Gophers Head to No. 10 Michigan, Host No. 3 Penn State Sunday

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota returns to action this weekend with a pair of duals against nationally ranked opponents — taking on No. 10 Michigan on Friday at 6 p.m. CST in Ann Arbor before hosting No. 3 Penn State at 2 p.m. on Sunday in the Sports Pavilion.

Michigan (10-3 overall, 5-1 Big Ten) is coming off a split last weekend, taking down Wisconsin 26-9 last Friday but losing to Penn State 28-13 two days later in Ann Arbor for their first loss at home this year (the Wolverines are 3-1 at Cliff Keen Arena in 2010-11). The loss also snapped a six-dual winning streak for Michigan dating back to Jan. 8 (a 24-12 loss also to Penn State in the finals of the Virginia Duals). Michigan features five wrestlers ranked by Intermat including 141 lbs. redshirt junior Kellen Russell, ranked No. 1 in the nation by Intermat. Russell is 27-0 this season.

Penn State (15-1, 4-1) waltzed into the state of Michigan last weekend and came home with a pair of wins — taking down Michigan State 30-9 on Friday before beating the Wolverines on Sunday. The sweep put the Nittany Lions back on track after the program suffered its first loss of the season to Iowa (22-13) on Jan. 30. Penn State lists eight nationally ranked wrestlers on its roster including six grapplers ranked in the top-ten.

Big Ten Network Coverage
The Big Ten Network will give fans who can’t make it out to see the Gophers live a chance to watch this weekend’s action. Friday’s dual at Michigan will be streamed online at BigTenNetwork.com (subscription required). Meanwhile, Sunday’s showdown of top-five teams will be aired by the network on tape delay at 9:30 p.m. on 2/13 and again on 2/15 at 7 p.m.

Big Ten Network Coverage
The Big Ten Network will give fans who can’t make it out to see the Gophers live a chance to watch this weekend’s action. Friday’s dual at Michigan will be streamed online at BigTenNetwork.com (subscription required). Meanwhile, Sunday’s showdown of top-five teams will be aired by the network on tape delay at 9:30 p.m. on 2/13 and again on 2/15 at 7 p.m.

Match of the Meets
Each and every Gopher wrestling match is full of excitement and entertainment but this weekend two bouts stand out among the rest. Minnesota’s Mike Thorn (31-1) will have his hands full this weekend when he faces off against two of the elite wrestlers in the nation. He opens the weekend on Friday against the only man who has beaten him this year — Michigan’s Kellen Russell. Thorn, the No. 2 wrestler  at 141 lbs., dropped a 6-2 decision to top-ranked Russell in the finals of the Southern Scuffle on Dec. 29. Minnesota’s All-American currently leads all Big Ten wrestler’s with 31 wins this season. Russell ranks second in the conference’s 141 lbs. bracket with a 27-0 record while Thorn’s opponent on Sunday, No. 7 Andrew Alton, ranks third at 25-4.

Every Point Counts
Redshirt senior Mike Thorn’s 17-0 technical fall over Randall Languis at 141 lbs. last Saturday was just the latest in a long line of victims for the All-American. With a 31-1 overall record (17-0 in duals), Thorn has scored bonus points in over 65 percent of his matches this season (11 pins, seven major decisions, three technical falls).

The Road to Philadelphia
Minnesota has fielded one of the toughest schedules in the country in 2010-11 — having already taken on ten nationally ranked programs with three top-ten teams still to go. The Gophers are 7-3 against ranked opponents this year while all three losses have come against top-five teams.

500 for Robinson
Saturday’s dual at Michigan will mark the 500th dual in the head coaching history of J Robinson. Robinson holds a 370-126-3 coaching record — all at Minnesota — and holds the most wins among active Big Ten coaches.

Getting the Pin
All-American Mike Thorn cracked Minnesota’s top-ten for career pins earlier this year and currently sits tied with Jacob Volkmann for ninth on the school’s all-time list with 34 career pins. Thorn needs one more fall to take sole possession of ninth and four pins to tie Jason Davids (1994-98) and Mack Reiter (2004-08) for seventh on the Gophers’ list. Jayson Ness (2006-10) ranks first in career pins at Minnesota with 73.

Feeling Right at Home
Minnesota is 13-6 all-time against Penn State in a series that dates back to 1985. But the Gophers have been extremely lucky against their conference foe as of late — winning seven in a row against the Nittany Lions. Penn State has not beaten Minnesota since Feb. 6, 1998 while the Nittany Lions have not won at Minnesota since Feb. 8, 1992.  Minnesota is 26-30-2 all-time against Michigan.

Big Ten Tourney Rematch
A rematch of last year’s Big Ten tournament third-place match is possible on Sunday should Penn State’s Brad Pataky compete against Zach Sanders at 125 lbs. Sanders, currently ranked fifth, earned 13-11 sudden victory win over Pataky last year to claim third place at the conference championship.

Two Matches, Two Wins
Twice in the 2010-11 wrestling seasons have Minnesota coaches called on redshirt sophomore Matt Mincey to compete in dual action, and twice has Mincey (10-5 overall)come away with wins despite wrestling in two different weight classes. The Apple Valley, Minn. native opened his dual season on Jan. 21 with a surprising 15-0 tech fall over Purdue’s Tommy Churchard in the 149 lbs. match before tallying an 11-8 decision against Sean Nemec of Ohio State last Saturday in a 157 lbs. match.

Honoring an Icon
Minnesota will honor one of the greatest wrestlers to ever don the Maroon and Gold on Sunday when the program celebrates Ness’ historic career. The four-time All-American was the first Gopher ever to win the prestigious Hodge Trophy and concluded his career with a national championship and a perfect 31-0 season in 2009-10. Ness sits first all-time in career pins (73) and third all-time in career victories (148) at Minnesota.

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 Sunday. 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).

J Robinson 25th Anniversary Ceremony Set for Iowa

MINNEAPOLIS – The University of Minnesota will honor head wrestling coach J Robinson’s 25 years of service on Sunday, Feb. 20 when the No. 4 Gophers host No. 2 Iowa at Williams Arena. The long-time Gophers coach has brought Minnesota’s wrestling program to new heights since taking over the program in 1986 while the J Robinson name has become synonymous with amateur wrestling.

Robinson, a two-time National Coach of the Year, has guided the program to three national championships including the school’s first-ever NCAA title in 2001. Minnesota rewrote the record book that year, becoming the first team in NCAA championships history to record 10 All-Americans and the first team to capture the team title without placing a competitor in the final round. Minnesota would repeat as national champions in 2002 and add a third title in 2007.

Robinson has also coached 12 individual NCAA champions while 46 of his wrestlers have amassed a total of 97 All-America honors including the only six Gophers to earn All-American honors in each of their four years of eligibility.

A native of San Diego, Calif., Robinson has been labeled the “Dean of Big Ten Wrestling,” earning six conference championships and coaching 42 Gophers to individual Big Ten titles. Robinson has been named the conference’s Coach of the Year a record seven times.

The university will honor Robinson throughout the Minnesota/Iowa dual — one of the most anticipated events of the year in college wrestling – including a 25th anniversary celebration preceding the dual and a commemorative poster and t-shirt giveaway for fans.

No. 4 Minnesota returns to action this weekend at No. 14 Michigan on Friday night before taking on No. 3 Penn State on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion. The Gophers then close out the regular season against Iowa a week later at 2 p.m. at Williams Arena.

Cobbers Ranked 6th, Have 6 Ranked

MOORHEAD, Minn. — Concordia jumped to No.6 in the team rankings and Concordia has six wrestlers ranked in the top 10 of the nation.

Fresh off their wins over DIII nationally ranked teams Augsburg and St. John’s and their win over Division II nationally ranked MSU Moorhead, the Cobbers climbed to their highest ranking in school history. Concordia was also ranked sixth for one week in the beginning of December last year. Concordia is currently 10-2 in dual meets and has won eight straight duals.

Concordia has six wrestlers ranked in the top 10 of the nation which is the most they have ever had in one ranking period. It ties for the most of any team in the Great Lakes Region and is among the top for all teams in the nation.

Cobber senior Phil Moenkedick continued to hold tight to his spot as the top wrestler in the 184-lb weight class. Moenkedick, the defending national champion, is currently 26-1 on the season and has won 24 straight matches after losing to Kevin Steinhaus of the University of Minnesota in the opening invite of the season. Steinhaus is currently ranked No.8 in Division I and is 25-8 on the year.

Despite not losing since Jan. 8, Justin Berns dropped from No.5 to No.6 at 157. Berns is currently 22-3 on the year and has won 18 of his last 19 matches. His only loss during that time came to Carrington Banks of Wartburg who is ranked No.3 in Division III

Moenkedick and Berns recently surpassed the school record for wins in a career. They both have 126 career wins which is two better than the old mark of 124 held by Steve Larsen.

The other Cobber wrestlers ranked in the top 10 include Ben Presler, Daron Hohbein, Ross Dankers and Tom Bouressa. Presler is 16-11 on the year and ranked No.6 at 125. He has won eight off his last nine matches. Hohbein is ranked 10th at 133 and is 10-4 this season. Dankers, a 2010 All-American, is 19-6 on the year and ranked fifth at 174. He has been in the top 10 of the nation the entire season. Bouressa is the newest member of the Cobber national ranking crew. Entering the top 10 for the first time in his career, Bouressa is 19-4 on the year and ranked No.10 at 285. He has won 15 of his last 16 matches with his only loss coming to John Helgerson of Wartburg who finished second in the NCAA national meet last season, is currently the No.1 ranked wrestler in the nation and is 35-4 on the year.

Concordia has one more dual meet in the 2010-11 season before competing in the NCAA Great lakes Regional. The Cobbers will square off against the University of Mary on Thursday, Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in Bismarck, N.D.

MSU-Moorhead 30 Minot State 9

MINOT, N.D. – The No. 20 ranked Minnesota State University Moorhead Dragons wrestling team took on their final road opponent of the 2010-11 season against future NSIC opponent Minot State (N.D.). The Beavers received a free pass at 125 pounds but gained little else as the Dragons stole the show, winning 30-9.

Redshirt junior Corey Ulmer was inactive against the Beavers, which gave the home team a 6-0 lead. The Dragons opened up their night at 133 pounds with redshirt senior Evan Forde who took on Robert Herrera. Herrera chose the bottom position to start the second and Forde nearly made him pay for it, gaining a three-point nearfall.

Forde denied Herrera any points in the third, choosing to go neutral and taking the two minutes of riding time to a 4-0 win. After a loss at 141 pounds toConnor MacGregor who was in the lineup for Brady SchneebergerTyler Steinwand continued his hot streak with a 15-5 major decision win over Jon Wilson at 149 pounds.

Steinwand worked Wilson over for points from the start, gaining a takedown then releasing Wilson three times in the first to lead 6-3. In the third, Steinwand racked up more points, escaping 32 seconds into the final period. Steinwand took down Wilson twice in the final minute, gaining a three-point nearfall to work his way up to the 10-point win.

Much like Steinwand, redshirt senior Tallen Wald gained majority of his points in the final period of the 157-pound match against Marcus Wilson. Wald led 4-0 after two periods as a result of a takedown and reversal in the first and second periods, respectively.

In the third, Wald reversed Wilson 19 seconds into the period, but Wilson escaped 11 seconds later. A little over half way through the period, Wald took down Wilson and nearly pinned him 18 seconds later. Riding time finished off Wilson for an 11-1 major decision win for Wald.

The most impressive win of the night belonged to Tyler Kivel at 165 pounds against Coby Carson. Carson gained a takedown half way into the opening period but would have no more success as Kivel escaped to trail 2-1. Kivel took down Carson and followed it up with a three-point nearfall to lead 6-2.

In the third period, Kivel chose the top position and nearly pinned Carson three separate times, twice for two points and a three-point nearfall. A total of 2:34 of riding time gave Kivel a 14-2 major decision win, the third in a row for the Dragons.

Trent Sovde got back on the winning track at 174 pounds against Cristian Molina. Sovde took Molina down 53 seconds into the match but Molina managed to escape 17 seconds later. Sovde gained another point in the second by escaping to lead 3-1 after the second. Sovde’s two takedowns sealed the win for Sovde by a final of 7-2.

Freshman Kody Kalkbrenner also had a bounce back win of his own at 184 pounds when he faced Luke Michaelson. Kalkbrenner and Michaelson battled in the first period as Kalkbrenner gained a mid-period takedown but Michaelson countered with an escape and a quick takedown of his own. Not to be out done, Kalkbrenner reversed Michaelson to end the period, up 4-3.

In the second, Kalkbrenner forged ahead with a takedown and a three-point nearfall to end the period on his way to a 9-5 win. With the nearly secured,Brian Woelfel showed how tough on top he could be against Wade Weppler. Woelfel gained a takedown, scoring two more points to open up a 4-0 lead.

In the period, Weppler chose the bottom position in an effort to gain points but Woelfel refused to yield, finishing with over four minutes of riding time for a 5-0 win.

In the final match, redshirt senior Jon Swart proved it was a matter of time for Sean Small at heavyweight. Swart took down Small 1:17 into the period, nearly pinning Small a minute later. As the period was closing to an end, Swart finished off Small with a pin at 2:46.

The Dragons won eight of the nine matches on the night, most of them in convincing fashion for the 30-9 win. The win brings the Dragons record to 5-8 on the season. The Dragons return home for the remainder of the regular season, starting with a conference dual against Northern State (S.D.) on Thursday at 7 p.m.

The dual is the annual John Sterner Endowment Dual, which benefits the Dragons wrestling program. The entire cost of admission goes toward the fund, which helps MSU-Moorhead wrestling scholarships.

Coach Sterner was the Dragons’ head coach from 1988 until 2003. During that time Coach Sterner had a coaching record of 137-92-1 and was inducted into the Minnesota Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in April of 2010.

MSU-Moorhead 30 Minot State 9
125: Kellan Zietz (Minot) For Forfeit (Moor)
133: Evan  Forde (Moor) DEC Herrera, Robert (Minot) 4-0
141: Deon Buhl (Minot) DEC Connor MacGregor (Moor) 11-7
149: Tyler Steinwand (Moor) MD Jon Wilson (Minot) 15-5
157: Tallen Wald (Moor) MD Marcus Wilson (Minot) 11-1
165: Tyler Kivel (Moor) MD Carson, Coby (Minot) 14-2
174: Trent Sovde (Moor) DEC Cristian Molina (Minot) 7-2
184: Kody Kalkbrenner (Moor) DEC Luke Michaelson (Minot) 9-5
197: Brian Woelfel (Moor) DEC Wade Weppler (Minot) 5-0
285: Jon Swart (Moor) FALL Sean Small (Minot) 2:46

Minnesota State Set to Close Out Home Portion of Schedule

What’s Next: The No. 8 Minnesota State Mavericks (8-4, 4-1 NSIC) are set to close out the home portion of the 2010-11 season this Thursday as they play host to Southwest Minnesota State. Action is slated to begin at 7:00 pm at Bresnan Arena.

Scouting the Mustangs: Southwest Minnesota State enters Thursday’s dual with a 5-3-1 overall record and a 1-3 NSIC record. The Mustangs are 3-0 away from home this season and are currently on a one-dual win streak. The Mustangs lone NSIC win came last week as they upset No. 20 Minnesota State Moorhead, 18-16. Senior Craig Draper-Johnson (184-lbs) currently leads the Mustangs with a 22-11 overall record. The only other Mustang accumulating 20 or more wins is freshman Justin Reinsma who owns a 21-10 overall record. The Mustangs are coached by Jesse Nelson and are assisted by Jake Avre.
Inside the Series: Thursday’s dual marks the 30th meeting between the two schools as the Mavericks hold a 21-8 all-time record against the Mustangs.
Ranked Mavericks: The Mavericks currently have three individual wrestlers who are ranked in their respective weight classes. Senior Andy Forstner holds the highest ranking as he is the fourth-ranked wrestler in the 125-lb class. Also ranked for the Mavericks are junior Aaron Norgren (184-lbs) and senior Ben Becker (174-lbs) who each rank sixth in their respective weight class. Rounding out the ranked individual wrestlers is junior Pat Mahan who debuted in the rankings for the first time last week as the seventh-ranked wrestler in the 197-lb class.

Team and Individual Notes: The Mavericks went 0-1 this past week as they lost 22-12 against No. 1 Nebraska-Omaha…The Mavericks won two of the first three matches of the night but were only able to earn one victory in the night’s final seven matches as they dropped their second consecutive contest…The Mavericks last two losses came to the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in the nation as they lost a 21-10 dual against No. 2 Augustana last week…Junior Aaron Norgren (No. 6, 184-lbs) earned a 3-1 win by decision over No. 3 Aaron Denson as he improves his record in dual matches to 11-1…Sixth-ranked senior Ben Becker lost a 10-4 decision against No. 3 Ryan Pankoke as he lost his five-match win streak…Newly ranked junior Pat Mahan (No. 7, 197-lbs) lost 2-1 in sudden victory against No. 4 Matt Baker.

About the Coach: 
Head coach Jim Makovsky (Valley City State ’89) is in his 18th season at MSU. Makovsky, who holds a 219-78-3 overall record at MSU, has coached collegiate wrestling for 21 years and possesses a 242-97-5 career record.

Next Up: The Mavericks will close out the regular season next week as they travel to St. Cloud State to take on the No. 3 ranked Huskies. The dual is scheduled to start at 7:00 pm on Thursday, February 17.

Dragons Wrestling Endowment Dual

MSUM Dragons vs. Northern State Wolves
Thursday, February 10th at 7:00 pm

To help ensure the long-term future of the MSUM Wrestling program, money raised at this dual will raise money for the John Sterner Wrestling Endowment Fund.

  • $7 ticket – The entire cost of admission goes directly to the John Sterner Endowment Fund which helps MSU-Moorhead wrestling scholarships.
  • John Sterner was inducted into the Minnesota Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame this past April.
  • Coach Sterner headed the Dragons wrestling program from 1988 until 2003.
  • During his 15 year tenure, Sterner coached the Dragons to a 137-92-1 record.

The Dragons OT will be held at the Moorhead Buffalo Wild Wings location at 2201 1st Ave. N. following the dual with Northern State. Come meet the Dragon wrestlers and coaching staff!

Please contact Head Coach Kris Nelson at 218.477.2309 for more information.