This year’s Border Brawl hits new heights as Sunday’s Big Ten dual brings together two of the best teams in Division I college wrestling. In a rematch of a close, hard-fought battle at this year’s National Duals, No. 3 Wisconsin comes to Minneapolis on Sunday to take on No. 4 Minnesota at the Sports Pavilion. The Badgers narrowly edged the Gophers 19-17 in the consolation final on Jan. 9 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
The Gophers (12-3 overall, 3-0 Big Ten) have been going strong since then however, leading the Big Ten with three wins over Indiana, Purdue and Illinois and going 4-0 overall (Iowa State) since the loss to Wisconsin. The Badgers (9-1-1, 0-0-1) are looking for their first conference win of the season after opening the Big Ten season with 19-19 tie with Illinois at home on Jan. 16. Wisconsin currently sits sixth in the Big Ten standings and picked up a 22-15 win over soon-to-be-conference foe Nebraska last Friday.
Follow the Action
Can’t make it to the Sports Pavilion this Sunday? Follow the action online. Gophersports.com will be providing live, streaming coverage of the Minnesota-Wisconsin dual in the Gold Zone. You can also follow the dual with a live blog throughout the dual and by following Golden Gopher Wrestling on Facebook and Twitter. A dual recap, photo gallery, interviews and more will be published on Gophersports.com following the dual.
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Follow the Gophers
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Last Time Out
The Gophers picked up a pair of Big Ten victories last weekend with wins over nationally ranked opponents. The Maroon and Gold opened with the weekend with a 26-15 win over No. 23 Purdue in West Lafayette on Friday night before taking down No. 15 Illinois 25-16 on Sunday afternoon in Champaign. Against the Boilermakers, Minnesota jumped out to a 20-0 lead after picking up bonus points in the first four matches of the night (Sanders, D. Thorn, M. Thorn, Mincey). No. 8 Scott Glasser added a key 4-2 win in the 174 lbs. match over No. 9 Luke Manuel, and Tony Nelson shut the door with a 4-3 decision in the heavyweight match.
Sunday’s afternoon dual was a back-and-forth affair with the teams splitting the opening six matches. But a three-match swing for the Gophers (C. Yohn, Glasser and Steinhaus each picked up decision wins in three of the last four matches) overcame a small lead by the Illini and carried the Gophers to their Big Ten-leading third conference win of the season.
Minnesota kicks off its first of two-straight road duals next Saturday in Columbus with a 6 p.m. CST contest against Ohio State. The Big Ten Network will broadcast the dual live. The Buckeyes take on No. 13 Michigan tonight at 6 p.m. — that dual can also be seen on the Big Ten Network. Ohio State currently sits in eighth place in the conference (2-6-0, 1-2-0), losing 33-3 to Iowa last weekend.
Match of the Meet
Each and every Gopher wrestling match is full of excitement and entertainment but this weekend one bout stands out among the rest. Sunday’s dual against Wisconsin will feature two of the top heavyweight wrestlers in the country in Tony Nelson and Eric Bugenhagen. And these two grapplers are well aware of each other.
Nelson, ranked ninth in the nation by Intermat, earned a close 2-1 decision over Bugenhagen in the final matchup between Minnesota and Wisconsin at this year’s National Duals. While Nelson earned the individual win, Bugenhagen prevented the Gophers redshirt freshman from scoring the bonus points that Minnesota needed to tie or win the dual. Nelson is on a three-match winning streak while Bugenhagen has not lost since wrestling Nelson — going 2-0 in dual action this month.
Robinson Celebrates 25 Years
The University of Minnesota will honor head wrestling coach J Robinson for his 25 years of service to the program during the Gophers’ dual against Iowa next month. Robinson has brought the program to a new level during his tenure including coaching the Gophers to the first three NCAA titles in school history (2001, 2002, 2007).