Four Gophers will compete in championship matches tomorrow
At the end of the first day of competition, the Minnesota Golden Gophers have moved up to second place in the standings for the 2013 Big Ten Wrestling Championships. With 112.5 team points, the Gophers trail only Penn State (123.0 points) headed into the final day.
Minnesota, Penn State, and Iowa each have four wrestlers set to compete in the final rounds. The Maroon and Gold will be represented by Dylan Ness (149 lbs.), Kevin Steinhaus (184 lbs.), Scott Schiller (197 lbs.), and Tony Nelson (285 lbs.) in the title matches.
Ness continued his success from the morning by defeating Michigan State’s Dan Osterman in the semifinals. Ness edged the competition by a score of 10-9. He will fight Ian Paddock of Ohio State tomorrow.
Steinhaus ended his streak of technical falls but still dominated the competition, blasting Nebraska’s Josh Ihnen, 10-2, to advance. Looking to defend his 2013 title, he will face Penn State’s Ed Ruth for the first time in his career. Ruth, a 2012 Big Ten champion in at 174 lbs., is undefeated on the season.
At 197 lbs., Schiller will also battle a Nittany Lion for the championship crown. After a 3-1 overtime decision over Nathan Burak (Iowa), he will meet Quentin Wright on the mat in the final.
Nelson will also be able to defend the previous year’s title in tomorrow’s session. The heavyweight picked up a narrow 1-0 win over Nathan Burak in the semifinals to earn his place against Northwestern’s Mike McMullan in the finals.
The remaining six Gophers will also continue competition tomorrow, five of which are still on track for a third place finish. David Thorn (125 lbs.), Chris Dardanes (133 lbs.), Danny Zilverberg (157 lbs.), and Cody Yohn (165 lbs.) all wrapped up the afternoon session with 2-0 records. At 141 lbs., Nick Dardanes fell in the semifinals to Mark Ballweg to drop to tomorrow’s consolation. No. 1 Logan Storley continued to struggle at 174 lbs. After squeaking a tiebreaker win past No. 7 Lee Munster (Northwestern), he dropped an overtime match to No. 4 seed Nick Heflin (Ohio State).
All of the Gopher competitors have earned automatic spots in the NCAA National Tournament according to this year’s allocations. It marks the first time in over a decade that all 10 weight classes have qualified.
Action will continue tomorrow morning with the third session beginning at 11:30 a.m. Make sure to tune into the live blog and Gopher All-Access for updates. The early session will be streamed live online, while the championship rounds will be featured on the Big Ten Network.