May 20, 2013
The Minnesota Wrestling team celebrated another successful season with an end-of-the-year banquet in early May where they handed out team awards to deserving individuals in front of over 200 guests in attendance.
The Golden Gophers finished the 2012-13 season with a 16-2 overall record, a 7-1 mark in the Big Ten, and their second NWCA/Cliff Keen National Dual Championship. Minnesota capped off the season with as the runner-up at the Big Ten Championships and a third-place finish at the NCAA Tournament. The team, which qualified all ten of its starting wrestlers for the first time since 2005, left the national event with eight All-Americans, more than any other team in the competition.
Three-time All-American Tony Nelson was named Most Valuable Wrestler of the Year. Nelson picked up his second-consecutive national championship in the heavyweight bracket of the NCAA Tournament. Through the course of the season, he marked a near-perfect 33-1 overall record, including an undefeated 8-0 run through Big Ten Conference opponents. Nelson notched seven falls in competition to receive the Most Falls award, sharing it with 125-pounder David Thorn.
The Most Exciting Wrestler award went to Dylan Ness. After sitting out the beginning of the season, Ness returned to action in time for the Southern Scuffle and took his place in the starting lineup at 149 lbs. for the remainder of the dual slate. Ness went on a tear to post a 5-1 league record and earn a Big Ten Championship title. He capped off the season with a fourth-place finish at the NCAAs.
After his first season in the starting lineup, Scott Schiller received the Most Dedicated honor. Schiller, the team’s competitor at 197 lbs., posted a 29-6 mark on the year, including a 16-1 record in dual meets. He made his mark on the Big Ten with an 8-0 run through the regular season and a runner-up finish at the Big Ten Championships.
True sophomore Logan Storley was given the Fraser Dean “Most Courageous” Award. While being pegged as the No. 1 wrestler at 174 lbs. for most of the season, Storley also fought through adversity during both the dual meet schedule and the postseason tournament slate. At year’s end, Storley amassed a 28-5 overall record and finished fourth at the NCAA Tournament to earn his second All-American status in as many years.
Kevin Steinhaus was voted as the Verne Gagne “Leadership Award” winner. Steinhaus, who was named a team captain for the second year in a row, followed up last year’s Big Ten individual title with a 29-4 season in 2012-13.
Cody Yohn, the lone senior from the 10 starters, and Danny Zilverberg, a late mainstay at 157 lbs. split the Chris Berglin “Most Improved” award. Both struggled at various points in the season but hit their stride in time for the year-end tournaments. Both Yohn and Zilverberg were proved instrumental in Minnesota’s National Duals title, second-place finish at the Big Ten Championships and third-place finish in the NCAA Tournament. Yohn capped off his Golden Gopher career as an All-American after placing seventh in Des Moines, Iowa.
Chris and Nick Dardanes picked up shares of the team’s Intensity Award. Chris finished the year with a 21-9 record at 133 lbs., while Nick (141 lbs.) tabbed a 30-9 total while also leading the team with 12 major decisions on the mat.
Highlights: Cliff Keen Invitational
As a team and on an individual basis, the Gophers posted strong results against some of the nation’s best during the two-day tournament in Las Vegas
Gophers Take Fourth in Las Vegas
Jake Short and Brett Pfarr won individual titles, helping to power Minnesota to a top-five finish in the Cliff Keen Invitational for the third straight season
Gophers Win Two Titles at UNI Open
Ethan Lizak and Tommy Thorn won the 125- and 141-pound titles, respectively, leading a group of 10 Gopher placewinners in Cedar Falls