well before they head off to Paris for the tournament, which begins Aug. 21.
Fans crowded around Burroughs and Green, receiving autographs, taking pictures and visiting with the freestyle wrestlers.
“It’s awesome to be here,” Burroughs said. “It’s something that we try to do every year, to not only create excitement about the event that we’re going to compete in, but for us to give back to the people that have supported us throughout the years.”
“This is a sport that has a relatively small niche group of fans, but a passionate fan base. Whenever we get a chance to come and mingle with the people that only see us on YouTube or Flowrestling or online or in the newspaper, it’s pretty cool.”
Green said he appreciated the event, too.
“It’s awesome, especially being an alumni from this school,” he said. “I haven’t gotten to wrestle in front of these fans in awhile except back in the trials, so they get to come out and support us after our college careers. For them to show their support before we go over is great.”
Competing on the big stage is nothing new for Burroughs. The Olympic gold medalist and three-time world champion said he is expecting anything and everything from opponents this year as they try to slow him down.
“I’m expecting tough opponents, for them to throw something different at me,” he said. “There’s something new every single year. And so my preparation really starts with being able to make adjustments on the fly.”
While Burroughs has gained a lot of recognition and popularity over his dominant run, he is equally as impressed with Green.
“He’s a stud,” Burroughs said of his teammate. “James was a senior in high school when I was a senior in college. Right now we’re wrestling at the same level and so it’s pretty incredible. I think I was one of the reasons why he decided to come here (to Nebraska).
“He wanted to replicate what I was able to do and now he’s on the world stage doing amazing things. It’s fun to see how far he’s come as a wrestler and I’m happy to have a teammate that can do it along with me.”
Green, who was a four-time All-American, is headed to his third World Wrestling Championship. He won bronze in 2015.
“I feel great, I feel confident,” he said about this year’s tournament. “I had a lot of fun preparing for this. I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself, like I’ve got to do this or I’ve got to do that, but really it’s just come in and have fun and just wrestle.”