Anthony Abidin owns one collegiate national title, having taken the 2012 junior college 133-pound championship.
The Nebraska sophomore knows there’s plenty of work ahead in order to win another at the Division I level.
“With the coaches we have, the adjustment wasn’t that hard,” Abidin said. “Competition-wise, it’s a huge jump, but that’s what the coaches are there for. We have world-class coaches, and they’re there to train us in every aspect, every day. What they’ve been doing with me is getting me to that next level.”
Abidin and the rest of the Huskers return to action Sunday with a 2 p.m. dual at South Dakota State.
Abidin, who wrestles at 141 pounds, is 5-1 this season. His only loss came in the Daktronics Open championship match on Nov. 3, a 5-3 decision to Missouri’s Trevor Jauch.
His latest victory came last Sunday in his home debut when he decisioned Northwestern’s Pat Greco 7-2. Abidin gave up a takedown early in the match, but he tied the match by the end of the first period and had a near-fall in the second period to take control.
“He showed me he’s got a lot of composure,” Nebraska coach Mark Manning said. “The match probably didn’t start the way he’d like, but he slowed it down for himself a little bit and started wrestling his match. He’s really good on top.”
Abidin is one of three new starters at the lower weights for Nebraska this season. There’s been a lot of competition for the starting spots, which Abidin said improves the work being done in the practice room.
“We have better training partners, which we have plenty of here, especially in my weight class,” said Abidin, a New York native who won his junior college national title at Long Island’s Nassau Community College. “(The coaches) are pushing us every day to make sure we don’t quit on each other. We have that third-round mentality where we don’t quit. We always want to push the pace.”
Abidin said his main training partner is junior Jake Sueflohn, an NCAA tournament qualifier last season who is ranked sixth nationally at 149 pounds. Abidin said he’s learned a lot from Sueflohn.
“We have contrasting styles,” Abidin said. “But we’re both grinders, we both have good gas tanks. We push each other.”