Four Minnesota seniors join select groups in Gopher Wrestling history, while a first-year starter also will reach the podium
Saturday’s action at the NCAA Championships was marked by highs and lows for Minnesota, which finished the day tied for ninth with 49 team points. Five Gophers earned All-America accolades, with Chris Dardanes and Dylan Ness locking up the honors with quarterfinal victories in the morning session, while Logan Storley, Scott Schiller and Michael Kroells earned their All-America status through victories in wrestlebacks. The quintet gives Minnesota at least five All-Americans for the sixth consecutive season. All five will be in consolation matches tomorrow morning, however.
“It’s great that Michael Kroells is an All-American this year and that four of the five seniors came back,” said Head Coach J Robinson. “But so many disappointing things happened, including Dylan getting hurt. It’s hard to codify the whole day in a couple of words – highs and lows.”
Both sessions provided their share of peaks and valleys. During the morning session, the Gophers split four quarterfinal matches, with Dardanes and Ness winning their bouts to clinch All-America honors, while losses for Storley and Schiller sent them into wrestlebacks. During the morning’s consolation matches, Kroells reached the Round of 12 with two victories, Ethan Lizak won one match and lost another,andNick Dardanes’ season ended with a loss.
In the evening session, a shoulder injury for Ness was one of two setbacks the Gophers were dealt in semifinal matches. First, at 133, Dardanes lost to Cody Brewer (Oklahoma), his first defeat of the season. Later, at 157, Ness’ injury during the first period of his match with Brian Realbuto (Cornell) forced him to default the match at 2:28.
Meanwhile, in wrestlebacks, three Gophers combined to post a six wins in Session IV. Kroells wrestled three matches during the evening session, clinching his first All-American season with a thrilling victory over Spencer Myers (Maryland) in the Round of 12. Tied 3-3 after two rounds of overtimes and tiebreakers, the match was decided by riding time, an advantage which Kroells owned to secure a 4-3 victory. In addition to Kroells, Storley and Schiller each won a pair of matches on Saturday night to guarantee both at least a top-six finish, with Schiller putting an exclamation point on clinching his All-America season with a pin of Max Huntley (Michigan) at 1:11.
The All-America finishes mark significant milestones for all five Gophers. Both Ness and Storley became four-time All-Americans, becoming the ninth and tenth wrestlers in program history to accomplish that feat. Dardanes and Schiller each secured their third career All-America seasons, which now gives the Gophers 25 grapplers with at least three All-America medals. As an All-American, Kroells not only earned his first honor, but he also gives the Gophers an All-American at heavyweight for the 19th time in the past 23 seasons. Minnesota has now produced at least one All-American in 30 consecutive seasons and have accumulated 128 individual All-America honors during Robinson’s tenure.
The final day of the college wrestling season starts tomorrow with Session V at 10 a.m. CT. That session will feature consolation semifinals and the seventh-, fifth- and third-place matches. Session V will be broadcast on ESPNU and all mats will be available to stream live on ESPN3.
The tournament’s last session, Session VI, will begin at 7 p.m. CT. The 10 individual champions of the 2015 NCAA tournament will be crowned in that session, along with a team champion. These matches will be broadcast on ESPN and can be streamed on ESPN3.
For every competition in which the Gophers have wrestled this year, live updates have been available throughout by following Gopher Wrestling on Twitter, and the last day of the season will be no different. Follow for updates and check back on GopherSports.com at the end of the day for a full recap.
Visit The Guillotine College Tournament Time Page for brackets, results, and live video links.