The Gophers have now placed top 10 at NCAAs in 22 times of the past 27 seasons and produced at least one All-American for 30 straight years
Minnesota finished its run in the 2015 NCAA Championships on Saturday with 59.5 team points, led by fourth-place finishes from seniors Chris Dardanes, Logan Storley and Scott Schiller. In all, five of the eight Gophers who wrestled in St. Louis this weekend earned All-America medals, with Dylan Ness and Michael Kroells joining the trio of fourth-place finishers on the podium at their respective weight.
While the team’s placement in the tournament will not be final until the conclusion of Saturday night’s session, the Gophers currently sit in eighth. Minnesota can finish no worse than ninth.
“There were a lot of good things that happened. Today, there were two guys who became four-time All-Americans. Four-time All-Americans are fewer than national champions on your team,” said Head Coach J Robinson. “Like every tournament, there are some good things that come out and there’s the disappointing part of where we are as a team … that’s what the NCAA tournament is about.”
Saturday’s morning session started out well for the Gophers, with Dardanes, Storley and Schiller all winning consolation semifinal matches. While two of the Minnesota victories came in regulation – first Dardanes over Mason Beckman (Lehigh) and later Schiller over Conner Hartmann (Duke) – Storley’s match with Kyle Crutchmer (Oklahoma State) provided a wild finish. After a series of reviews at the end of the third period, requested first by Minnesota and then by Oklahoma State, the match went to overtime tied at six. With the score still knotted in tiebreakers, a third caution on Storley looked like it may cost him the match, but a two-point tilt helped him take a dramatic 9-7 decision.
While bittersweet, one of the most memorable moments across the entire morning session came when Dylan Ness took the mat for his consolation semifinal at 157. After injuring his shoulder yesterday, Ness was unable to compete today, but he still donned the singlet one final time and stepped into the circle. Though he defaulted his match, his appearance provided not only a strong contingent of Gopher fans, but the entire crowd of 18,797 at the Scottrade Center, the opportunity to recognize him with a standing ovation.
The Gophers went winless in the medal rounds to wrap up the session. Dardanes surrendered a late takedown to A.J. Schopp (Edinboro) and lost 4-3 on the riding time point. For the third consecutive year, Storley faced Robert Kokesh (Nebraska) for third place at 174 and dropped the rubber match, 6-4, in sudden victory overtime. Schiller fell to Morgan McIntosh (Penn State), 12-7, and first-time All-American Michael Kroells lost to Ty Walz (Virgina Tech), 6-2. Despite the losses, Storley, Schiller and Kroells all outperformed their seeds in the tournament.
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