Return to the Top
After falling out of the top-10 in 2008-09, Gopher Wrestling returned to their place among the best in 2009-10. At the NCAA Tournament, Minnesota charted a seventh place finish, their 13th top-10 finish in the last 14 years. This season was also a return to the top-two of the Big Ten standings. With a 7-1 record in the regular season, Minnesota finished in a second place tie with Ohio State, while at the Big Ten Tournament the Gophers finished alone in second, better than 10 points ahead of third place Wisconsin. For the 11th time in the last 12 years, Minnesota placed in the top-two at the Big Ten Tournament.
The Gophers finished the 2009-2010 season with a 12-5 overall record and a 7-1 mark in Big Ten duals. The Gophers lone Big Ten loss was to unbeaten Iowa, while all five of their losses came to the teams ranked 1-4 in the national polls. 2009-10 marked the Gophers third season of at least seven wins in the last five years.
Everybody's No. 1, Jayson Ness
Jayson Ness entered his senior season with one goal left to attain, an individual NCAA Championship. With a dramatic comeback in the title match, he did just that, ending his season with a perfect 31-0 record, and his career as a champion. At the conclusion of the season, he had racked up nearly every individual honor possible. He was a Big Ten and NCAA champion, the Big Ten Wrestler of the Year, the NWCA Most Outstanding Wrestler of the National Championships, the InterMat Wrester of the Year, a Golden Goldy winner and Minnesota's Male Athlete of the Year, and most of all, the Hodge Trophy winner (the wrestling Heisman) as the best wrestler in the country regardless of weight class.
Jayson Ness led a group of four All-Americans crowned at the NCAA Championship meet. Taking first place, Ness earned All-America honors for the fourth career time. Zach Sanders placed a career-best fifth at 125, and was named All-American for the second time in his young career. Mike Thorn took seventh at 141 and Sonny Yohn placed eighth at 197 as they each were named All-American for the first career time.
Big Ten Champions
Jayson Ness won his second Big Ten title this season, his first since 2007, and his first at 133. He was joined on the top of the podium by Mike Thorn, who won his first Big Ten Championship by taking the crown at 141.
Big Ten Place winners
In addition to Jayson Ness and Mike Thorn winning Big Ten Championships, eight total Gophers were placewinners at the Big Ten Tournament. Scott Glasser at 174 and Sonny Yohn at 197 each advanced to their first Big Ten title match and placed second. Zach Sanders at 125 and Ben Berhow at heavyweight each placed a career best third. Finally in their first career tournament Mario Mason took fifth, and Cody Yohn took sixth.
Cody Yohn and Dustin Schlatter earned at-large berths to the NCAA Tournament, while the rest of the Gophers' placewinners automatically qualified for NCAAs.
At the annual year-end awards banquet, Jayson Ness and Dustin Schlatter each shared team MVP honors, with Schlatter also winning the Fraser Dean Most Courageous Award and the Academic Award with the highest team GPA. Kevin Steinhaus won Academic Award for highest GPA among freshman. Ness also won the Most Falls award. Zach Sanders was named Most Dedicated while Sonny Yohn won the Chris Berglin Most Improved Wrestler award. Mike Thorn was named most exciting and Ben Berhow won the Verne Gagne Scholarship/Leadership Award. Thane Antczak, Mario Mason and Cody Yohn all won "M Club" First Year Awards, while Cody Yohn was named the Most Outstanding Freshman.
Jayson Ness and Mike Thorn were each named to the NWCA All-Academic Team. Ness was honored for the second straight season, while Thorn earned his first honor.
Academic All-Big Ten Team
Three Gophers were named to the Academic All-Big Ten team, led by three-time honoree Joe Nord. Brent Eidenschink, Jayson Ness and Brian Peterson were all named to the team for the second straight season, while Luke Mellmer and Mike Thorn were all honored for the first time.
The Gophers bid farewell to four seniors in 2010, as Matt Everson, Nate Matousek, Jayson Ness and Dustin Schlatter all closed out their careers.
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