March 6, 2014
THIS WEEK IN MINNESOTA WRESTLING
The No. 1 University of Minnesota Golden Gopher wrestling team will make their way to the Kohl Center at the University of Wisconsin to participate in the 2014 Big Ten Wrestling Championships, March 8-9.
REWIND: 2013-14 SEASON
The Golden Gophers have had a successful year finishing the dual meet season with an overall record of 14-1 and 7-1 in Big Ten competition. After defeating then-No. 1 Penn State, the Gophers clinched a portion of the Big Ten Dual Meet Championship. Minnesota shares a portion of the title with Iowa and Penn State.
The Gophers won their third consecutive National Duals title in February by defeating North Dakota State University, Ohio State University and Cornell University in Columbus, Ohio. The Gophers never dropped out of the Top 5 in any of the three major rankings and have held the No. 1 spot since defeating Penn State on Feb. 9 at the Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis.
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP INFORMATION
The event will be begin on Sat. March 8 at 10 a.m. CT, with the preliminary and quarterfinal matches taking place in Session I. Session II will begin at 5 p.m. on Saturday evening with semifinals and the opening rounds of wrestlebacks to complete Day 1's competition. The consolation semifinals and seventh-place matches will start at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning. These three sessions will be streamed through Gopher All-Access.
The competition will conclude with first-,third- and fifth-place matches beginning live on the Big Ten Network on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. Tim Johnson, Jim Gibbons and Shane Sparks will call the action.
For full championship information, please visit the tournament website here.
Wrestling in the Big Ten Conference in unlike wrestling in any other conference in the country. It has been the home of many of the nation's best teams and wrestlers. This year's competition field is no exception as the 2014 Big Ten Wrestling Championships will feature five of the nation's top ten teams. Minnesota, Penn State and Iowa, who all share a portion of the Big Ten Dual Meet Championship, sit atop the rankings at the end of the dual season. Overall, nine Big Ten teams made their way into the USA Today/NWCA/AWN Division I Coaches Poll.
On Monday, March 3, the Big Ten Conference released the preliminary seeds for the 2014 Big Ten Wrestling Championship. Five Big Ten schools boast a top-seed wrestler, while Penn State leads the way with five. The Gophers do not have any No. 1 seeds going into Saturday's competition. But Minnesota will have a seeded wrestler in each of the weight classes with the exception of 125 pounds.
The pre-seeds, as voted on by the conference's coaches, rank the top eight wrestlers in five weight classes, along with all 12 starters in five weight classes due to the Big Ten receiving eight or more NCAA Championships qualifier allocations in those classes. Each team enters the championships with a seeded wrestler in the 133-, 157-, 165-, 197- and 285-pound weight classes.
Full seeding information can be found here.
125 - Sam Brancale (NS, NR)
133 - David Thorn (No. 3 seed, No. 7 InterMat)
141 - Chris Dardanes (No. 3 seed, No. 5 InterMat)
149 - Nick Dardanes (No. 2 seed, No. 2 Intermat)
157 - Dylan Ness (No. 3 seed, No. 6 InterMat)
165 - Danny Zilverberg (No. 6 seed, No. 20 InterMat)
174 - Logan Storley (No. 4 seed, No. 6 InterMat)
184 - Kevin Steinhaus (No. 2 seed, No. 8 InterMat)
197 - Scott Schiller (No. 3 seed, No. 5 InterMat)
285 - Tony Nelson (No. 5 seed, No. 5 InterMat)
DEFENDING THE TITLE
Eight wrestlers who have won Big Ten titles will return to the 2014 championships including Minnesota's own Tony Nelson, Kevin Steinhaus and Dylan Ness. The Gophers accumulated 139 team points in last years competition with the help of wins from Nelson and Ness and hope to do the same this year. Steinhaus won his Big Ten Championship title in 2012 and will look to regain his status as the Big Ten's most elite wrestler in his respective weight class.
100 YEARS OF BIG TEN WRESTLING
This year marks the 100th Anniversary of Big Ten Wrestling Championships. The Maroon and Gold have brought home 91 individual Big Ten titles spanning from 1926 when Steve Easter won Minnesota's first Big Ten title at 135 pounds to the two championship titles the Gophers won last year from Dylan Ness (149) and Tony Nelson (HWT). Throughout the weekend, the Big Ten will showcase the 100 years of Big Ten wrestling. Be sure to look for images of your favorite Gopher wrestlers from throughout the years.
The final destination this season is the NCAA Wrestling Championships to be held in Oklahoma City, Okla. March 20-22. Last year, the Golden Gophers finished third as Tony Nelson won his second consecutive National Championship. The Gophers will look to stand on the podium again this March.
For all the information regarding the 2014 NCAA Championships please visit the championship website here.
BE PART OF THE ACTION
You can be part of the action by liking Gopher Wrestling on Facebook or by following @GopherWrestling and using the hashtag #GopherTough. You can also view photos of the Gophers on their Instagram account by following @GopherWrestling. News about the program, live bout updates and other information can be at your finger tips by following our social media accounts.
For live dual results, please follow along via trackwrestling.com. Results will be posted on Twitter.
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Bleise Becomes Newest Gopher
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McKee Earns Junior World Team Spot
Mitch McKee will represent the USA at 60 kg in Finland this August, while Tony Nelson earns a senior national team spot by finishing third at 125 kg