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19-year-old Dylan Ness making impact on Senior level after winning Northern Plains Regional

Dylan Ness wins a Junior Nationals Greco-Roman title last July in Fargo, N.D. John Sachs photo.

Dylan Ness still gets chills every time he watches it.

The match where his older brother, Jayson, rallied in the closing seconds to capture the 2010 NCAA title at 133 pounds.

“It was incredible,” Dylan said. “It was very stressful to watch, but it was exciting the way he pulled it out. Watching him win it, that motivates me a lot. The goal is to be better than your older brother and he wants me to do better than he did.”

Topping what his brother did at the University of Minnesota will take some doing. Jayson Ness was a four-time All-American and won the Hodge Trophy as the nation’s top collegiate wrestler in 2010.

But Dylan Ness still is on track to accomplish plenty of big goals in wrestling.

Dylan Ness captured a Northern Plains Regional freestyle title this past weekend in Waterloo, Iowa. He pinned past NCAA All-American Joe Johnston in the finals at 66 kg/145.5 lbs.

“That was a pretty big win for me,” Ness said. “That lets me know I am there with some of the top guys in my weight class. It gives me a boost to win a match like that.”

Ness won the Northern Plains Regional for the second straight year. He competed in the U.S. World Team Trials last year as an 18-year-old fresh out of high school.

He lost both matches, but was competitive in losses to Kyle Borshoff and Corey Jantzen. He won a period in both matches.

Ness, who just turned 19, plans to compete at next month’s U.S. Senior World Team Trials in Oklahoma City.

“My goal is to go in there and do better than I did last year,” Ness said. “I am more confident than I was last year.”

Before that, Ness is entered in Friday’s U.S. Junior World Team Trials in Franklin, Ind. Ness placed fourth at April’s FILA Junior Nationals, falling to eventual champion Josh Kindig of Oklahoma State in the semifinals and to Iowa’s Jake Ballweg in the third-place match.

“I need to stay more focused,” Ness said. “I need to go out there with more confidence and see what I can do.”

Ness just finished his redshirt year at Minnesota, where he posted a 16-1 record in open tournaments at 149. His only loss came at the Midlands semifinals against Bucknell’s Kevin LeValley, who placed seventh at the 2011 NCAA tournament.

“The redshirt year was a great year for me,” Ness said. “I am bigger, better and stronger now. It helped me make the transition from high school to college, not only in wrestling but with my schoolwork.”

The 6-foot Ness, who is tall for his weight class, will compete at either 149 or 157 pounds as a redshirt freshman next season for Minnesota.

“The biggest thing with Dylan is he is a competitor,” Minnesota coach J Robinson said. “He wrestles hard. He’s going to score points and he’s going to pin people. You just have to love his attitude. He wants to get better and he does what the coaches ask him to do. He works hard and he’s always looking to get better.”

Ness has come up through the USA Wrestling age-group ranks, excelling in freestyle, Greco-Roman and folkstyle wrestling.

He was a USA Wrestling Triple Crown winner at the Schoolboy and Cadet levels. He won Junior Nationals in Greco-Roman last year and placed second in freestyle.

Ness said he is looking forward to making an impact against the top Senior-level wrestlers in the nation at the World Team Trials in Oklahoma.

“Nobody expects me to do much,” Ness said. “I will go in there as an underdog, and go out and give it everything I have. There is no pressure on me. It will be good to get some tough matches in. I will just go out and wrestle and have fun.”
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