Gophers Open Strong at NCAA Championships

PHILADELPHIA — The Minnesota wrestling team opened the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships with seven wins in the opening session of action, keeping the Gophers in the hunt for the team’s fourth national championship in school history. Zach Sanders, David Thorn, Mike Thorn, Scott Glasser, Kevin Steinhaus, Sonny Yohn and Tony Nelson all picked up wins in the opening session for Minnesota.

Zach Sanders opened the NCAA championships for Minnesota with a 6-2 win over Jason Lara of Oregon State. 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. Sanders will take on Jarrod Garnett of Virginia Tech tonight in the second round.

David Thorn advanced in dramatic fashion with a 6-4 SV win in his first-career NCAA championships match. Down 3-2 in the third period, Thorn scored a reversal that forced overtime after an escape by Army’s Jordan Thome. Thome struck first in the extra session with a single leg, but Thorn snuck out of the move and worked his way behind his opponent to gain control and pick up the win to advance. Thorn will take on Penn State’s Andrew Long in the second round tonight.

Mike Thorn gave the Gophers their third-straight win to open the morning session when he scored a 2-1 decision over Darius Little of NCSU. Thorn will take on Nick Nelson of Virginia tonight in the quarterfinals.

At 149 lbs., Danny Zilverberg dropped his opening match to No. 5 Jamal Parks of Oklahoma State via 6-3 decision. Zilverberg will take on 12 seed Desi Green of Buffalo in the 149 lbs. wrestlebacks. Cody Yohn dropped his opening match to No. 19 Eren Civan of Columbia. Civan scored with an early takedown and caught Yohn in a cradle to score a pin at 2:28. Yoh

Minnesota closed out the opening session with four-straight wins though to rebound from the early losses in the middleweights.  Scott Glasser and Kevin Steinhaus both tallied wins just minutes apart to advance to the quarterfinals in the 174 and 184 lbs. brackets, respectively. Glasser earned a 10-3 decision over Wyoming’s Patrick Martinez  in his first match of the day while Steinhaus opened his first NCAA championship appearance with a 5-2 win over Jason McCroskey of Chattanooga. Glasser will take on two-seed Ed Ruth of Penn State in the quarterfinals while Steinhaus draws Penn State’s Quentin Wright in a rematch of the Big Ten finals.

Sonny Yohn and Tony Nelson then followed suit with two more close wins in the 197 and 285 lbs. brackets, respectively. Yohn picked up a 6-1 decision over Michigan’s Anthony Biondo to advance while Nelson tallied a 3-1 SV win over Northern Iowa’s Christian Brantley. Yohn will take on Indiana’s Matt Powless.  Meanwhile, Nelson draws nine-seed Cameron Wade from Penn State in a rematch of the Big Ten semifinals.

The 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in Philadelphia continue this evening with Session II at 6:30 local time. Continue checking for updates.

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