Gophers to Honor 2001 National Championship Team This Friday

MINNEAPOLIS — In 2001, the University of Minnesota wrestling team broke new ground for the program, capturing the first national championship in school history. Minnesota will honor the 2001 National Championship team as it celebrates the tenth anniversary of its monumental win this Friday during the Gophers dual against Indiana.

The 2001 NCAA Wrestling Championships will long be remembered as a national tournament with impressive firsts and as a stunning breakthrough for the Gophers. The venue, Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa, was labeled as the “lion’s den” and served as an ideal location for the eventual storybook result. That result, an improbable one, vaulted Minnesota into the national spotlight, long reserved for the Iowas and Oklahoma States of the world. And the way in which the Gophers captured the 2001 NCAA crown can be appropriately classified as groundbreaking and extraordinary.

Unorthodox? Yes, the road to the national title for Minnesota was not typical of the path taken in years past by NCAA champion teams. Remarkable? You bet. Fans and followers of collegiate wrestling will look back at the 2001 NCAA Championships as a national tournament with unprecedented qualities. Record breaking? In more ways than one. The Golden Gophers broke several school and national records along the way to the national crown. A full team effort? Without a doubt. The national title was won for the Maroon and Gold grapplers, not on the backs of two or three dominant individuals, but through the hard work, will and determination of all 10 members of the squad.

Minnesota won the national crown by utilizing a full team effort to earn an NCAA-record 10 All-Americans. It was the first time in NCAA championships history that 10 wrestlers from the same team had earned the prestigious All-American honor in one NCAA tournament. In addition, no team in the history of the national tournament had won the team title without a finalist, but Gold Country captures the national crown despite not placing a single wrestler in the championship matches.

“We knew that the only way that we could win the title was to have a team effort. We knew that we couldn’t win with a lot of ones and twos, but we thought we could win with 10 All-Americans. And that’s what we did,” Minnesota head coach J Robinson, now in his 25th year with the team, said. “Everybody earned this championship. Everybody. That was the key.”

Minnesota Golden Gopher 2001All-Americans:
125: Leroy Vega (Portage, Ind.) – Second at Big Tens, Third at NCAAs
133: Brett Lawrence (Sandpoint, Idaho) – Fifth at Big Tens, Eighth at NCAAs
141: Chad Erickson (Apple Valley, Minn.) – Second at Big Tens, Eighth at NCAAs
149: Jared Lawrence (Sandpoint, Idaho) – First at Big Tens, Sixth at NCAAs
157: Luke Becker (Cambridge, Minn.) – Second at Big Tens, Fourth at NCAAs
165: Brad Pike (Brownsdale, Minn.) – Third at Big Tens, Fourth at NCAAs
174: Jacob Volkmann (Henning, Minn.) – Fourth at Big Tens, Fourth at NCAAs
184: Damion Hahn (Lakewood, N.J.) – Third at Big Tens, Fifth at NCAAs
197: Owen Elzen (Eyota, Minn.) – Third at Big Tens, Third at NCAAs
285: Garrett Lowney (Freedom, Wisc.) – First at Big Tens, Third at NCAAs

Concordia College will be competing against Calumet College prior to the Gopher’s match against Indiana at the Sports Pavilion. Calumet College is coached by former Gopher standout Leroy Vega.

The Concordia vs Calumet dual is at 5 pm. The Minnesota vs Indiana dual is at 7 pm.

Minnesota Finishes Fourth at National Duals

CEDAR FALLS, IOWA – The No. 5 Minnesota wrestling team finished fourth this weekend at the 2011 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals in Cedar Falls, Iowa. After opening the weekend with a pair of wins over Northern Illinois and No. 6 Boise State, Minnesota fell twice on Sunday to No. 1 Cornell and finally to No. 4 Wisconsin 19-17 in the third-place dual.

In a dual that featured 11 nationally ranked wrestlers, neither side could mount a formidable upset. No. 6 Zach Sanders opened the dual against Wisconsin with a 12-4 major decision over unranked Thomas Kelliher at 125 lbs. But the Badgers answered right back with a 7-3 decision in the 133 lbs. match over David Thorn before Thorn’s brother, Mike, scored the only fall of the match at 141 lbs. Thorn, the No. 2 141 pounder in the nation, pinned Daniel Arnel at 4:31, but the Gophers would then drop the next three matches to their Big Ten border rival.

No. 10 Coulthurst Schmitt picked up a 7-0 decision in the 149 lbs. match over Danny Zilverberg followed by Shawn Perry scoring an 11-2 major decision over Alec Ortiz at 157 lbs and No. 2 Andrew Howe scoring an 8-3 decision over No. 7 Cody Yohn in the 165 lbs. bout.

The Gophers (8-3 overall) would jump back into the dual following a 15-5 major by No. 8 Scott Glasser over Charles York in the 174 lbs. match but Wisconsin would take the next two bouts as both Kevin Steinhaus and Joe Nord lost via decisions to bring the score to 14-19 in favor of the Badgers. No. 9 Tony Nelson was able to win his match but a 2-1 decision in his favor was not enough as the Gophers finished the 2011 National Duals in fourth place behind Cornell, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin.

No. 5 Minnesota vs. No. 4 Wisconsin
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Cedar Falls, Iowa (National Duals Third Place Dual)

Wisconsin 19 Minnesota 17
125: No. 6 Zach Sanders (MINN) maj. Thomas Kelliher (WISC) 12-4
133: No. 3 Tyler Graff (WISC) dec. David Thorn (MINN) 7-3
141: No. 2 Mike Thorn (MINN) fall Daniel Arnel (WISC) 4:31
149: No. 10 Coulthurst Schmitt (WISC) dec. Danny Zilverberg (MINN) 7-0
157: Shawn Perry (WISC) maj. Alec Ortiz (MINN) 11-2
165: No. 2 Andrew Howe (WISC) dec. No. 7 Cody Yohn (MINN) 8-3
174: No. 8 Scott Glasser (MINN) maj. Charles York (WISC) 15-5
184: No. 5 Travis Rutt (WISC) dec. No. 7 Kevin Steinhaus (MINN) 3-2
197: Derrick Borlie (WISC) dec. Joe Nord (MINN) 8-2
285: No. 9 Tony Nelson (MINN) dec. No. 18 Eric Bugenhagen (WISC) 2-1

Gophers Fall in Semis to No. 1 Cornell

CEDAR FALLS, IOWA — Minnesota’s road to the 2011 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals title came to an end on Sunday morning when the No. 5 Gophers fell to top-ranked Cornell 20-16 at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Minnesota closes out the event with another battle of elite teams against No. 4 Wisconsin on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m.

The Gophers (8-2 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) started off against the nation’s top team with three wins from Zach Sanders and the Thorn brothers, David and Mike. Sanders, ranked sixth at 125 lbs., scored a 4-3 decision over No. 14 Frank Perrelli before David Thorn added an 8-6 decision over Cornell’s Joe Stanzione at 133 lbs.

Mike Thorn then came on with Minnesota’s largest win of the day, scoring a 9-1 major decision over unranked Mike Nevinger and giving the Gophers a 10-0 lead. Thorn’s win netted Minnesota’s only bonus points of the dual, but it would prove to be inadequate as Cornell rattled off five-straight wins to take a 20-10 lead into the upper weight classes. Danny Zilverberg dropped a 10-0 major decision to No. 2 Kyle Dake at 149 lbs. before Joe Grygelko had to take a medical default against No. 3 D.J. Meaghere in the 157 lbs. matchup. Grygelko briefly lost consciousness while Meghere was attempting a pin and was pulled from the contest. Cornell followed up with wins at 165, 174 and 184 before Minnesota managed to take the final two matches.

At 197 lbs., Joe Nord took down Maciej Jochym via 11-6 decision for his second dual win of the weekend before No. 9 Tony Nelson scored an 11-4 decision over unranked Stryke Lane at 285 lbs.

Continue checking Gophersports.com for coverage of the 2011 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals.

No. 5 Minnesota vs. No. 1 Cornell
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Cedar Falls, Iowa (National Duals Semifinals)

Cornell 20 Minnesota 16
125: No. 6 Zach Sanders (MINN) dec. No. 14 Frank Perrelli (CU) 4-3
133: David Thorn (MINN) dec. Joe Stanzione (CU) 8-6
141: No. 2 Mike Thorn (MINN) maj. Mike Nevinger (CU) 9-1
149: No. 2 Kyle Dake (CU) maj. Danny Zilverberg (MINN) 10-0
157: No. 3 D.J. Meaghere (CU) med. def. Joe Grygelko (MINN)
165: No. 3 Justin Kerber (CU) dec. No. 7 Cody Yohn (MINN) 9-5
174: No. 2 Mack Lewnes (CU) maj. No. 8 Scott Glasser (MINN) 12-4
184: No. 4 Steve Bosak (CU) dec. No. 7 Kevin Steinhaus (MINN) 4-0
197: Joe Nord (MINN) dec. Maciej Jochym (CU) 11-6
285: No. 9 Tony Nelson (MINN) dec. Stryker Lane (CU) 11-4

Gophers Advance Over No. 6 Boise State

CEDAR FALLS, IOWA — A battle between two top-ten teams ended in dramatic fashion on Saturday afternoon as the No. 5 Minnesota wrestling team edged No. 6 Boise State 18-17 in the quarterfinals of the 2011 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Minnesota, which picked up a 26-9 win over Northern Illinois in its opening round dual, will now face off against top-ranked Cornell on Sunday morning at 11 a.m. in the UNI Dome.

“The win today was a big one for us. The great thing about it was everybody wrestled – it was a great team win,” Minnesota assistant coach Luke Becker said. “Everybody went out and wrestled and fought for every point. It was a great, overall team effort.”

In his biggest match yet, redshirt heavyweight Tony Nelson swung the match in Minnesota’s favor one final time after the two elite programs exchanged the lead seven times in the ten-match dual. Nelson scored a first-period takedown and followed up with two escapes in the second to pick up a 4-2 decision that gave the Gophers the final 18-17 win.

No. 6 Zach Sanders opened the dual with an 11-5 decision over No. 17 Allen Bartelli in the 125 lbs. match, but the Broncos quickly erased the Minnesota lead when Andrew Hochstrasser picked up a decision in the 133 lbs. match over David Thorn. Thorn’s defense against Hochstrasser, the second-ranked 133 pounder in the nation, kept the match close and paid dividends to the Gophers squad later in the dual.

Minnesota (8-1 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) put some distant between its opponent in the 141 lbs. match when No. 2 Mike Thorn quickly pinned No. 11 Levi Jones at the 49 second mark, but the Broncos proved to be difficult in the middleweights when Jason Chamberlain and Adam Hall, ranked as the No. 3 149 lbs. grappler and the No. 2 157 pounder, respectively, each majored their Gophers counterpart to take over an 11-9 lead.

The tide shifted once again in the Gophers favor when Cody Yohn and Scott Glasser both picked up decisions in their favor, but Boise State caught a piece of luck when top-ranked 184 pounder Kirk Smith edged No. 7 Kevin Steinhaus with a 3-1 decision in overtime and Matt Casperson picked up a 6-0 decision at 197 over Joe Nord setting up a two-point deficit for Minnesota heading into Nelson’s heavyweight match against T.J. Felix.

2011 NWCA/Cliff Keen Results

Minnesota 18, Boise State 17
125: No. 6 Zach Sanders (MINN) dec. No. 17 Allen Bartelli (BSU) 11-5
133: No. 2 Andrew Hochstrasser (BSU) dec. David Thorn (MINN) 8-1
141: No. 2 Mike Thorn (MINN) fall No. 11 Levi Jones (BSU) 0:49
149: No. 3 Jason Chamberlain (BSU) maj. Danny Zilverberg (MINN) 16-5
157: No.2 Adam Hall (BSU) maj. Alec Ortiz (MINN) 27-15
165: No. 7 Cody Yohn (MINN) dec. Kurt Swartz (BSU) 6-0
174: No. 8 Scott Glasser (MINN) dec. No. 13 Jake Swartz (BSU) 3-2
184: No. 1 Kirk Smith dec. No. 7 Kevin Steinhaus (MINN) 3-1 in OT
197: Matt Casperson (BSU) dec. Joe Nord (MINN) 6-0
285: No. 9 Tony Nelson (MINN) dec. T.J. Felix 4-2

Gophers Open National Duals with 26-9 Win

The No. 5 Minnesota wrestling team opened the 2011 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals with a 26-9 win over Northern Illinois on Saturday morning, paving the way for a top-ten matchup against No. 6 Boise State at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

All-American Zach Sanders improved his season record to 15-2 on Saturday morning with a 16-8 major decision over NIU’s Nick Smith in the opening match for the Gophers, who improved their record against the Huskies to 9-0 all-time. Sanders jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the first period when he tacked on four of his seven takedowns in the match. The 125 pounder scored bonus points from 1:42 of riding time to open the event with a 4-0 lead for the Gophers.

Redshirt freshman David Thorn followed up with a win in his collegiate dual debut against Israel Montemayor. Thorn edged his Huskies foe 10-7 before his brother, Mike Thorn, added an 8-1 decision over Tristen DeShazer to build a 10-0 lead for Minnesota. NIU would go on to pick up a pair of wins in its next two matches to climb back into the contest. Vince Castillo scored a 3-0 decision over Pat Smith at 149 lbs. and No. 17 Bryan Deutsch pinned Joe Grygelko in the 157 lbs. match to cut Minnesota’s lead to 10-9.

But that would be all the Huskies would get the rest of the morning. No. 7 Cody Yohn topped Matt Mougin with a 9-2 decision at 165 lbs. before Scott Glasser, the No. 8 174 pounder in the nation, scored a 10-2 major decision over Zach Benzio to make it 17-9 Gophers. Minnesota went on to sweep the remaining three matches via decisions in favor of No. 7 Kevin Steinhaus at 184 lbs., Joe Nord at 197 lbs., and No. 9 Tony Nelson at heavyweight.

Minnesota returns to action Saturday afternoon against the Broncos of Boise State. Minnesota is 6-0 all-time against Boise State with the last meeting coming in 2001. Continue checking Gophersports.com for results from the 2011 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals.

2011 NWCA/Cliff Keen Results

Minnesota 26 Northern Illinois 9
125: No. 6 Zach Sanders (MINN) maj. Nick Smith (NIU) 16-8
133: David Thorn (MINN) dec. Israel Montemayor (NIU) 10-7
141: No. 2 Mike Thorn (MINN) dec. Tristen DeShazer (NIU) 8-1
149: Vince Castillo (NIU) dec. Patrick Smith (MINN) 3-0
157: No. 17 Bryan Deutsch (NIU) fall Joe Grygelko (MINN) 1:42
165: No. 7 Cody Yohn (MINN) dec. Matt Mougin (NIU) 9-2
174: No. 8 Scott Glasser (MINN) maj. Zach Benzio (NIU) 10-2
184: No. 7 Kevin Steinhaus (MINN) dec. Brad Dieckhaus (NIU) 7-0
197: Joe Nord (MINN) dec. Mike Lukowski (NIU) 2-0
285: No. 9 Tony Nelson (MINN) dec. Dakota Greenhaw (NIU) 3-1

Gophers Set to Compete at National Duals

MINNEAPOLIS — The No. 5 Golden Gophers (6-1 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) will once again compete at the 2011 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals this weekend in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Sixteen Division I teams will compete at this weekend’s tournament including 13 nationally ranked teams. No. 5 Minnesota opens the National Duals as the fourth seed against Northern Illinois on Saturday at 9 a.m. CST. Other opening-round duals include Ohio State against top seeded Cornell, the No. 1 team in Division I wrestling; Northern Iowa against eighth seeded Missouri; fifth seed Boise State taking on Iowa State; three seed Wisconsin against South Dakota State; American against six seed Oregon State; the seven seed Virginia Tech against Central Michigan and finally Purdue against No. 2 seed Oklahoma State. A complete Division I bracket is attached.

Follow the Action
Can’t watch the Gophers live on the road? Gophers results will be posted throughout the week on Gophersports.com while results will also be updated as they become available on the Golden Gopher Wrestling Facebook and Twitter pages. You can also follow a live blog throughout the day courtesy of Gophersports.com. NWCAonline.com will also be broadcasting portions of the event.

Last Time Out
Minnesota closed out 2010 with a fifth-place finish at the Southern Scuffle in Greensboro, N.C. Six Gophers placed at the event to give Minnesota 126.5 points. Cornell and Penn State tied for the team title with 151.5 points each. Mike Thorn and Zach Sanders each posted runner-up finishes to pace Minnesota while Kevin Steinhaus and Tony Nelson both won the consolation brackets of their respective weight classes.

Next Up
A week after competing at the 2011 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals, the Gophers return home for just their second home dual of the season on Friday, January 16. Minnesota hosts Big Ten rival Indiana at 7:00 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis. Tickets information is available atmygophersports.com or by calling 1-800-UGOPHER.

Get Score Updates on Your Phone
Fans can get scoring updates from all of Golden Gopher athletics through the Twitter page @GopherScores. Just find and follow @GopherScores, then set up your phone or mobile device to receive the text updates. If you are not already on Twitter, you will need to create an account.

Follow the Gophers
Want exclusive, up-to-the-minute access to Golden Gopher Wrestling? Follow the team online at twitter.com/gopherwrestling andfacebook.com/gopherwrestling for news, results and other exclusive content.

Minnesota opens National Duals against Northern Illinois

MINNEAPOLIS — The 2011 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals brackets have been released with 16 of the nation’s top programs competing in Cedar Falls, Iowa this weekend including 13 nationally ranked teams.

No. 5 Minnesota opens the National Duals as the fourth seed against Northern Illinois on Saturday at 9 a.m. CST. Other opening-round duals include Ohio State against top seeded Cornell, the No. 1 team in Division I wrestling; Northern Iowa against eighth seeded Missouri; fifth seed Boise State taking on Iowa State; three seed Wisconsin against South Dakota State; American against six seed Oregon State; the seven seed Virginia Tech against Central Michigan and finally Purdue against No. 2 seed Oklahoma State.

The 2011 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals are presented by Hibiclens and the Marines at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The two-day event begins on Saturday with first and second round action while the final two rounds are held on Sunday.

Division I Brackets (pdf)