March 16, 2012
Dylan Ness (149) and Tony Nelson (Hwt.) each advanced to the NCAA Championship match in their respective weight class. The duo are the first Gophers to wrestle in an NCAA Championship title match since 2010, when assistant coach Jayson Ness defeated Iowa's Daniel Dennis in one of the most electrifying NCAA title matches in college wrestling history.
The Golden Gophers sit in second place with 101.5 points, behind defending champion Penn State who has 124. Iowa sits in third with 93, while Cornell is in fourth with 86 and Ohio State rounds out the top five with 60 points.
Ness will take on undefeated Frank Molinaro of Penn State, who he has lost to three times this season. The most recent came at the Big Ten championship by a count of 15-0. Following Ness's 8-5 dec. over Tyler Nauman of Pittsburgh, he made a very clear point that those losses don't matter anymore and that you only to have win one time.
"It's going to be a great match," Ness said. "I've lost to him three times this year, but tomorrow night on that stage for that seven minutes, those losses don't matter anymore. It comes down to one match."
Nelson capped off the evening with a 4-3 dec. over Oregon State's Clayton Jack, who drops to 40-2 on the season. Nelson scored a takedown with 12 seconds remaining to seal the deal for the sophomore heavyweight. It was Nelson's 24th straight win this season and he will go onto to face defending heavyweight champion Zach Rey of Lehigh.
Finishing seventh a year ago as a redshirt sophomore, the now two-time All-American has relished this season and knows only good things are in his future.
"It's a long season," Nelson said. "College wrestling is a hard fought battle every time you go out there. It feels great to be where I am."
Nelson went onto say he is excited about getting another chance to wrestle this season and the fact that it will be on the grand stage.
"I am excited about going out there and getting a chance to knock of the defending national champion," Nelson said. "I am just going to be active, move and try to wear him out."
In the consolation rounds Zach Sanders, Chris Dardanes, Logan Storley, Kevin Steinhaus and Sonny Yohn all advanced to tomorrow morning's wrestleback matches. With one win they will then move onto the third place match. If they lose their opening match they will then wrestle for fifth place.
Tomorrow mornings consolation (3rd, 5th and 7th place) matches will begin at 10 a.m. and will be broadcasted on ESPNU and ESPN3. The championship matches will be live on ESPN starting at 6:30 p.m.
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