Wins by Tommy Thorn and Brett Pfarr provide bright spots for Minnesota in Friday’s loss
Wins for No. 7 Tommy Thorn and a third victory over a top-five opponent for No. 4 Brett Pfarr provided two bright spots for the Gophers on a tough night, as Minnesota fell to No. 2 Iowa, 34-6, in Iowa City. The loss brings Minnesota’s record back to .500 for the season – 7-7 overall and 3-3 in the Big Ten. Head Coach J Robinson also believes there are lessons to be learned from Friday night’s defeat.
“We got into the game of hustle. Iowa came out on top a couple times. We were there in matches but our guys stopped wrestling, and you can’t do that,” said Robinson. “We have to come back and figure out what we have to do. This is the point where … we have to figure out how hard we are going to work.”
The two highest-ranked Gophers in the lineup on Friday night captured wins for Minnesota. The first came at 141 pounds, where Thorn defeated Brody Grothus, 6-4. Thorn took control of the match in the first two periods, starting with a late first-period scramble in which Thorn not only earned the takedown but nearly put Grothus on his back. Thorn built a 5-1 lead heading into the third, an advantage he defended against a late final charge from his opponent.
Pfarr, who already owned victories over a pair of top-five opponents heading into Friday’s dual, found himself locked in a tight battle with No. 3 Nathan Burak heading into the third period. An escape off bottom for Burak to start the final frame tied the match at four. Pfarr finished a takedown on the edge of the mat with 15 seconds remaining to take a 6-4 lead, but an escape from Burak allowed him to fire off a final shot in the closing seconds. The initial call on the mat was no takedown as the horn sounded, a call that was confirmed on video replay to cement Pfarr’s 6-5 win. The victory is Pfarr’s eighth over a ranked wrestler this season, a team high.
Looking for its fourth win in the last six meetings with the Hawkeyes, Minnesota found itself down early after a first period pin at 125 pounds and second-period pin at 133. Thorn’s win cut the gap to 12-3, but narrow losses at 149 and 157 pushed the scored to 18-3 at the halftime intermission. The 157-pound bout was particularly close, with No. 18 Edwin Cooper needing a takedown in sudden victory overtime to defeat Brandon Kingsley, 4-2. Kingsley was the aggressor for much of the bout, but Cooper’s ability to score takedowns off defense made the difference in the match.
Coming out of halftime, Iowa scored bonus points with major decisions at 165 and 174 pounds, followed by a tech fall at 184. Pfarr’s victory at 197 stopped the Gophers’ losing skid, but a 7-3 decision against No. 9 Michael Kroells in his top-ten tilt with No. 7 Sam Stoll finished the night on a sour note for Minnesota.
Minnesota will hit the road once again next weekend for a pair of Big Ten duals, the team’s first two-dual weekend since early January. The Gophers will start their trip in Evanston, where they will take on Northwestern at 7 p.m. Central on Friday night. Minnesota will head up I-90 from there for a Super Bowl Sunday contest against Wisconsin in Madison. That dual will begin at 12 p.m. Central. Both matches will be streamed live on BTN Plus.
#2 Iowa 34, #17 Minnesota 6
125: #2 Thomas Gilman (Iowa) fall Skyler Petry (Minnesota) 1:18
133: #3 Cory Clark (Iowa) fall Sam Brancale (Minnesota) 4:58
141: #7 Tommy Thorn (Minnesota) dec. Brody Grothus (Iowa) 6-4
149: #2 Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) dec. #13 Jake Short (Minnesota) 6-2
157: #18 Edwin Cooper (Iowa) dec. Brandon Kingsley (Minnesota) 4-2 OT
165: Patrick Rhoads (Iowa) maj. dec. Dylan Urbach (Minnesota) 21-7
174: #12 Alex Meyer (Iowa) maj. dec. Nick Wanzek (Minnesota) 10-1
184: #11 Sammy Brooks (Iowa) tech fall Chris Pfarr (Minnesota) 18-2
197: #4 Brett Pfarr (Minnesota) dec #3 Nathan Burak (Iowa) 6-5
285: #7 Sam Stoll (Iowa) dec. #9 Michael Kroells (Minnesota) 7-3