With a great two and a half days of wresting, the University of Minnesota Wresting team is in the drivers seat to win its first Team National Championship since 2007 tonight in Oklahoma City. The Gophers have two wrestlers who will be in the National Finals tonight trying to win individual championships in junior Dylan Ness at 157 and Senior Tony Nelson at heavyweight.
The Gophers were in second place behind Penn State after the semi-final round Friday Night. In the consolation rounds Saturday morning the Gophers gained five All-American Wrestlers. David Thorn beat Mason Beckman of Lehigh to finish in 5th place at 133 pounds, Danny Zilverberg defeated Pierce Harger from Northwestern to finish in 7th place at 165 pounds, Logan Storley finished in 3rd place at 174 pounds with a win over Robert Kokesh of Nebraska, Kevin Steinhaus finished in 5th place with a win over Lorenzo Thomas of Penn at 184 pounds, and Scott Schiller finished in 3rd place in 197 pounds with a win over Kvyon Gadson of Iowa State.
After the consolation rounds, the Gophers are in first place in the team meet with 104 points, 2.5 ahead of Penn State and 17 ahead of third place Oklahoma State, who with four finalists is mathematically still in the hunt. Both the Gophers and Nittany Lions will have two wrestlers in Championship Matches this evening. The Championship round will start with the 174 pound weight class to show off some of the higher profile matches for the ESPN Broadcast.
The first match the Gopher fans will be truly interested in watching will be the second match of the night, the 184 pound match. This match will be between #1 seed Jimmy Sheplock of Maryland who comes in undefeated at 36-0 and #2 seed Edward Ruth of Penn State who is 37-1 on the season.
The Gopher's first match will be the fourth of the night, the Heavyweight match between #1 Seed Tony Nelson of Minnesota and #2 Nick Gwiazdowski of North Carolina State. Nelson is looking to be the first Gopher wrestler in history to win three NCAA Championships. Nelson defeated his rival Bobby Telford of Iowa in the semi-finals 4-3.
The last two matches of the evening should determine who wins the Team National Championship. The second to last match up will be the 157 pound match up between #9 seed Dylan Ness of Minnesota and #3 seed Alex Dieringer of Oklahoma State. Dieringer will have the hometown advantage, but Ness' run through the tournament has been impressive with three pins in four bouts and upsets of the #1 and #4 seeds on Friday..
Finally the 165 pound match will be between #1 seed David Taylor of Penn State and #2 Seed Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma State. Taylor is a four time NCAA Finalist with a career record of 133-3.
The Gophers will need two more strong matches from Ness and Nelson, and will most likely need at least one wrestler to win this evening, if not both to win the school's fourth NCAA Championship for J Robinson. Its definately possible, and as Gopher wresting fans know, Robinson will have both wrestlers physically and mentally ready for the task. The NCAA Championship finals start at 7:00 PM and will be broadcast on ESPN. With the Hockey team out of the Big Ten Championship game tonight, check out the wresting and root on the Gophers to an NCAA Championship!