No. 1 Minnesota Opens Its Dual Season with Two Road Victories
Wins over Air Force and Wyoming stretch Minnesota’s non-conference dual winning streak to 12
The top-ranked Gopher wrestling team hit the road for its first day of dual competition in 2014-15, defeating Air Force 28-15 late Saturday morning before heading north to Wyoming, where Minnesota ran its record on the season (and the day) to 2-0 with a 30-7 victory over the Cowboys. With the victories, Minnesota has now won 12 consecutive non-conference duals, dating back to December, 2012.
The same 10 Gophers competed in both meets, with seven of them posting perfect records. Both Jake Short (149) and Nick Wanzek (165) were making their career duals debuts and each earned a pair of victories. Wanzek’s were particularly impressive, as each came over a ranked opponent. Both meets began at heavyweight, where Michael Kroells won his matches to give the Gophers early leads. Top-ranked Dylan Ness (157) and Logan Storley (174) were very impressive, with Ness defeating both of his opponents by fall in fewer than two minutes and Storley winning each of his matches by technical fall. Conrad Rangell (141), wrestling for an injured Nick Dardanes, and Brett Pfarr (184) also won both of their matches on the day.
Kroells began the morning competition in Colorado Springs with a 9-3 decision over Marcus Malacek. Air Force rebounded from the opening loss, with No. 9 Josh Martinez defeating Sam Brancale at 125 by technical fall and Anthony McHugh pinning Jordan Kinglsey at 133 to give the Falcons an 11-3 lead in the dual after three matches.
Just as their hosts had pushed back after an opening defeat, the Gophers responded well to the losses. Minnesota reeled off six consecutive match wins, beginning with Rangell, who won a major decision, 9-0, over Carter McElhany. Short followed and looked strong in a tough match against Jerry McGinty, winning 1-0.
Ness broke the dual open in the next match. Following a takedown of Sam Keimier in the opening seconds of their match, Ness never let his opponent off the mat, pinning Keimier at 1:52 and giving the Gophers a lead they would not relinquish.
Short’s high school teammate Wanzek grabbed an early lead against No. 15 Jesse Stafford and held it throughout the match, winning 9-3. Storley racked up several near-falls against Scott Reilly en route to a technical fall victory, 15-0, and Pfarr capped off the run against Konner Witt, earning a major decision, 13-0. In the meet’s final match, Chris Pfarr became the third Gopher to make his duals debut on Saturday, as he stepped in for injured Scott Schiller at 197 and lost to Jack Carda, 12-2.
The evening dual in Laramie, like the morning’s meet, began with a Kroells victory, as he defeated Tanner Harms 14-9. Up next, Brancale challenged No. 8 Tyler Cox at 125 in a wild, high-scoring match. Brancale landed three takedown/near-fall combinations for five points each to upset Cox, 17-11.
Trailing 6-0 in the meet, the Cowboys scored their first team points of the night at 133, when Drew Templeman defeated Kingsley, 7-2. That would be the Pokes only victory until the last match of the night, as the Gophers responded by winning the next six matches.
That run began with Rangell and Short each scoring decisions to stretch Minnesota’s lead to 12-3. Ness stepped on to the mat and, for the second time in about a seven-hour span, pinned an opponent in less than two minutes to score six for Minnesota, stretching the lead to 18-3. Wanzek, facing a second ranked opponent on the day, came out on top yet again. This time, Wanzek defeated No. 18 Dakota Friesth, 3-1. Like Ness, Storley saw the same result in a different venue as he repeatedly tilted Andy McCulley in the second and third periods of their match and eventually scored the tech fall, 16-0.
In the lone matchup of two ranked wrestlers at either dual, No. 14 Brett Pfarr took on No. 15 Benjamin Stroh in a rematch from a dual last year in Minneapolis. Pfarr defeated Stroh for the second consecutive time, winning by major decision, 13-3.
The meet concluded with Chris Pfarr taking on No. 16 Shane Woods. Woods looked impressive throughout and scored a major decision over Pfarr, winning 16-6.
Now 2-0 on the young season, Minnesota will open its home dual schedule this Thursday against Grand Canyon University at 7:30 CT. The meet will be streamed live on BTN Plus.
Minnesota 30, Wyoming 7
285 Michael Kroells (Minnesota) dec. Tanner Harms (Wyoming) 14-9
125 Sam Brancale (Minnesota) dec. #8 Tyler Cox (Wyoming) 17-10
133 Drew Templeman (Wyoming) dec. Jordan Kingsley (Minnesota) 7-2
141 Conrad Rangell (Minnesota) dec. Cole Mendenhall (Wyoming) 7-2
149 Jake Short (Minnesota) dec. Jake Elliot (Wyoming) 8-3
157 #1 Dylan Ness (Minnesota) fall Archie Colgan (Wyoming) 1:24
165 Nick Wanzek (Minnesota) dec. #18 Dakota Friesth (Wyoming) 3-1
174 #1 Logan Storley (Minnesota) tech fall Andy McCulley (Wyoming) 16-0, 7:00
184 #14 Brett Pfarr (Minnesota) maj. dec. #15 Ben Stroh (Wyoming) 13-3
197 #16 Shane Woods (Wyoming) maj. dec. Christopher Pfarr (Minnesota) 16-6
Minnesota 28, Air Force 15