All 10 starters will compete next week in Des Moines
Coming off a second-place finish at the Big Ten Championships, where two wrestlers were crowned individual champions, the Minnesota wrestling team will be traveling to the 2013 NCAA Championships in search of a national title. The Gophers will be taking a full roster of participants to Des Moines, Iowa after all 10 starters earned automatic qualifications at the last weekend’s tournament.
The NCAA has released the seeding announcements as well as the competition brackets for the event, which will take place March 21-23 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Eight of Minnesota’s 10 are seeded in their respective weight classes.
Reigning heavyweight national champion Tony Nelson is the highest seed for the Maroon and Gold, picked as the No. 2 seed after a 28-1 campaign this season. Nelson looks to defend his title in Des Moines and will face Penn’s Steven Graziano in the first round. The winner takes on the winner of Odie Delaney (The Citadel)/Evan Knutson (NDSU).
Fresh off taking the Big Ten 149 lbs. crown, Dylan Ness will enter the national tournament as the No. 6 seed. Ness hopes to build on his 14-4 overall record, beginning with a bout against Army’s Daniel Young. In the 2012 NCAA Tournament, Ness surprised many by well-surpassing his seed and working to a runner-up finish at the event.
Two-time All-American Kevin Steinhaus hopes to add another honor to his resume during his third trip to the national stage. The 184-pounder, who finished fifth last year, was given the No. 5 seed in his weight class. He will face familiar opponent Nick Vetterlein of Virginia Tech in the first round of competition. Steinhaus pinned Vetterlein at the National Duals Finals on Feb. 22.
Sophomore Logan Storley will compete in his second NCAA tournament event as the No. 6 seed at 174 lbs. Storley, who had held the No. 1 national ranking through numerous publications, looks to rebound after a struggle at the Big Tens. He will begin his journey against Bryce Hammond (CSUB). The winner will face the winner of No. 11 Blake Stauffer (Arizona State)/Matt Mougin (NIU).
Scott Schiller will make his NCAA debut in Des Moines and will compete as the No. 10 seed at 197 lbs. After a 23-4 overall record on the season and a second-place finish at the Big Ten Championships, Schiller begins his quest for a national title against Christian Boley of Maryland. The winner will face the winner of No. 7 Nathan Schiedel (Binghamton)/Connor Harmann (Duke).
Senior Cody Yohn will close out his Gopher career at the 2013 NCAA Championships where he earned the No. 11 seed at 165 lbs. Yohn will meet Johnny Greisheimer (Edinboro) in the opening round. The winner will face No. 6 Patrick Graham (Oklahoma)/Bret Baumbach (Stanford).
After finishing fourth at the Big Ten Championships, Chris Dardanes received the No. 5 seed in the 133-pound weight bracket. He will begin the tournament against Dylan Hyder (Air Force). This will be the second national tournament for the Illinois native. He ended 2012 with a fourth-place finish to earn his first All-American status.
Twin brother Nick Dardanes is the No. 8 seed at 141 lbs. and will also be competing in his second national tournament. Dardanes will battle Luke Goettl (ISU) in his opening round. The winner will face the winner of No. 9 Richard Durso (Franklin and Marshall)/McCade Ford (Wyoming).
David Thorn and Danny Zilverberg will also represent the Gophers are the event, competing unseeded at 125 lbs. and 157 lbs., respectively. Thorn will open the tournament with a tough test against No. 1 seed Alan Waters of Missouri. Zilverberg will start off against Boise State’s Georgi Ivanov.
Thursday’s opening session will begin at 11 a.m. Central. The event concludes with the championship finals on Saturday evening. The entire tournament will be aired live by the ESPN family of networks.