Omaha, Neb. - The Gophers crowed three All-Americans in this morning's (Mar. 20) Consolation Championship session of the 2010 NCAA Wrestling tournament, led by Zach Sanders (Wabasha, Minn.) who finished in fifth place.
Mike Thorn (St. Michael, Minn.) was also a winner, finishing in seventh place with a win. Finally, Sonny Yohn (Alamosa, Colo.) was the third All-American crowned today, finishing in eighth place.
Sanders wrestled twice on the day, losing his first match to No. 1 seed Angel Escobedo. Escobedo lost for the first time on the season in the national semifinals yesterday. Sanders lost by a score of 10-3 to Escobedo, to fall to the fifth place match. There he met familiar foe Cashe Quiroga from Purdue, and opponent Sanders has beaten twice already on the season.
Last season, Sanders earned his first All-America honor, but ended his season with a loss in this same match. This year, though, was different as he led the whole way to finish in fifth place as a two-time All-American.
The loss today snapped a five-match winning streak for Sanders, after he lost in his opening match of the tournament. As a junior next season, he will lead the Gophers in 2010-11 as the only two-time All-American on the roster.
Thorn and Yohn capped off their first All-America season's today, with Thorn winning in impressive fashion over Christopher Diaz of Virginia Tech. Thorn, who was nearly pinned early in the match, came up with one of his fastest pins of the year, ending the match in just 56 seconds. It was the eighth pin, and 29th win of the season for the junior who will return next season as one of three All-Americans on the Gophers squad. Thorn went 5-2 in the tournament, on his way to seventh place honors.
Yohn's season ended with All-America honors as well, but not as he would have liked, as he lost a heartbreaker in his seventh place match. He fought back to the tie the score at 7-7 late in the match against Alan Gelogaev of Oklahoma State, but Gelogaev answered with a takedown and near fall to win 12-7 and take seventh place. Earlier in the tournament, Yohn gave Gelogaev his first loss of with a 4-3 decision.
Just a sophomore, Yohn will join Sanders and Thorn as returning All-American's next season. It was an impressive end to the season for Yohn, who got better as the season wore on, finishing as the Big Ten runner-up and claiming top-eight status for the first time.
The trio, will join Jayson Ness (Bloomington, Minn.) tonight for the Parade of All-American's preceding the Championship matches at 6:30 p.m. Ness is the only Gopher left to wrestle as he takes the mat against Daniel Dennis for the third time this season. Ness is in search of his first career NCAA title.
With four total All-Americans, the Gophers tie for the second most in 2010, behind Iowa who leads the pack with eight. Cornell, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Wisconsin all also have four.
As the end of the fifth session, Minnesota remains in eighth place with 59.0 points, 6.5 points out of the top-five. With 122.5 points, Iowa had already locked up their third straight NCAA team title, while Cornell has all but sealed up second with 86.0 points. Oklahoma (69.0) Iowa State (67.0) and Wisconsin (66.5) round out the top five.
The sixth and final session begins at 6:30 tonight and will be broadcast live on ESPN.