Nelson Wins Back-to-Back National Titles
March 23, 2013
Tony Nelson Press Conference
Tony Nelson is a two-time national champion. Capping off a great showing by the Gophers at the 2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships, Nelson defeated Northwestern's Mike McMullan on the platform by a score of 6-2 to win his second title in as many years. With a team total of 103 points, Minnesota finishes third in the team race. Penn State won its third straight title with 123.5 points.
Nelson becomes the fifth Gopher wrestler to win back-to-back titles and is only the second from the heavyweight class. The last person to do so was Cole Konrad in 2006 and 2007.
Nelson scored the early single-leg takedown in the first period and soared with momentum from there. Forcing McMullan into a position where he needed to score. Starting on bottom in the third, McMullan escaped to make it a one-point match at 3-2. McMullan nearly tied it up with a low ankle grab but Nelson defended nicely and followed with another takedown to put the match asleep. An addition point for riding time gave Nelson the 6-2 victory to capture the crown.
At the post-match press conference, Nelson credited his workout partner, Ben Berhow, and the past year of practice and competition at bigger national and international events, as reasons for his success.
"Any extra wrestling you do, you're going to get better. Freestley has helped me on my feet a lot. Working with them a lot, I've just gotten better. As long as I'm continuing to work, I'm going to keep improving"
When asked how he feels to be in a class of Gopher greats with the chance of becoming Minnesota's first three-time national champion, Nelson beams admiration for those that came before him.
"Last year, even before, one of my goals was to be the first three-time for Minnesota. Cole Konrad, Brock Lesnar. Brock won it once; Cole won it twice. I'm right up there with him and he's a guy I always looked up to. To be there with him is a big accomplishment."
Nelson finishes the 2012-13 season with a 33-1 overall record, a Big Ten Championship, and his second national title.