Minnesota boasts talent in nine of 10 weight class selections
Minnesota Wrestling is in for another great season and Amateur Wrestling News agrees. The publication has listed many Gophers among the nation’s best, releasing its 2012-13 Preseason Division I College Individual Rankings. Someone from Minnesota has been named one to watch in nine of the 10 weight classes of competition. Only one Gopher is ranked outside the top 10 while two wrestlers took the top spot.
David Thorn is tabbed at No. 13 in the 125 class. Thorn will drop down to step in for four-time All-American Zach Sanders who graduated last May. Thorn competed at 133 last season for a 14-2 overall record.
Brothers Chris and Nick Dardanes each made the top 10 in their respective weight classes. After recording a 25-12 record and finishing fourth at 133 lbs. at the NCAA National Championship, Chris is picked for the same finish this year. Nick is ranked at No. 7 in the 141 pound weight class after a 22-10 campaign last fall.
As the first of two wrestlers claiming the preseason top spot, Dylan Ness ranks first in the 149 class. In his freshman year with the Gophers, Ness went 24-9 and surprised many by charging through to the NCAA Championship final where he finished runner-up.
Senior Cody Yohn and sophomore Logan Storley are also expected to continue last year’s successes. Yohn, who finished 2011-12 with a 21-11 record, is dubbed No. 9 among all 165-pounders. Storley weighed in at No. 4 among the 174 lb. weight class. Last season, Storley worked his way to a 25-9 record and a sixth place finish at nationals. He also earned Minnesota’s Most Exciting Wrestler award after pulling off multiple upsets and sudden victories, many over ranked opponents.
2012 Big Ten Champion Kevin Steinhaus is back at 184 for his junior season with the Gophers and is picked as the No. 4 wrestler after a season where he went 34-6, including a 21-match win streak and a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Tournament.
Filling the void for the graduated Sonny Yohn, Scott Schiller claims the No. 10 sport among the 197 weight class. Schiller competed primarily in open tournaments last year, posting three pins, seven major decisions, and two technical falls en route to a 26-4 finish.
Rounding out the preseason picks in 2012 National Champion Tony Nelson. Nelson, who also pulled in the 2012 Big Ten title, is poised to remain the dominant heavyweight wrestler in the nation. Nelson strung together a near-perfect 32-2 record, culminating in the defeat of 2011 National Champion Zach Rey of Lehigh in the NCAA final match. He was named Male Athlete of the Year for a season that boasted seven pins, two major decisions, and a 25-match winning streak.
The Gophers begin their quest for a National Championship Team title on Nov. 9. Minnesota hosts Hofstra at 7:00 p.m. CT in the Sports Pavilion.