Gophers Finish Seventh at NCAAs

Philadelphia — Redshirt senior Mike Thorn paced the Minnesota wrestling team with a third-place finish in the 141 lbs. bracket and was one of five Gopher All-Americans at the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships as Minnesota closed out the 2010-11 season with a seventh place finish. The Gophers tallied 61.0 team points while Penn State captured its first team title since 1953 with 107.5 points.

Thorn tallied a pair of thrilling wins over nationally ranked foes to take third in the 141 lbs. bracket while Zach Sanders went 1-1 on Saturday to place fifth at 125 lbs.  Redshirt junior Sonny Yohn and redshirt freshman Tony Nelson each tallied wins in their matches to place seventh at the 197 and 285 lbs. weight classes, respectively, and redshirt freshman Kevin Steinhaus closed out the Gophers’ All-Americans with an eighth-place finish at 184 lbs.

Thorn, who also earned Academic All-America honors, ended his college career with a bang, picking up two wins on Saturday including a last-second 4-3 decision over five seed Montell Marion of Iowa to finish third in a loaded 141 lbs. bracket and earn his second career All-America honor. The duo, who went 1-1 against each other this year including a 7-5 sudden victory contest in the Big Ten semifinals that saw Thorn come back from a 5-1 deficit to win in the added time, didn’t disappoint fans when they met in the NCAA consolation finals for a rubber match. The grapplers battled to a 2-2 tie in the third period with Marion building up enough riding time for one bonus point. But in the final seconds of the match, Thorn (39-5) scored the two-point takedown and held on to pick up the win and record his highest finish in the NCAA championships. Thorn pinned four seed James Kennedy of Illinois at 1:29 to advance to the consolation finals matchup against Marion.

The redshirt senior opened the NCAA championships with three-straight wins to reach the semifinals, beating North Carolina State’s Darius Little 2-1, Nick Nelson of Virginia 6-1 and 10 seed Todd Schavrien of Missouri with a pin at 2:03 to force the showdown with third seed Boris Novachkov of Cal Poly. Novachkov, who finished as the 141 lbs. runner up, picked up the 9-3 decision over Thorn to advance to the finals.

Thorn leaves Minnesota as one of best finishers in school history. His 37 career pins are the eighth most in program history while his 111 career wins (111-44 overall record), tie the St. Michael, Minn., native for 24th all-time at Minnesota with Brett Colombini (1991-95). His 2010-11 record of 39-5 ranks tied for 11th at Minnesota for wins in a season (Sanders: 2009-10).

Sanders posted his third All-America honor with a fifth-place finish in the 125 lbs. bracket, 5-2 in NCAA competition. The redshirt junior closed out this year’s campaign with a 6-2 decision victory over Ryan Mango of Stanford in the fifth-place match – tying Sanders career-best finish at the NCAA Championships (2010). Sanders (34-6) fell in his opening match on Saturday morning, dropping a 5-4 decision to Northwestern’s Brandon Precin in a rematch of the Big Ten semifinals.

The Wabasha, Minn., native opened the NCAA tournament with a 6-2 decision over Jason Lara of Oregon State and followed up with an 8-6 decision over 12 seed Jason Garnett of Virginia Tech. Sanders fell in his quarterfinal matchup – a 5-3 upset loss to Utah Valley’s Ben Kjar – but rebounded with two-straight wins in the consolation brackets, beating Matthew Snyder of Virginia with a 6-5 decision and adding a 4-2 sudden victory win over eight seed Jarrod Patterson of Oklahoma to reach the consolation semifinals against Precin.

Sonny Yohn‘s seventh-place match at 197 lbs. saw the redshirt junior and now two-time All-American extract revenge on Indiana’s Matt Powless. Having already earned a win over Yohn in the Big Ten championships, Powless sent Yohn to the consolation bracket on Thursday with a 5-3 sudden victory decision. But in their third meeting of the year, Yohn (18-7) would not be denied. The redshirt junior would pick up a 5-2 decision over Powless to place seventh in the 197 lbs. brackets – Yohn’s highest-career finish at the NCAA championships. Yohn started the week with a 6-1 decision over Michigan’s Anthony Biondo and followed the loss to Powless with three-straight wins, beating Oregon State’s Chad Hanke 5-3, Nebraska’s Andy Johnson 3-1 and seven seed Zac Thomusseit of Pitt 2-1, before losing a 3-2 decision to Stanford’s Zack Giesen that forced a rematch against Powless.

At heavyweight, Nelson pinned Levi Cooper of Arizona State at 2:37 to place seventh in his first NCAA championships appearance – earning All-America honors in the process. Nelson (33-8) scored an early takedown to go up 2-0 on Cooper and forced the pin on the Sun Devil for the third pin of his career. Nelson beat Christian Brantley of Northern Iowa 3-1 to open the week but fell 4-1 to nine seed Cameron Wade of Penn State in the next round. Nelson then rallied off three wins – a 6-1 decision over Michigan’s Ben Apland, a 10-3 decision over six seed Ryan Tomei of Pitt and a 3-2 tiebreaker over 10 seed Nathan Fernandez – before dropping his second match of the week to Spencer Myers of Maryland in a 2-1 tiebreaker.

Steinhaus ended his first NCAA championships appearance with an eighth-place finish at 184 lbs. Steinhaus (34-12) dropped a 4-2 decision to four seed Travis Rutt of Wisconsin in Saturday’s seventh-place match, earning All-American accolades for his 4-3 performance at this year’s tournament. The redshirt freshman also picked up wins over Jason McCroskey of Wyoming (10-3 decision), Brad Dieckhaus of Northern Illinois (10-7 decision), Luke Rebertus of Navy (4-1 decision) and seven seed Chris Perry of Oklahoma State (7-1 decision). His first two losses came to nine seed and eventual national champion Quentin Wright of Penn State (8-4 decision) and five seed Joe LeBlanc of Wyoming (11-9 decision).

Thorn Advances to NCAA Semis

PHILADELPHIA — The Minnesota wrestling program sits poised with five All-American contenders still in the hunt including second-ranked Mike Thorn, who will take on third-ranked Boris Novachkov of Cal Poly in the 141 lbs. semifinals. Minnesota currently sits 10th in the team standings with 32 points.

Thorn, who also earned All-American honors in 2010 when he finished seventh, improved his record to 37-4 this season including a 3-0 mark so far at the national tournament. The redshirt senior dominated his quarterfinal matchup against Missouri’s Tony Schavrien, winning with a pin at 2:03 for his 36th-career pin. The Gopher All-American will meet Novachkov for the first time in his career with a trip to the finals at stake.

Along with Thorn, Minnesota has four additional wrestlers still active in the consolation bracket including a trio of grapplers who finished the morning session with three-straight wins.

Redshirt freshman Kevin Steinhaus picked up an impressive come-from-behind win over Brad Dieckhaus to stay alive in the 184 lbs. consolation bracket. After opening the match with a 1-7 deficit, Steinhaus rallied nine unanswered points to pick up a 10-7 win and then added a 4-1 win over Luke Rebertus of Navy to advance.

Likewise for Tony Nelson and All-American Sonny Yohn, who bounced back from second-round losses on Thursday night to pick up two wins each on Friday morning. Yohn earned a 5-3 win in the 197 lbs. consolation bracket over Chad Hanke of Oregon State and a 3-1 decision over Andy Johnson of Nebraska. Nelson started the day with his third win of the year over Michigan’s Ben Apland – this time picking up a 2-0 decision over the Wolverine – and closed out the session with a 10-3 win over Ryan Tomei of Pitt.

Two-time All-American Zach Sanders opened the day with a setback, dropping a 5-3 decision to Utah Valley’s Ben Kjar. Kjar, who also upset four-seed James Nicholson of Old Dominion on Thursday, advanced to the semifinals and will be Utah Valley’s first-ever All-American. Sanders will take Matthew Snyder of Virginia in the consolation bracket tonight.

Meanwhile, three Gophers closed out their seasons on Friday morning including redshirt senior Scott Glasser. Glasser opened the day with a 6-0 win over Eric Starks of Arizona State, but the Bismarck, N.D. native would end his championship run with a 4-2 SV loss to Nick Heflin of Ohio State.

Redshirt freshman David Thorn rounded out his first appearance in the NCAA tournament with a 2-2 performance including splitting a pair of matches on Friday morning. Thorn opened the session with championship an 8-2 decision over Ian Paddock of Oklahoma State but dropped the follow-up against Tony Ramos via 7-5 in the sudden victory period.

After going 1-1 to open the NCAA championships, Cody Yohn fell out of the tournament with an 8-3 loss in the consolation bracket to Lehigh’s Brandon Hatchett.

Sprenkle Knocked Out of NCAA Championships

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – North Dakota State sophomore Trent Sprenkle was eliminated from the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships after losing to Stanford’s Ryan Mango in the consolation quarterfinals.

Mango, the 7th seed in the tournament, defeated Sprenkle in a 12-7 decision.  Mango recorded four takedowns in the first period to take an 8-3 lead.  Sprenkle tallied the only score of the second period with an escape.  Both wrestlers scored an escape and a takedown in the third period.

Sprenkle finishes the season with an overall record of 32-11.  He went 3-2 at the NCAA Championships and was the first Bison wrestler to win three matches at the championships since the transition from Division II.

Sprenkle Wins Twice at NCAA Championships, Advances to Consolation Quarterfinals

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – North Dakota State sophomore Trent Sprenkle pushed his win streak to three with a victory in the consolation bracket third round at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships Friday, March 18.  His three NCAA wins are the most for a Bison wrestler since the transition from Division II.

Sprenkle claimed an 8-2 decision over Wyoming’s Michael Martinez to advance to the consolation bracket quarterfinals.  Sprenkle dominated from start to finish, claiming a takedown in each period.  He also picked up an escape in the second period and a point for riding time.  It was Sprenkle’s first win over Martinez in three tries this season.

Sprenkle will now wrestle 7th seeded Ryan Mango of Stanford in tonight’s session.  Mango is coming off an 11-0 major decision loss to 2nd seeded Matt McDonough of Iowa.  Live statistics are available.  The sophomore is now one win away from a top eight finish and All-America status.

Sprenkle advanced to wrestle Martinez with a 10-5 win over Steven Keith of Harvard in the second round of the consolation bracket earlier this morning.  Sprenkle opened with a dominant first period, scoring a takedown, a two-point near fall and a three-point near fall to take a 7-0 lead into the second period.  Keith responded with a two-point near fall in the second period.  The wrestlers scored three points apiece in the third period.

Sprenkle in the NCAA Tournament
1st round – Lost 4-3 decision to #11 Frank Perrelli of Cornell
Consolation 1st Round – Won by fall (2:48) over Garrett Frey of Princeton
Consolation 2nd Round – Won 10-5 decision over Steven Keith of Harvard
Consolation 3rd Round – Won 8-2 decision over Michael Martinez of Wyoming

Sprenkle Wins Second Straight at NCAA Championships

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – North Dakota State sophomore Trent Sprenkle won his second straight bout at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on Friday, March 18.

Sprenkle won a 10-5 decision over Steven Keith of Harvard.  Sprenkle opened with a dominant first period, scoring a takedown, a two-point near fall and a three-point near fall to take a 7-0 lead into the second period.  Keith responded with a two-point near fall in the second period.  The wrestlers scored three points apiece in the third period.

Sprenkle will now wrestle Wyoming’s Michael Martinez, who won a 7-5 decision over Mark Rappo of Penn in overtime.  Sprenkle and Martinez have met twice this season with Martinez winning both matches.  Martinez won a 3-1 decision in the dual meet between NDSU and Wyoming and claimed a 3-2 win at the NCAA West Regional.

The match will take place during Session IV, which begins at 6 p.m. tonight.  Live statistics are available at http://www.nwcaonline.com/nwcaonline/CompetitionResultNCAA.aspx

The Guillotine – March 18, 2011

The March 18, 2011 issue of The Guillotine has arrived! Content in this issue includes: State Tournament Individual/Team Wrap-up | Lace ‘Em Up | College Tournament Time | Minnesota College Connection | State Class A Results/Awards | State Class AA Results/Awards | State Class AAA Results/Awards | Milestones | Open Tournament Calendar | Camps, Clinics, and Training | State Action Photos | Academic All-State Nomination Form.

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