Gophers Take Border Battle Over Badgers
No. 17 Minnesota split its 10 matches with border rival Wisconsin on Sunday afternoon, but a tech fall by No. 3 Brett Pfarr at 197 pounds provided the bonus points the Gophers needed to knock off the Badgers, 17-16. The win completes a weekend road sweep for the Gophers and puts the squad two matches above .500 for the first time since early November, now 9-7 overall and 5-3 in the Big Ten.
“There was great fight today,” said head coach J Robinson. “I thought that’s what we did, we fought really good. That’s a good thing. I like the fight. A lot of close matches and we fought in all of them. We just keep trying to get better and better each week. We have stuff to work on and it starts all over again next week.”
Pfarr’s tech fall came in the first match after halftime, a 17-2 win over Nic Veling that finished with a four-point near fall at the end of the second period. The win was Minnesota’s only bonus point victory on the afternoon and came at a critical time for building momentum, catapulting Minnesota into the lead for the first time in the dual as the team’s began the second half.
No. 7 Michael Kroells built the lead further with a 7-2 decision over Brock Horwath, a strong performance in which Kroells did not surrender a takedown. Decisions at 125 and 133 pounds went against Skyler Petry and Sam Brancale, the latter a 7-3 loss to No. 7 Ryan Taylor, which brought Wisconsin back from down four to up two with one match remaining.
With the dual’s result depending on the winner of the 141-pound bout, No. 7 Tommy Thorn captured the victory for Minnesota in definitive fashion with a 6-0 shutout of Luke Rowh. After a scoreless first period, Thorn took down Rowh once in each of the final two periods to take the win and clinch the match for the Gophers.
The afternoon began at 149 pounds, where No. 16 Jake Short was upset by Andrew Crone, 9-7, in overtime. Short’s loss was the first of two overtime defeats for the Gophers in the first half of the dual. At 184 pounds, Chris Pfarr scored a late takedown against Ryan Christensen to tie their match at four, but Christensen scored a takedown in overtime countering a shot from Pfarr to win the match, 6-4.
In between those overtime defeats, the Gophers earned victories at both 157 and 174 pounds. Brandon Kingsley got the Gophers on the board in dramatic fashion, erasing an early 6-0 deficit and allowing just one point over the last two-plus periods of the match to defeat TJ Ruschell, 13-7. Kingsley is now 2-0 lifetime against Ruschell. At 174, Nick Wanzek defeated Ricky Robertson, 5-2. Wanzek did not allow a takedown to either of his opponents over the weekend.
Wanzek and Kingsley’s wins bookended a loss at 165 pounds, where Wisconsin native Brad Dolezal wrestled up a weight for the third consecutive dual. Dolezal fell to No. 3 Isaac Jordan, 13-4, giving the Badgers their only bonus point of the day.
With Sunday’s win, Minnesota has now won four straight and seven of its last eight against Wisconsin. Overall, the Gophers have won back-to-back matches and four of their last five.
Minnesota 17, Wisconsin 16
149: Andrew Crone (Wis) dec (SV-1) No. 16 Jake Short (Minn), 9-7 / Minnesota 0 – Wisconsin 3
157: Brandon Kingsley (Minn) dec TJ Ruschell (Wis), 13-7 / Minnesota 3 – Wisconsin 3
165: No. 3 Isaac Jordan (Wis) maj dec Brad Dolezal (Minn), 13-4 / Minnesota 3 – Wisconsin 7
174: Nick Wanzek (Minn) dec Ricky Robertson (Wis), 5-2 / Minnesota 6 – Wisconsin 7
184: Ryan Christensen (Wis) dec (SV-1) Chris Pfarr (Minn), 6-4 / Minnesota 6 – Wisconsin 10
197: No. 3 Brett Pfarr (Minn) tech fall Nic Veling (Wis), 17-2 / Minnesota 11 – Wisconsin 10
285: No. 9 Michael Kroells (Minn) dec Brock Horwath (Wis), 7-2 / Minnesota 14 – Wisconsin 10
125: Skyler Petry (Minn) Johnny Jimenez (Wis) / Minnesota 14 – Wisconsin 13
133: No. 7 Ryan Taylor (Wis) dec Sam Brancale (Minn), 7-3 / Minnesota 14 – Wisconsin 16
141: No. 7 Tommy Thorn (Minn) dec Luke Rowh (Wis), 6-0 / Minnesota 17 – Wisconsin 16