Gophers Second After Day 1
March 20, 2014
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- The 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships were nothing short of exciting as the first day of competition concluded at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. The University of Minnesota wrestling team and Oklahoma State University sit in a tie for second place with 21.5 points, just five points behind reigning national champions, Penn State.
All nine Gophers who qualified for the national tournament will advance to the second day of competition while six Gophers continue their quest in hopes of bringing home a national title for the Maroon and Gold. Three Gophers will fight their way through wrestlebacks with the opportunity to place as high as third place and gain All-American honors.
The second session kicked off with pigtail consolation rounds followed by a full round of the Championship bracket.
No. 8 seed David Thorn started the Gophers off on the right foot this evening with a 2-0 decision over Big Ten rival and No. 9 seed Johnni DiJulius of Ohio State. This was not the first time Thorn and DiJulius have battled it out as this was their third meeting this season. The first was at the National Duals in Columbus, Ohio as Thorn edged DiJulius, 8-5, to help the Gophers advance to the final dual and eventually earn their third consecutive National Duals title. The two then met again in the first round of the Big Ten Championships on March 8 where Thorn once again handed DiJulius ticket to the consolation rounds with a 5-3 decision.
No. 6 seeded Chris Dardanes fell for the first time in the second session as he fought a down-to-the-wire battle with Joey Lazor of Northern Iowa. The two would head into the final second of the third period locked at eight when Lazor scrambled for the at-the-buzzer takedown and ultimately the 10-8 win over Dardanes. Dardanes will compete in tomorrow's consolation round in hopes of picking up a few more wins en route to his third set of All-America honors.
Nick Dardanes, the No. 2 seed at 149, who was upset by Citadel's Matthew Frisch in the first round avenged his loss in his first consolation round match and was able to defeat Cody Ruggirello of Hofstra by decision, 10-6, to keep his NCAA Championship hopes alive.
No. 9 seeded 157 pounder Dylan Ness met a familiar opponent in the second round on the day but the outcome was a bit different than their first matchup at the Southern Scuffle earlier this year. In January, Pena was able to tally a technical fall over Ness but firecracker and master showman Ness had another ending in mind. Ness picked up his 11th pin of the year and second on the day to defeat Pena by fall at 5:45 and take another step closer to the championship trophy.
Redshirt senior Danny Zilverberg would fall to Oklahoma State's Tyler Caldwell by a 9-2 decision. Zilverberg will join the Dardanes brothers in tomorrow's consolation round competition. Logan Storley and Stephen Doty of Virginia were neck-and-neck all the way through three periods but riding time put Storley on top and advanced him to the next round with a 5-4 decision. Kevin Steinhaus was also able to defeat his Ohio State opponent with a 13-8 victory.
Scott Schiller and Timothy McCall reignited the border rivalry as the went head-to-head in the second round. McCall was the wrestler to end Schillers undefeated season when the pair met in a dual bout in the Sports Pavilion on January 12. Schiller was able to repay the favor and knock McCall out of national title contention with a 4-1 victory.
No. 1 seed heavyweight and reigning back-to-back national champion, Tony Nelson, ended the evening for the Gophers with a dominating victory by fall over Amarveer Dhesi of Oregon State at 4:23.
With the successful evening overall for the Golden Gophers, their hopes of winning a team championship are still very much alive as they sit just five points out of first place. Competition resumes in Oklahoma City on Friday morning at 10 a.m. CT.
2014 NCAA Division I Championships Results for Minnesota