Ann Arbor, Mich. - The Gophers entered session two in third place in the team standings, but exited well into second after a very strong showing this evening (Mar. 6) at the Big Ten Championship meet.
Six Gophers entered in the semifinals, with four winning to advance to the finals. Jayson Ness (Bloomington, Minn.) at 133, Mike Thorn (St. Michael, Minn.) at 141, Scott Glasser (Bismarck, N.D.) at 174, and Sonny Yohn (Alamosa, Colo.) at 197 advance to Sunday's championship round.
In the team standings, Iowa remains in the lead with 137.0 points, distancing themselves from second place Minnesota with 104.5 points. Back in third is Ohio State with 86.0, just ahead of fourth place Wisconsin with 82.0. Penn State rounds out the top-five with 66.0, but not far back is Purdue with 65.0 in sixth.
Iowa leads the way with six wrestlers competing in the finals tomorrow, while Ohio State (3) and Minnesota are the only others with more than two still unbeaten.
The match of the day goes to Yohn, who knocked off Iowa's Chad Beatty, the top-seed in the weight class. Fifth seeded Yohn led all the way before Betty tied the match with a takedown in the final seconds. After the first overtime went scoreless, Yohn was awarded one point in the tiebreaker as Beatty was called for clasping. In the second tiebreaker, when Beatty started down, Yohn held on for the win. He advances to face Trevor Brandvold of Wisconsin for the title.
Also impressive, was Thorn's major over Montel Marion of Iowa at 141. Marion majored Thorn just under a month ago in Williams Arena, but it was all Thorn this time around. At one point Thorn almost had a pin, but instead took the near fall points on his way to a 12-3 win for a chance to face No. 1 seed and No. 2 ranked Reece Humphrey of Ohio State in the championship.
Ness continued his perfect senior season with an 11-4 victory over Tyler Graff of Wisconsin and advances his third career Big Ten title match, but his first since 2008. Top-seeded Ness' opponent will be second seeded Daniel Dennis of Iowa, whom Ness just beat in February.
Glasser will appear in his first Big Ten Championship after a 3-1 win over Ian Hinton of Michigan State. Glasser has lost just twice in 2010, and both were to Jay Borschel, of Iowa, his Championship match opponent.
Bookends Zach Sanders (Wabasha, Minn.) at 125 and Ben Berhow (Hayward, Minn.) at heavyweight, each lost their semifinal match, and now must win twice tomorrow to take third. Third seeded Sanders lost 8-0 to second seeded Matt McDonough of Iowa, and now will face Cashe Quiroga of Purdue in wrestle backs.
Fourth seeded Berhow lost to the No. 1 seed Nathan Everhart of Indiana by an 8-4 margin, and now faces Ben Apland of Michigan.
Mario Mason (Moorestown, N.J.) at 149 and Cody Yohn (Alamosa, Colo.)at 165 each went 2-0 in wrestle backs and are also just two wins away from a third place finish. Mason won by fall and decision and now faces Frank Molinaro of Penn State in the consolation semis. Yohn also won by fall and decision and moves on to Dan Vallimont, also of Penn State, with a third place match berth on the line.
In his lone match of the evening, Kaleb Young dropped a 3-2 decision to Nick Palmieri of Michigan State, ending his run at this season's, Big Ten Tournament.
If they hold on to second it will be the Gophers 11th top-two finish at Big Ten's in the last 12 seasons. And with any of the four finalists winning, they will be the Gophers' first individual Big Ten Champion since 2007.
The third session begins at 12:00 (ET), Sunday Mar. 7, with Championship round (First, Third, Fifth) matches set to begin at 2:00 (ET). Also beginning at 2:00 (ET) will be the Big Ten Network's live broadcast of the Championships.