The Minnesota wrestling program opened the 2010-11 season with an impressive showing at the Bison Open on Saturday in Fargo, N.D. Nine Gophers captured individual titles at the event.
All-American junior Zach Sanders took the title at 125 lbs. after sweeping four matches in his first tournament of the season. In his opening match, Sanders scored a fall at 4:56 over Southwest Minnesota State's Seifemichael Kenea before rallying off two-straight technical falls over Matt Garcia (25-10) and Corey Ulmer (23-5) to advance to championship match against North Dakota State's Trent Sprinkle. Sanders bested Sprinkle in the finals, scoring a 10-6 decision to pick up his first title of the season.
The Gophers had five wrestlers competing at 133 lbs. on Saturday including sophomore Thane Antczak, who earned the title - beating a pair of teammates along the way. Antczak scored a fall at 5:42 in his opening match against Todd Reynolds and then earned three-straight decisions (5-2 over SMSU's Justin Reinsma, 11-5 over teammate Randy Hanson and 6-1 over teammate Bart Reiter in the championship match) in route to the title. Reiter swept through his first three matches including a fall at 3:41 over teammate Drew Lexvold in the quarterfinals to finish second to Antczak. Lexvold, who won his opening match against Mason Young with a fall only to lose to Reiter in the quarterfinals, battled back with four more wins to take third place at 133 lbs.
All-American senior Mike Thorn also earned the title at 141 lbs., beating Gophers freshman Nick Dardanes 11-0 for a major decision in the finals. After a first round bye, Thorn earned a technical fall over Tanner Beaman (20-3, 4:31) in the second round and a fall at 2:42 over Devin Scott in the quarterfinals. Thorn then picked up a major decision (16-5) over Minnesota freshman Seth Lange in the semifinals before adding a second major decision (11-0) over Gophers freshman Nick Dardanes to win the 141 lbs. title. Dardanes finished his first collegiate invitational with a runner-up finish while Lange rallied after losing to Thorn to finish third with an 8-7 decision over NDSU's Trevor Johnson.
The Gophers had a pair of co-champions in the 149 lbs. bracket as redshirt freshman Danny Zilverberg and freshman Dylan Ness shared top honors after both grapplers advanced to the finals. Zilverberg picked up four wins in the tournament including a pair of major decisions while Ness received a bye in the first round before posting three-straight wins including a major decision in the quarterfinals.
Minnesota's only competitor at 165 lbs., sophomore Cody Yohn also earned an individual title - going 4-0 on Saturday with a technical fall against Samuel Bonsu (17-1) in the opening match, a fall over Jacob Bennett (5:00) in the quarterfinals, and then a pair of decisions against Kurtis Julson in the semifinals (5-1) and Tyler Johnson in the finals (7-6).
Meanwhile, Gophers senior Scott Glasser posted three-straight major decisions to earn the 174 lbs. title. After a first-round bye, Glasser outscored his opponents 54-19 (21-6,17-5,16-6) in route to the title.
At 184 lbs., redshirt freshman Kevin Steinhaus posted a pair of wins to reach the finals, where he earned a 10-4 decision over Concordia's Phil Moenkedick - a 2010 Division III national champion - for the individual medal. Steinhaus earned a major decision over Zach Deffinbuagh (18-5) in the preliminary round and scored a technical fall (16-1, 6:13) over Craig Draper-Johnson before adding a second major decision victory over Ken Moenkedick (10-2) to reach the finals. Minnesota Freshman Joel Bauman finished fourth at 184 lbs. - losing a 3-0 decision to Ken Moenkedick in the consolation bracket finals.
Minnesota finished 1-2-3 at 197 lbs. with junior Sonny Yohn taking home top honors. Yohn earned a 6-1 decision over teammate Joe Nord in the finals while Scott Schiller took third in the weight class.
The Gophers' Tony Nelson earned the ninth and final individual title in the heavyweight division, earning three decisions and a major decision on Saturday including a 3-0 decision over Matthew Meuleners in the finals.