March 17, 2012
The Minnesota wrestling team will close out the 2012 season with a NCAA high of seven All-Americans. Minnesota currently sits in second place and is out of contention of winning of the team title, after Penn State clinched their second consecutive title this morning. The Gophers have 113.5 points and are ahead of Iowa by exactly 10 points.
In this morning's medal round, senior Zach Sanders closed out his career wearing the Maroon and Gold with an overtime single leg takedown, to win 6-4 over Cornell's Frank Perrelli. Sanders finishes third overall at the championships and is just the sixth four-time All-American in Golden Gopher history. He wraps up his career ranked sixth on the all-time wins list with 134 victories.
"It was a lot of fun," Sanders said. "I am going to miss competing with the guys. Everyone on this team and the coaches are all like one big family. It has been a good ride."
One other senior finishing up today was Sonny Yohn. The Alamosa, Colo., native picked up a 4-1 win over Wyoming's Alfonso Hernandez in the fifth place match. Yohn left it all out on the mat and wrestled very physical. The senior finishes his career with 111 wins in the Maroon and Gold, which puts him a tie for 25 on the all-time list.
Kevin Steinhaus placed fifth overall after defeating Ben Bennett of Central Michigan in his final consolation match. Steinhaus fell to Bennett earlier this season (2-1), but was the more dominate wreslter today with his 3-1 decision. The redshirt freshman is now a two-time All-American, after finishing seventh a year ago.
Redshirt freshman Chris Dardanes finished fourth at his first championships. Dardanes fell to Iowa's Tony Ramos in the third place match, but had a come from behind win against Illinois Futrell, earlier in the morning. Down 7-1 at one point, Dardanes battled back to tie it up at 8-8. He would give up the escape to Futrell and quickly took him down in the inner circle and scored a pin with 31 seconds left. It was Dardanes first win over Futrell this season and it brought the entire Scottrade Center to their feet.
True Freshman Logan Storley wrapped his first championships with a sixth place finish. The Roslyn, S.D., native finishes his first year as a Golden Gopher with a record of 26-9. Being only a freshman he has gained some valuable experience that will be in his favor for three more years.
Tonight at 6:30 p.m. ESPN will carry the championships matches. Dylan Ness (149) will square of against undefeated (32-0) Frank Molinaro of Penn State. Heavyweight Tony Nelson will wrestle defending champion Zach Rey of Lehigh (26-2) for the title. Ness is 24-8 this season, while Nelson is 31-2 and has won 24 straight matches.
Note: The Big Ten Conference led the country with 34 All-Americans....Cole Schrupp who puts together all of the Minnesota highlight videos during the course of this season, was awarded the New Media Specialist Award by the National Wrestling Media Association this afternoon.
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