Ann Arbor, Mich. - The Minnesota wrestling team put the wraps on a successful Big Ten Championships today (Mar. 7) finishing with two champions and seven NCAA qualifiers.
Jayson Ness (Bloomington, Minn.) led the way with his second Big Ten title, and first at 133. After an undefeated season, Ness was also named Big Ten Wrestler of the Year. Ness is the seventh Gopher to earn the honor, and first since Cole Konrad won it back-to-back in 2006 and 2007.
The Gophers locked up their 11th top-two finish at the Big Ten Tournament in the last 12 seasons, with the only aberration a fifth place finish a year ago. Minnesota scored 119.5 points on the weekend, behind Iowa who won for the third straight year with 156.5 points. Wisconsin took third with 109.0 points while Ohio State and Penn State rounded out the top-five with 102.5 and 91.0 points respectively.
Zach Sanders (Wabasha, Minn.), Ness, Mike Thorn (St., Michael, Minn.), Mario Mason (Moorestown, N.J.), Scott Glasser (Bismarck, N.D.), Sonny Yohn (Alamosa, Colo.) and Ben Berhow (Hayward, Minn.) will all finish their season in two weeks at the 2010 NCAA Wrestling Championships at the Quest Center in Omaha, Neb. Ness will be going back for the fourth time, looking for his fourth All-America honor and his first national championship. Berhow returns for the third time, while Sanders and Thorn each make their second trip. Mason, Glasser and Sonny Yohn each will make their first appearance in the NCAA Championships.
Ness led the charge as the first to win a title, becoming 24th multiple Big Ten Champion in school history. He also won at 125 his freshman season and becomes the first Gopher to win a Big Ten Championship since 2007. Ness was matched up with Daniel Dennis of Iowa after the two entered the tournament as the top-two seeds. Ness scored first on an escape and then took a 3-0 lead. He went on to take a 7-0 lead before Dennis scored three points late to before the 8-3 final.
Ness moves to 26-0 on the season, after a 3-0 performance this weekend. He also now has 143 career wins, moving him into third place on the Gophers all-time list. He sits behind only Ed Geise (1982-86) with 159 and Cole Konrad (2003-07) with 155.
One match later the Gophers had their second champion. Thorn entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed and knocked off the No. 3 seed in the semifinals for advance to the title match. Matched up with the No. 1 seed, and the second ranked wrestler in the country, Reece Humphrey of Ohio State, Thorn scored first and controlled the match. Humphrey and a good chance late, but Thorn scrambled out of it to avoid the takedown and preserve his lead, en route to a 3-1 win.
Thorn becomes the first Gopher ever to win a 141-pound title and advances to his second NCAA tournament in two weeks.
In his title match, Glasser was matched up with the only opponent to beat him since Dec. 29, Jay Borschel of Iowa. The match started slow, but Borschel was the first to score and led the entire way, before winning 8-1. Glasser got into a good scramble late, but couldn't finish it before Borschel caught him for one final takedown.
The fourth Gopher in a championship match was Sonny Yohn, taking on Trevor Brandvold of Wisconsin. Yohn beat top-seeded Chad Beatty of Iowa in the semis to advance to face second seeded Brandvold. Fifth seeded Yohn got the first points on an escape, but Brandvold answered right back with a takedown for a 2-1 lead. In the third period, Brandvold added another escape to take a 3-1 lead which is where the match would stay. The second place tally is the best finished for Yohn, after a seventh place finish at 184 last year.
Four wrestlers opened the day's action in the consolation semifinals, starting with Sanders at 125. Herwon to advance to the third place match as did Berhow at Heavyweight. Each went on to win and place third, giving them the best finishes of their careers.
Mason at 149 and Cody Yohn at 165 lost in the consolation semifinals, and ended their day in the fifth place match. Mason won to finish in fifth, but Yohn lost and placed sixth.
The seven NCAA qualifiers will continue their seasons at the NCAA Championships Mar. 18-20. Dustin Schlatter (Massillion, Ohio) and Cody Yohn must now wait to learn their fate with the NCAA wild card selections set to come out on Thursday.