Two of the most decorated names in the history of Gopher Wrestling – Jayson Ness and Dylan Ness – captured titles at the Last Chance Qualifier in Rochester, Minn. on Saturday, ensuring both will be in the field at the World Team Trials in three weeks.
Dylan, who returned to action for the first time in nearly a year at the U.S. Open earlier this month, appeared to regain the pinning form that defined both he and his brother’s legacies as four-time All-Americans while wrestling at Minnesota. After an 11-0 tech fall over Colten Carlson to reach the 70-kilogram semifinals, Ness pinned consecutive opponents to reach the top of the podium, first sticking Tony Tolbert in just 49 seconds before pinning Santiago Martinez in 4:03 for the title.
Jayson rebounded from an early exit at the U.S. Open to clinch his spot at the World Team Trials with a pair of victories, first knocking off Shelton Mack in a 7-6 nail-biter before opening up in the finals and earning a tech fall over Joey Lazor, 14-3.
In addition to the Nesses, current Gophers Nick Wanzek and Chase O’Connor looked to wrestle their way into the team trials field. Competing at 74 kilograms, Wanzek picked up tech falls over his first two opponents, first steamrolling Sean Havlovic, 13-2, before overwhelming Dan Vallimont, 11-1. Wanzek ran into a familiar foe in the championship bout, Illinois’ Isaiah Martinez. Wanzek was unable to avenge his loss to Martinez in the NCAA Championships, falling 10-0 to finish as the runner-up. O’Connor fell in matches against NCAA All-Americans Timmy McCall and Jacob Kasper.
Regional training center athlete Daniel Deshazer wrestled on Saturday, competing at 57 kilograms. An 10-0 tech fall over Josh Portillo and a 7-4 decision over Zane Richards advanced Deshazer to the finals, where he fell, 7-6. Minnesota Storm club member Joe Rau went 4-0 on Sunday to win the 86-kilogram crown as well.
Several Gopher alums – a group that now officially includes Dylan and Jayson Ness – will compete at the World Team Trials on June 9 and 10 in Lincoln, Neb. The winners of each weight at the trials will represent the U.S. at the World Championships later this summer in Paris.
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