Gophers wrestler Chris Dardanes talks

Minnesota wrestler Chris Dardanes is 23-0 and heads into this week’s NCAA wrestling tournament as the top seed at 133 pounds. He and his identical twin brother, Nick, the sixth seed at 141 pounds with a 22-3 record, each will attempt to win their first national championships. Chris Dardanes is one of eight undefeated wrestlers in the tournament, which begins Thursday in St. Louis, and talked to the Pioneer Press about his quest for a perfect season. His first-round match is Thursday against unseeded Connor Schram (22-3) of Stanford. Continue reading at

Gophers Eye Continued Success at NCAA Championships

Minnesota looks to build on three consecutive top-three finishes by capturing the program’s fourth national title

About 120 days after opening its 2014-15 season, Minnesota heads to the Gateway City for the NCAA Championships this Thursday, Friday and Saturday (March 19-21). Among a field of 330 student-athletes, eight Gophers look to extend a collection of streaks tied to individual and team success at Minnesota and add the program’s fourth national title to its trophy case in Dinkytown.

The Gophers have turned in top-three finishes at three consecutive NCAA tournaments, the second-longest streak in program history. Those results have been buoyed by All-American performances from Gopher wrestlers. Minnesota brings a streak of producing multiple All-Americans in 22 straight NCAA Championships to St. Louis, a run that currently includes five straight season of five or more. During this current, three-year run, Minnesota wrestlers have won 22 All-America medals, 11 of which belong to five seniors on this year’s team. Continue reading

Record Six Bison Wrestlers Set for NCAA Championships on March 19-21 in St. Louis

A school Division I record six North Dakota State University wrestlers — 125 Josh Rodriguez, 141 Mitch Bengtson, 149 Clay Ream, 174 Kurtis Julson, 184 Hayden Zillmer and 285 Evan Knutson — will compete at the 2015 NCAA Championships scheduled for Thursday, March 19 through Saturday, March 21, at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo. … Three NDSU wrestlers earned seeds in the three-day tournament — 184 Zillmer is No. 6, 125 Rodriguez is No. 14 and 285 Knutson is No. 16 … North Dakota State placed 21st overall in the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championship team standings with 20.5 points led by Steven Monk’s third place finish in the 165-pound weight class … Monk’s third place finish was the highest in NDSU and Western Wrestling Conference history.

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Minnesota Highlights: An Unfinished Journey

In this week’s highlights, retrace the steps of the 2014-15 season as the team prepares for this week’s NCAA Championships.

Looming just two days away, the 2015 NCAA Championships mark the end of a long journey for the 2014-15 Gopher Wrestling team, one that began more than five months ago with preseason workouts. The three days the team will spend competing in St. Louis represent the end of a quest that has been filled with challenges and triumphs.

In this week’s highlights, retrace the steps that have led the team to this point, including the grueling workouts away from the public eye, the final moments shared by teammates before taking the mat, the emphatic takedowns that sealed matches and all the emotions that come with competing at the highest levels. Continue reading

Huskies Wrestling National Championship Celebration on Tuesday

St. Cloud, Minn. — St. Cloud State Athletics will honor the 2015 NCAA Division II National Champion Huskies wrestling team with a celebration event on Tuesday, March 17 at 2 p.m. in the Atwood Center Main Lounge. The public is invited.

Head coach Steve Costanzo, his staff and student-athletes, including the Huskies All-Americans, will be on hand for a short program and highlight video. Continue reading

Begin finishes fourth at the NCAA championships

ST. LOUIS — Southwest Minnesota State wrestler Jacob Begin earned All-American honors last Friday before finishing in fourth place at the 2015 NCAA Division II wrestling championships Saturday at Chaifetz Arena. Begin is the first to receive All-American honors since Justin Reinsma in 2013 and the highest finish since Link Steffen in 1998.

At 174 pounds, senior Jacob Begin entered the championships with a 27-5 record and took on Luke Cramer from Ashland but suffered an opening-round loss by a close 6-5 decision. Begin began his wrestle-back rounds with a bye by forfeit in the first round and followed it with a second round 6-0 decision over Joe Pittman from Newbury to earn his first All-American honor. Continue reading