Gophers Sit In Third After Morning Session

EVANSTON, ILL. — After Session I of the 2011 Big Ten Wrestling Championships, the Minnesota wrestling program sits in third place with 57.5 points. Iowa is in the poll position through the opening session with 79.0 points while Penn State is currently in second with 60.0 points.

For the Gophers, six of 10 participants are still in the hunt for an individual conference title. Zach Sanders, Mike Thorn, Cody Yohn, Kevin Steinhaus, Sonny Yohn and Tony Nelson remain in the winner’s brackets, each winning at least one match in the morning session to advance on to the quarterfinals this evening.

Sanders, the three seed at 125 lbs., opened the day with a 22-7 technical fall over Ohio State’s Bo Touris – the first of two Gophers to successfully emerge from the pigtails along with Matt Mincey – before pinning six seed Justin Brooks of Indiana at 2:37 in a second round matchup. The two-time All-American will take on two seed Brandon Precin of Northwestern in the quarterfinals.

At 133 lbs., David Thorn fell in his opening match to Tony Ramos of Iowa via 4-3 decision after a late takedown by the Hawkeye secured a come-from-behind win. Thorn will take on the winner of Indiana’s Matt Ortega and Michigan’s Zac Stevens in the consolation bracket.

A 2010 Big Ten Champion, Mike Thorn, is well on his way for a repeat after opening the tournament with an impressive pin over Kaleb Friedley of Northwestern. The Gopher All-American and tournament three seed earned the fall at 4:11 and will take on Iowa’s Montell Marion in the quarterfinals.

Minnesota would fail to advance into the winner’s bracket in both the 149 and 157 lbs. brackets however. Eight seed Danny Zilverberg dropped his opening match against Penn State’s Frank Molinaro  — the top seed in the 149 lbs. division – via 9-0 major decision. Zilverberg will take on Ohio State’s Mike Fee in the consolation bracket. At 157 lbs., Matt Mincey fell via pin to one seed David Taylor of Penn State at 2:07. Mincey will take on Ohio State’s Sean Nemec in the consolation bracket.

Cody Yohn advanced following his opening match in the 165 lbs. bracket. Yohn tallied a 5-0 decision over Michigan’s Dan Yates. Yohn will take on Colt Sponseller of Ohio State in the quarterfinals. At 174 lbs., Scott Glasser dropped his opening round match against Wisconsin’s Ben Jordan via a 5-4 decision. Glasser will take on Ben Friedl of Illinois in the consolation bracket.

At 184 lbs., Kevin Steinhaus advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-0 shutout decision over Ohio State’s Cody Magrum. Steinhaus will take on Grant Gambrall of Iowa in the evening session.

Sonny Yohn and Tony Nelson also advanced to quarterfinal matchups in the 197 and 285 weight classes, respectively. Yohn topped Tyler Dickenson of Michigan State with a 7-4 decision and will take on Wisconsin’s Trevor Brandvold this evening. Nelson picked up a 5-1 decision over Ben Apland of Michigan in his first career conference tournament match. The redshirt freshman will take on Penn State’s Cameron Wade in the quarterfinals.

Minnesota returns to action this evening for Session II. Continue checking for updates from the 2011 Big Ten Wrestling Championships.

Gophers in Third with Three Finalists

EVANSTON, ILL. — The Minnesota wrestling team will send three Gophers to the finals on Sunday at the 2011 Big Ten Wrestling Championships in Evanston, Ill. Minnesota, which currently sits third in the team standings, has nine wrestlers eligible to place in the conference championship. Redshirt senior Mike Thorn (141) and redshirt freshmen Kevin Steinhaus (184) and Tony Nelson (285) each won their semifinal matches to advance to the finals on Sunday afternoon.

Thorn was the first Gopher of the day to reach the finals when he came back from a four-point deficit to beat Iowa’s Montell Marion 7-5 in the sudden victory period. Marion jumped out to a 5-1 lead when he scored a third period takedown and followed up with a three-point nearfall. But Thorn owned the final minute of action, creating an escape and tallying a takedown of his own before a riding time bonus sent the match to sudden victory. In the extra time, Thorn held off his foe’s advances before turning Marion for the two-point takedown. Thorn, seeking his second Big Ten title, will meet Michigan’s Kellen Russell in the 141 lbs. finals.

Steinhaus joined his teammate in the championship round when he defeated Iowa’s Grant Gambrall with a 5-4 decision in the 184 lbs. semifinals. After trading escapes to open the second and third periods, Steinhaus broke the tie with a third-period takedown and earned a riding time bonus point to pick up the win and advance to the finals in his first Big Ten championship appearance. Steinhaus will meet Penn State’s Quentin Wright in the 184 lbs. finals.

Nelson followed suit two semifinal matches later when he scored a 3-0 decision win over Penn State’s Cameron Wade. After two scoreless periods to open the match, Nelson broke the scoreless tie with the match’s lone takedown in the third period before adding a bonus point for riding time for the 3-0 win over the Nittany Lions’ heavyweight. Nelson will meet Iowa’s Blake Rasing in the 285 lbs. finals.

Minnesota has six additional wrestlers in the running to place at the conference tournament. Zach Sanders dropped a 4-0 decision to Northwestern’s Brandon Precin and will meet Wisconsin’s Tom Kelliher for a shot at third in the 125 lbs. bracket. At 133, David Thorn will meet Northwestern’s Levi Mele for seventh-place after being pinned by Michigan’s Zac Stevens in the consolation bracket. Danny Zilverberg rallied off a pair of 149 lbs. consolation victories on Saturday afternoon to earn a consolation semis matchup against Northwestern’s Andrew Nadhir. At 165 lbs., Cody Yohn fell 2-0 to Ohio State’s Colt Sponseller in the semifinals for the sophomore’s first loss of the weekend. Yohn will take on Conrad Polz of Illinois in the consolation semifinals. In the 174 lbs. consolation bracket, Scott Glasser scored a pair of wins to reach the semifinals against Iowa’s Ethen Lofthouse on Sunday. Sonny Yohn fell in his 197 lbs. semifinal matchup to Wisconsin’s Trevor Brandvold 3-2 and will meet Indiana’s Matt Powless for a chance to battle for third. Matt Mincey is the lone Gopher out of competition, losing a pair of matches on Saturday.

Minnesota currently sits in third place with 96.5 team points behind Iowa (110.5) and Penn State (109.0). The 2011 Big Ten Wrestling Championships continue tomorrow morning at 1 p.m. local time. The championship round begins at 3 p.m. and will be broadcast live by the Big Ten Network.