Nelson Wins NCAA Championship, Gophers Finish Second Overall

Go Gophers! Tony Nelson won the 2012 NCAA Heavyweight National Championship.
Go Gophers!
Tony Nelson won the 2012 NCAA Heavyweight National Championship.
Go Gophers!

March 17, 2012

Tony Nelson capped off the 2012 NCAA Wrestling National Championship with a heavyweight title. It is the first national title for a Minnesota heavyweight since Cole Konrad (2007) and it’s the Gophers first national champion since Jayson Ness won a title in 2010.

Head Coach J Robinson was also named the 2012 National Coach of the Year.

The Golden Gopher wrestling team finished second overall after recording 117.5 points for their best finish since winning the team title in 2007. Penn State was crowned team champions for the second consecutive year, after finishing with 143.0 points.

Nelson was down 1-0 going into the third period and had 1:10 of riding time. The sophomore scored an escape to even the score at 1-1 with 1:36 reaming in the period. Nelson would score a takedown with seven seconds remaining to go up 3-1. He would ride him out to end the match and earn an additional point for riding time and the championship, with a 4-1 win.

Nelson’s thoughts on finishing seventh a year ago and champion this season were all smiles.

“You know, you work hard all summer,” Nelson said. “The offseason's huge for getting better and coming finishing seventh place last year,  I wanted a national championship this year. I put the time in and I just have to thank God for everything he has done for me. He brought me here and now I am an NCAA champion.”

Redshirt freshman Dylan Ness finished runner-up to Penn State’s Frank Molianro. Early in the first period Molinaro took a shot at Ness, but the Bloomington native countered it and nearly turned him on his back, before the both of them went out of the circle. Molinaro would score on a double leg takedown near the end of the first to go up 2-0.

In the second period, Ness chose to defer until the third. Molinaro would score an escape early and Ness would block a few shots, to end the period down 3-0.

Ness would score an escape late in the third period after Molinaro recorded 1:50 of riding time and end the match at 4-1.

Note: The NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship all-time total attendance record with 112,393 for the week... Tony Nelson is now the 21st National Champion for the Gophers and is the first sophomore heavyweight to win a national title. 

Championship Results

125: Matt McDonough (Iowa) 4-1 dec. over Nico Megaludis (Penn State)
-McDonough second title

133: Logan Steiber (Ohio State) 4-3 dec. over Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State)
-Steiber is Ohio State’s 15TH NCAA Champion

141: Kellen Russell (Michigan) 6-4 SV over Montel Marion (Iowa)
-Second straight title for Russell

149: Frank Molinaro (Penn State) 4-1 dec. over Dylan Ness (Minnesota)
-

157: Kyle Dake (Cornell) 4-1 dec. over Derek St. John (Iowa)
-Dake is first three-time National Champion at three different weight classes (141, 149 and 157)

165: David Taylor (Penn State) 22-7 TF over Brandon Hatchett (Lehigh)
-32-0 this season and was awarded Gorriaran Award (Most Falls)

174: Ed Ruth (Penn State) 13-2 maj. over Nick Amuchastegui (Stanford)

184: Steve Bosak (Cornell) 4-2 OT over Quentin Wright (Penn State)

197: Cam Simaz (Cornell) 7-5 dec. over Chris Honeycutt (Edinboro)

Hwt: Tony Nelson (Minnesota) 4-1 dec. over Zach Rey (Lehigh)
- First heavyweight to win a title at Minnesota since Cole Konrad (2007)…currently on a 25 match winning streak.