Six Big Ten schools ranked in top eight in the country
The No. 1 Minnesota wrestling team hits the mat again this weekend for the 2012 Big Ten Wrestling Championships in West Lafayette, Ind., where the Gophers will look for their 11th Big Ten Championships in school history. Purdue University will host this year’s championships and nine ranked schools will be participating, with six of those schools being ranked in the top eight in the country.
Minnesota will send nine ranked wrestlers in the field, two runner-ups from a year ago in Kevin Steinhaus (184 pounds) and Tony Nelson (HWT). Zach Sanders, Chris and Nick Dardanes, Dylan Ness, Cody and Sonny Yohn are the seven other ranked Gophers.
COVERAGE OF THE B1G CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Big Ten Network will offer its most extensive Big Ten Wrestling Championships coverage ever, with all four sessions Saturday and Sunday, March 3 and 4, at Purdue University receiving either live television or online coverage.
As part of the Big Ten Digital Network’s subscription package and for the first time, BTN will provide live, whip-around Student U streaming coverage of the Big Ten wrestling preliminaries, beginning at 10 AM ET Saturday. Streaming coverage of select matches in sessions two and three will continue at 5 PM ET Saturday and at 1 PM ET Sunday, respectively.
On Sunday, session four of the Big Ten Wrestling Championships will be carried live at 3 PM ET on BTN. The network’s Tim Johnson, Jim Gibbons and Shane Sparks will call the action from Mackey Arena.
If you are a Gopher All-Access member you can watch the championships here.
LIVE MINNESOTA COVERAGE
Fans that cannot make it to this weekend’s Big Ten Wrestling Championships can get full updates about how the Gophers are doing a few different ways. One option will be a live blog that will be up and running starting at 8:30 a.m. CT on Saturday. The blog will be accessible on gophersports.com that morning and fans can tune in, ask questions and keep track of the Gophers. The Minnesota wrestling facebook and twitter pages will also give you all the latest updates, over the course of the weekend.
LAST TIME OUT
Minnesota won the 2012 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Dual team title a couple weeks back. The Golden Gophers defeated then fourth ranked Iowa 16-15, before upsetting then top-ranked Oklahoma State 18-13, in Stillwater, OK., for the championship. It was the first win for Minnesota over Iowa since Feb. 18, 2007 (29-13) and Oklahoma State since Dec. 6, 2006 (21-15). The victories were also the second time in school history that the Gophers defeated Iowa and Oklahoma State in the same day. The last time came in 2001 at the National Duals, in University Park, PA.
YOHN BIG TEN WRESTLER OF THE WEEK
Cody Yohn was named the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week for his performance at the National Dual finals. Yohn picked up two overtime wins over both then fourth ranked Iowa and top-ranked Oklahoma State. He defeated the Hawkeyes sixth-ranked Mike Evans 4-2 en route to the Gophers 16-15 win over the in the semifinals and posted a 4-2 overtime victory against the Cowboys’ Dallas Bailey, to push Minnesota to an 18-13 win over Oklahoma State and the championship.
NINE GOPHERS NAB SEEDS
Nine Golden Gophers are seeded in the top seven of their weight class in the preliminary seeds. Kevin Steinhaus (184 lbs.), Sonny Yohn (197 lbs.) and Tony Nelson Hwt) all received the top overall seed for their weight class.
Zach Sanders (125 lbs.) and Logan Storley (174 lbs.) were each awarded a No.2 seed, while Dylan Ness (149 lbs.) was given the No. 3 seed. Both Chris (133 lbs.) and Nick Dardanes (141 lbs.) earned the No. 4 seed, while Cody Yohn is the No. 7 seed in the 165 lbs. division.
SANDERS TIME TO SHINE
Senior 125-pounder Zach Sanders is 24-2 this season, with both losses coming to Big Ten foe Matt McDonough from Iowa. The Wabasha, Minn., native fell 7-1 in their first meeting and 7-4 at the National Duals two weeks ago. He is 0-6 all-time against McDonough and will likely have two more shots at him as he closes out his career.
The three-time All-American has a career record of 126-25 and is tied for 11th on the all-time wins list, with current assistant coach Luke Becker.
17-STRAIGHT FOR NELSON
All-American Tony Nelson is the top-ranked heavyweight this weekend. He has won 17-straight matches dating back to Dec. 19. The Cambridge, Minn., native is 24-2 this season and finished with a perfect 8-0 record in Big ten duals this season.
J IS FOUR FROM TYING WALLY
Head coach J Robinson’s record at Minnesota is 388-129-4, in his 26th season. Robinson is only four dual wins away from tying Wally Johnson, on the all-time wins list (392-209-11).
NCAA’S BACK IN THE GATEWAY
After participating at this weekend’s Big Ten Championships, the Gophers will hope to make a statement at the NCAA Championships in two weeks. The Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo. will host the event for the first time since 2008. For more information on the NCAA Championships, vist ncaa.com/championships/wrestling/d1.
FACING THE BEST TO BE THE BEST
Minnesota has wrestled in 17 dual matches this season. Of those 17, 14 have been against top 20 opponents. Most recently the Gophers knocked off top-ranked Oklahoma State (18-13) and our atop the leaderboard in the national rankings.
GOPHERS INNER CIRCLE
Make sure to check out the Minnesota Wrestling Blog (Gophers Inner Circle) on gophersports.com for news, features, videos and more.