Border Brawl Pits No. 4 Minnesota vs. No. 3 Wisconsin

This year’s Border Brawl hits new heights as Sunday’s Big Ten dual brings together two of the best teams in Division I college wrestling. In a rematch of a close, hard-fought battle at this year’s National Duals, No. 3 Wisconsin comes to Minneapolis on Sunday to take on No. 4 Minnesota at the Sports Pavilion. The Badgers narrowly edged the Gophers 19-17 in the consolation final on Jan. 9 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

The Gophers (12-3 overall, 3-0 Big Ten) have been going strong since then however, leading the Big Ten with three wins over Indiana, Purdue and Illinois and going 4-0 overall (Iowa State) since the loss to Wisconsin. The Badgers (9-1-1, 0-0-1) are looking for their first conference win of the season after opening the Big Ten season with 19-19 tie with Illinois at home on Jan. 16. Wisconsin currently sits sixth in the Big Ten standings and picked up a 22-15 win over soon-to-be-conference foe Nebraska last Friday.

Follow the Action
Can’t make it to the Sports Pavilion this Sunday? Follow the action online. will be providing live, streaming coverage of the Minnesota-Wisconsin dual in the Gold Zone. You can also follow the dual with a live blog throughout the dual and by following Golden Gopher Wrestling on Facebook and Twitter. A dual recap, photo gallery, interviews and more will be published on following the dual.

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Last Time Out
The Gophers picked up a pair of Big Ten victories last weekend with wins over nationally ranked opponents. The Maroon and Gold opened with the weekend with a 26-15 win over No. 23 Purdue in West Lafayette on Friday night before taking down No. 15 Illinois 25-16 on Sunday afternoon in Champaign. Against the Boilermakers, Minnesota jumped out to a 20-0 lead after picking up bonus points in the first four matches of the night (Sanders, D. Thorn, M. Thorn, Mincey). No. 8 Scott Glasser added a key 4-2 win in the 174 lbs. match over No. 9 Luke Manuel, and Tony Nelson shut the door with a 4-3 decision in the heavyweight match.

Sunday’s afternoon dual was a back-and-forth affair with the teams splitting the opening six matches. But a three-match swing for the Gophers (C. Yohn, Glasser and Steinhaus each picked up decision wins in three of the last four matches) overcame a small lead by the Illini and carried the Gophers to their Big Ten-leading third conference win of the season.

Next Up
Minnesota kicks off its first of two-straight road duals next Saturday in Columbus with a 6 p.m. CST contest against Ohio State. The Big Ten Network will broadcast the dual live. The Buckeyes take on No. 13 Michigan tonight at 6 p.m. — that dual can also be seen on the Big Ten Network. Ohio State currently sits in eighth place in the conference (2-6-0, 1-2-0), losing 33-3 to Iowa last weekend.

Match of the Meet
Each and every Gopher wrestling match is full of excitement and entertainment but this weekend one bout stands out among the rest. Sunday’s dual against Wisconsin will feature two of the top heavyweight wrestlers in the country in Tony Nelson and Eric Bugenhagen. And these two grapplers are well aware of each other.

Nelson, ranked ninth in the nation by Intermat, earned a close 2-1 decision over Bugenhagen in the final matchup between Minnesota and Wisconsin at this year’s National Duals. While Nelson earned the individual win, Bugenhagen prevented the Gophers redshirt freshman from scoring the bonus points that Minnesota needed to tie or win the dual. Nelson is on a three-match winning streak while Bugenhagen has not lost since wrestling Nelson — going 2-0 in dual action this month.

Robinson Celebrates 25 Years
The University of Minnesota will honor head wrestling coach J Robinson for his 25 years of service to the program during the Gophers’ dual against Iowa next month. Robinson has brought the program to a new level during his tenure including coaching the Gophers to the first three NCAA titles in school history (2001, 2002, 2007).

Johnnies Face In-State Rivals Tonight

The No. 6 Johnnie wrestling team travels to Perham for a trio of duals against familiar opponents tonight. SJU is scheduled to face St. Olaf at 4 p.m., No. 7 Concordia-Moorhead at 6 p.m. and No. 2 Augsburg at 8 p.m. The quadrangular will be held at Perham High School. – Concordia’s Live Blog/Live Results

Preview Video:
Head coach Brandon Novak (1:04)

A LOOK AT THE JOHNNIES: The Saint John’s backups posted a 31-11 victory over St. Olaf last week. The Johnnies jumped out to a 12-0 lead via a forfeit at 125 pounds and a pin from freshman Alex Peck (Edina, Minn./Benilde-St. Margaret’s) at 133. The Oles’ Ryan Timmerman put the home team on the scoreboard with a technical fall, but freshman Joe Hessing (Loretto, Minn./Delano) gave SJU six more points with a pin in the ensuing match. St. Olaf rattled off two straight wins, its only other wins on the night, at 157 and 165 to cut the deficit to 18-12. Freshman Nick Schuler (Roseville, Minn./Totino-Grace) put the Johnnies back in the win column with an 8-3 decision at 174. The Oles were deducted a team point when Pesta shoved Schuler’s head to the mat at the end of the bout. Senior Dustin Raygor (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) tallied a major decision, 15-7, over Andrew Rudd at 184, while sophomore Mitch Hagen (Sunburg, Minn./Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg) posted an 8-5 decision. Freshman John Scepaniak (Avon, Minn./Holdingford) ended the dual with a 6-0 shutout win at heavyweight.

A LOOK AT THE OLES: St. Olaf lost its most recent dual to No. 7 Concordia-Moorhead 34-9 Jan. 21. Ryan Timmerman (141 pounds) and Joey Waples (165 pounds) tallied the only wins for the Oles. Timmerman recorded a pin 2:12 into the match against Concordia’s Ben Anderson, while Waples posted a 9-4 decision over Jordan Bendson. Timmerman and Waples also lead the team with records of 19-6 and 15-3, respectively.

A LOOK AT THE COBBERS: No. 7 Concordia-Moorhead won eight of 10 individual matches against St. Olaf to record a 34-9 win Jan. 21. It is the fourth-straight dual meet win and fifth in the past six matches. Phil Moenkedick (184 pounds) recorded his 22nd victory this season to improve his record to 22-1. Moenkedick remained at No. 1 in the latest Brute-Adidas National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division III individual rankings. Justin Berns, who is ranked No. 5 at 157 pounds, posted his 18th victory to advance to an 18-3 record. Moenkedick and Berns each have 122 career wins and need three more to break the school’s all-time win record. The Cobbers’ other ranked wrestlers are Ben Presler (No. 7, 125 pounds), Daron Hohbein (No. 10, 133 pounds) and Ross Dankers (No. 5, 174 pounds).

THE LAST MEETING: Then-No. 3 SJU lost four matches and the forfeit to the No. 7 Cobbers, including two one-point decisions, but still held on for the 22-21 win at the National Duals a few weeks ago. Concordia jumped out to a 9-0 lead with a 7-6 decision over junior Chad Henle (Spicer, Minn./New London-Spicer) at 133 pounds, before seniors Chris Sandy (Spirit Lake, Iowa) and Minga Batsukh (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia/St. Benedict’s Prep, N.J.) posted back-to-back pins to give SJU a 12-9 lead. The Cobbers’ then- No. 4 Justin Berns narrowly escaped senior Drew Larson (Willmar, Minn.) with a 5-4 win due to riding time. Then-No. 3 senior Matt Baarson (Brooklyn Park, Minn./Champlin Park) tallied his fourth consecutive major decision of the tournament (13-1) at 165 and junior Matt Pfarr (Le Sueur, Minn./Le Sueur-Henderson) tallied a 4-2 upset of then-fourth-ranked Ross Dankers to build a 19-12 lead. Top-ranked Phil Moenkedick defeated junior Dustin Baxter (Fairbanks, Alaska/West Valley) 8-3 to cut it to 19-15 with two weights to go, but senior Tony Willaert (North Mankato, Minn./Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial) clinched the win with a 6-1 victory at 197.

A LOOK AT THE AUGGIES: No. 3 Augsburg (5-3 dual record) lost to No. 1 (Division II) Nebraska-Omaha, 21-12, in its most recent dual Jan. 20. The Auggies’ wins included Josh Roberts (No. 5, 125 pounds); Tony Valek (No. 3, 149 pounds), who upset No. 1 Esai Dominguez; Orlando Ponce (No. 5, 165 pounds); and Jared Massey (No. 2, 197 pounds). Other ranked Augsburg wrestlers include: Cody Hansen (No. 10, 141 pounds), Zach Molitor (No. 2, 174 pounds) and Brad Baus (No. 6, 184 pounds).

THE LAST MEETING: Then-No. 1 Augsburg scrambled out of a 15-12 deficit with a pair of wins at 197 pounds and heavyweight to defeat then-No. 11 Saint John’s 19-15 Jan. 14, 2010, in Collegeville. The Auggies jumped out to a 7-0 lead via a major decision at 125 pounds and an 11-5 decision at 133 pounds. The Johnnies answered with two consecutive wins to cut the deficit to 7-6. Batsukh defeated Jafari Vanier 4-2 at 141 pounds. Senior Drew Larson (Willmar, Minn.) then defeated Lucas Murray, 5-2. Augsburg’s Jason Adams earned a technical fall at 157 pounds to increase the lead to 12-6. SJU answered, however, and took control of the dual with three consecutive wins. Baarson improved his record to 14-2 on the year with a 4-3 upset win over then-No. 6 Orlando Ponce at 165 pounds. Pfarr tied the dual at 12-12 with an upset win of his own, an 8-5 victory over then-No. 3 Zach Molitor in overtime. Senior James Carlson (Royalton, Minn.) then gave the Johnnies their first lead of the dual with an 11-7 win at 184 pounds. Jared Massey re-gained the lead for Augsburg, 16-15, with a major decision. With the dual yet to be decided, the Auggies’ Andy Witzel, ranked No. 7, edged Cody Socher via a takedown in the final minute, 3-2.

JOHNNIES STAY AT NO. 6; BAARSON RANKED NO. 1: Saint John’s stayed at No. 6 in the latest Brute-Adidas National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division III team rankings released Jan. 25. Five of the Johnnies’ starting 10 were ranked individually. Senior Matt Baarson (15-2 record) moved up two spots to No. 1 at 165 pounds despite not wrestling since the last rankings were released. He has won 13 of his last 14 matches, including each of the last seven. Baarson joins Concordia-Moorhead’s Phil Moenkedick (184 lbs.) as Minnesota’s other top-ranked wrestler in Division III. Senior Minga Batsukh (12-1 record) remained fourth at 149, junior Matt Pfarr (13-4 record) held steady at No. 4 in the 174-weight class, and junior Dustin Baxter (13-4 record) was seventh at 184. Pfarr started the season with a 4-3 record, but has won nine of his last 10 matches and each of the last six. Senior Tony Willaert (9-7 overall record, 8-5 record at 197) moved up one spot to No. 9 at 197 despite a loss in his last match. Pfarr and Baxter failed to move up the national rankings despite wins over nationally-ranked wrestlers from Division II St. Cloud State. Pfarr upset then-No. 6 Shamus O’Grady by a 6-5 margin, while Baxter posted a convincing 7-2 upset of then-No. 5 Mic Berg.

Wrestling Graduate Assistant Position

GRADUATE ASSISTANT: South Dakota State University is accepting applications for a wrestling graduate assistant. Responsibilities include working with all aspects of the wrestling program. In addition to a monthly stipend, 2/3 of tuition is waived. Cover letter, resume and transcripts with three references (include phone numbers) should be sent via email to Jason Liles, Head Wrestling Coach at Applications will be reviewed immediately.

Mustangs Host No. 10 Upper Iowa in NSIC Dual

MARSHALL, Minn. – The Southwest Minnesota State University wrestling team will host No. 10 Upper Iowa University in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference dual on Friday night. The match is set to begin at 7 p.m. in the PE Gym on the campus of Southwest Minnesota State.

Follow us live: All NSIC wrestling matches are video broadcast live free of charge by New Media TV. Log onto to learn more and to watch the Mustangs when they are on the road! Or go to and click on the Live Video Webcasts tab on the right hand side of the page.

Bring on the NSIC: The Mustangs spent two months competing in open tournaments and in duals with non-conference teams before opening the NSIC schedule on Jan. 19.

Peacocks at a glance:
 Upper Iowa enters the dual ranked No. 10 in the NWCA Top 20 Poll. The Peacocks are 2-0 on the season and will wrestle Minnesota State on Thursday night in Mankato. Upper Iowa’s 2-0 dual record was put up against NSIC foes U-Mary and Northern State. The Peacocks defeated the Marauders 34-6 on Jan. 13 before downing Northern State 25-15 on Jan. 16.

The Peacocks have five wrestlers ranked in the top 8 in the latest edition of the individual rankings. Trevor Franklin, third at 125 pounds, Kyle Pedretti, first at 133 pounds, Mitch Schultz, sixth at 184 pounds, Carl Broghammer, sixth at 197 pounds and Zach Rosol, fifth at 285 pounds are ranked in the NWCA individual rankings released on Jan. 19.

Results vs. the Peacocks:
 Southwest Minnesota State is 0-6 all-time against Upper Iowa. The two teams first met during the 1991-92 season. Last season, Upper Iowa took eight of 10 bouts en route to a 35-12 win over the Mustangs on Jan. 29, 2010 in Fayette, Iowa. SMSU’s 12 points came from current Mustang Brian Rodas who won by fall and former Mustang Brandan Schunk who also won by fall.

Volkmann to Sign Autographs Sunday

MINNEAPOLIS — Former Gopher All-American and current Ultimate Fighting Championship competitor Jacob Volkmann will be on hand to sign autographs on Sunday afternoon prior to the fourth-ranked Gophers’ dual against No. 3 Wisconsin.

A three-time All-American at Minnesota, Volkmann remains one of the best wrestler’s to ever don the Gophers singlet. His career record of 127-36-0 and 34 career pins each rank ninth all-time at the school while  Volkmann was an integral part of the first national championship team in Minnesota history. In his first-year on the mat for the Gophers, Volkmann fought his way to a fourth-place finish at the 2001 NCAA Championships as one of 10 All-Americans for the Gophers that year – a feat that had never been accomplished by a team at the national tournament up to that point. Volkmann followed up with a third-place finish at the national championship in 2003 and a fourth-place finish in 2004, the same year he claimed his first Big Ten championship at 165 lbs.

A native of Henning, Minn., Volkmann currently competes in the UFC lightweight division and holds 12-2 mixed martial arts record with a three-bout winning streak. His latest fight was a three-round split decision victory over Antonio McKee on January 1, 2011 at UFC 125: Resolution in Las Vegas.

Sunday’s dual pits two of the top wrestling programs in the nation against each other as the No. 4 Gophers host No. 3 Wisconsin at 2 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis. The Gophers wrestling team will be signing autographs following the dual.

Cowboys and Falcons await Jackrabbits

The South Dakota State wrestling team hits the road for two more Western Wrestling Conference matches as they travel to Wyoming Friday and Air Force Saturday.

“Wyoming has a very good program right now with a lot of depth and it’s going to be a difficult road trip,” said head coach Jason Liles. “Air Force beat Arizona State a week or so ago, which surprised me but shows they have a lot of balance.”

Aaron Pickrel leads the Jackrabbits with a 6-2 duals record and an 19-7 overall record. Pickrel notched his 19th win against Northern Colrado last week with a win by forfeit. Five of Pickrel’s wins were by fall with the fastest in one minute three seconds.

Nick Flynn, Kevin Kelly and David Michaud come in second for the Jacks with four dual wins this season. Six of Michaud’s eight wins on the season were by fall, with the remaining wins by decsion.

The probable lineup for the Jacks against Wyoming and Air Force includes: Pickrel (125 pounds), open at 133 pounds, Tyler Johnson (141 pounds), Jimmy Hamilton (149 pounds), Andrew Youngblom (149 pounds), Flynn (157 pounds), Rex Lyon (157 pounds), Joe Rasmussen (165 pounds), John Nething II (165 pounds), Michaud (174 pounds), Cord Willers (184 pounds), open at 197 pounds and Kelly (285 pounds).

This week’s Competition
Wyoming Cowboys
 – Wyoming enters the matchup Friday ranked no. 21 by Intermat and no. 25 by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. The Cowboys own a 7-4 record and a 1-0 record in the Western Wrestling Conference. The Cowboys defeated the Utah Valley Wolverines 23-15 last week in WWC action.

The Cowboys boast four wrestlers ranked by Intermat in no. four Shane Onufer (165 pounds), no. five Joe LeBlanc (184 pounds), no. 18 Michael Martinez (125 pounds) and no. 18 Cole Dallaserra (149 pounds).

LeBlanc, a two-time All-American, was named the WWC Wrestler of the Year last season following a first-place finish at the NCAA West Regional and a fourth-place finish at the 2010 NCAA Championships at 184 pounds. The junior became the first freshman All-American at Wyoming two seasons ago after placing fifth at the 2009 NCAA Championships.

Martinez and Onufer both placed first in their respective weight classes at the West Regional last season, while Dallaserra placed fourth.

Last season, the Jacks fell to the Cowboys 34-9 and have yet to win a dual against Wyoming with an 0-11 record all-time.

Air Force Falcons – Air Force enters the weekend with a 8-2 duals record a ranked no. 45 by Intermat. The Falcons open their conference schedule when they host North Dakota State Friday before going head-to-head with the Jacks.

The Falcons claim one wrestler ranked by Intermat in no. 10 sophomore Cole VonOhlen at 141 pounds. VonOhlen placed second at the 2010 West Regional and ended his freshman season at the NCAA Championshisp. VonOhlen was named WWC Freshman of the Year last season for his performance on the mat during his debut season.

Last season the Jacks dropped the dual against Air Force 23-12 and are 1-6 against the Falcons all-time.

Wrestlers on Facebook – Fans can show their support for the Jackrabbit wrestlers on Facebook. Log onto to keep up with the Jackrabbit grapplers.

Fans can also follow Jackrabbit Athletics on the all new Facebook page by logging onto

Jackrabbit Extra – Subscribers to the Jackrabbit Extra on can view select SDSU wrestling matches live on the internet. To subscribe to the Jackrabbit Extra, log onto, select Jackrabbit Extra on the Audio/Video tab and click “sign up.”

Jackrabbit Insider on FOX and FSN – “Jackrabbit Insider” airs at 10:30 p.m. Sundays on KTTW FOX 7. The show can also be seen on FOX Sports North Tuesdays at 6 p.m. CT. FOX College Sports Central will air the program Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. “Jackrabbit Insider” is also available through the Jackrabbit Extra video on-demand service at

Hosted by Tyler Merrium, “Jackrabbit Insider” is a weekly half-hour program that provides Jackrabbit fans with a behind-the-scenes look at South Dakota State University Athletics.

Last week – The Jackrabbit grapplers battled the Northern Colorado Bears to a 26-21 loss last week in Frost Arena.

Nick Flynn drew the first blood at 157 pounds with his decision win over Tanner Weiks, but it was David Michaud who highlighted the night with his win by fall over Cody McAninch in two minutes 48 seconds.

The pin marked Michaud’s sixth on the season. He improved his record to 8-5 overall and 1-1 in the WWC.

The dual, which started at the 141-pound weight class, ended with three-straight forfeits. Kevin Kelly and Aaron Pickrel each picked up wins by forfeit to give the Jacks a temporary 21-20 lead, but an SDSU forfeit at 133 pounds put the Bears just over the top for the 26-21 victory.

Next up – The Jacks take next week off, but host WWC member North Dakota State Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. in Frost Arena. The regular season wraps up the following week when Utah Valley visits Frost Arena.

Gophers Rise to No. 4 in Latest Polls

MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota wrestling program continues to climb in the national rankings, moving up to fourth in the latest NWCA/USA Today Division I Team Coaches Poll after scoring a pair of wins over ranked opponents over the weekend.

The Gophers (12-3 overall, 3-0 Big Ten) topped No. 23 Purdue 26-15 last Friday before closing out the weekend with a 21-16 win over 15th-ranked Illinois on Sunday. Minnesota’s three remaining home duals this season are all against nationally ranked programs including No. 3 Wisconsin this Sunday at the Sports Pavilion. The Badgers narrowly defeated the Gophers earlier this year at National Duals in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Penn State has been credited as the nation’s new top team, clinching the No. 1 ranking this weekend as the Nittany Lions hold a perfect 13-0 record. They’ll be in Minneapolis on Feb. 13 for a Big Ten showdown with Minnesota, which currently sits atop the Big Ten with a 3-0 conference record. The Gophers close out the regular season with a Big Ten finale against No. 8 Iowa at Williams Arena on Feb. 20.

Cornell (No. 2) and Oklahoma State (5) close out the top five while Virginia Tech, Missouri, Iowa, Rutgers and Boise State close out the top ten, respectively.

USA TODAY-NWCA Division I Top 25

Jan. 25, 2011

Last week
Penn State
Oklahoma State
Virginia Tech
Boise State
Iowa State
Kent State
Oregon State
Central Michigan
Cal Poly

Others receiving votes:
 Arizona State, Hofstra, and Virginia.

Johnnie Wrestling Stays at No. 6, Baarson Ranked No. 1 at 165

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – The Saint John’s University wrestling team stayed at No. 6 in the latest Brute-Adidas National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division III team rankings released Jan. 25.

NWCA Team Rankings | NWCA Individual Rankings

Other teams ranked from the NCAA Great Lakes Region include Augsburg (No. 3), Concordia-Moorhead (No. 7), North Central (No. 19) and Elmhurst (No. 24).

Five of the Johnnies’ starting 10 were ranked individually. Senior Matt Baarson (15-2 record; Brooklyn Park, Minn./Champlin Park) moved up two spots to No. 1 at 165 pounds despite not wrestling since the last rankings were released. He has won 13 of his last 14 matches, including each of the last seven. Baarson joins Concordia-Moorhead’s Phil Moenkedick (184 lbs.) as Minnesota’s other top-ranked wrestler in Division III.

Senior Minga Batsukh (12-1 record; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia/St. Benedict’s Prep, N.J.) remained fourth at 149, junior Matt Pfarr (13-4 record; Le Sueur, Minn./Le Sueur-Henderson) held steady at No. 4 in the 174-weight class, and junior Dustin Baxter (13-4 record; Fairbanks, Alaska/West Valley) was seventh at 184. Pfarr started the season with a 4-3 record, but has won nine of his last 10 matches and each of the last six.

Senior Tony Willaert (9-7 overall record, 8-5 record at 197; North Mankato, Minn./Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial) moved up one spot to No. 9 at 197 despite a loss in his last match.

Pfarr and Baxter failed to move up the national rankings despite wins over nationally-ranked wrestlers from Division II St. Cloud State. Pfarr upset then-No. 6 Shamus O’Grady by a 6-5 margin, while Baxter posted a convincing 7-2 upset of then-No. 5 Mic Berg.

The Johnnies return to action with three duals this Friday, Jan. 28, in Perham. SJU is scheduled to face St. Olaf at 4 p.m., followed by showdowns with No. 7 Concordia-Moorhead (five ranked wrestlers) and No. 3 Augsburg (eight ranked wrestlers) at 6 and 8 p.m., respectively.