Gophers Kick Off NCAA Championships

All-Americans Zach Sanders and Mike Thorn each posted 2-0 records in the opening day of competition to advance to the quarterfinals as theMinnesota wrestling team currently sits in ninth place at the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. Five other Gophers remain active in the consolation brackets.

Sanders opened the day for Minnesota with a 6-2 decision over Jason Lara of Oregon State in the 125 lbs. opening round. Sanders, who beat Lara in last year’s NCAA wrestlebacks in route to All-American honors, controlled the majority of the match and tallied nearly five minutes of riding time in the win. The Minnesota redshirt junior scored an 8-6 win over Virginia Tech’s Jarrod Garnett in the second round to reach the quarterfinals on Friday morning. Sanders will take on Ben Kjar of Utah Valley in the quarterfinals. Sanders defeated Kjar with a 2-0 decision earlier this year.

Thorn, seeded second in the 141 lbs. bracket, opened this year’s tournament with a pair of wins over ACC opponents. The redshirt senior, seeking his first individual national championship, bested North Carolina State’s Darius Little with a 2-1 decision to open the championships before topping Nick Nelson of Virginia 6-1 to reach the semifinals. Thorn will take on Todd Schavrien of Missouri tomorrow morning in the quarterfinals.

Five other members of the Gophers squad went 1-1 in the first day of action and remain in the hunt to place. David Thorn scored a 6-4 sudden victory win over Jordan Thome of Army to pick up the win in his first NCAA championship win. The redshirt freshman would drop his second-round match, also a sudden victory bout, this time in a 7-5 contest to Penn State’s Andrew Long. At 165, Cody Yohn lost his opening match to Columbia’s Eren Civan via fall at 2:28 but rallied back in his wrestleback to pin Chad Porter of Liberty at 1:40.

At 174 lbs., Scott Glasser opened the day with a 10-3 decision over Patrick Martinez of Wyoming but dropped his follow-up match to second-seed Ed Ruth of Penn State via 5-3 decision. 184-pounder Kevin Steinhaus also opened with a win, a 5-2 decision over Jason McCroskey of Chattanooga, but dropped his second-round matchup to Quentin Wright of Penn State via 8-4 decision in a rematch of the Big Ten finals. Sonny Yohn also went 1-1 at 197 lbs., beating Anthony Biondo of Michigan 6-1 but losing the follow up to Indiana’s Matt Powless in a 5-3 sudden victory bout. Heavyweight Tony Nelson started his NCAA career with a 3-1 sudden victory win over Christian Brantley of Northern Iowa, but fell to Cameron Wade of Penn State 4-1 in the second round. Danny Zilverberg was the only Gopher to be knocked out of contention, losing two matches to end his first-career NCAA appearance.

Would you like to receive the latest Minnesota wrestling news in your inbox?