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It's Mayhem: Minnesota bests Iowa, Oklahoma State to win National Duals title

STILLWATER, Okla. – The first edition of the NWCA’s new National Duals format finished with a flourish on Sunday inside historic Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Of the four duals, three came down to the final weight class to determine a winner.

Minnesota edged Iowa 16-15 in the semifinals. J Robinson’s Gophers followed that victory up a couple of hours later with an 18-13 victory over host Oklahoma State to claim top honors.

The two Sunday conquests avenged losses from earlier this season – Iowa beat Minnesota, 19-17, on Jan. 29 and OSU knocked off the Gophers, 24-13, back on Dec. 4 in Stillwater.

“What we talked about was just being prepared mentally,” said Robinson. “There are only so many times you get to wrestle for championships and that’s what I told the team. Anytime we wrestle Iowa it is a battle. The way Tom and Terry (Brands), the way those guys coach you know it is going to be intense. And you know the same thing is going to happen against Oklahoma State.

“We started the year with a tough schedule, wondering where we were. Now the dual season is over and we know what we have.”

What the Gophers have, after a 14-3 campaign, is the best dual team in the country and certain participation in the NCAA Championship conversation.

Against the home-standing and unbeaten Cowboys, who snuck by Illinois in the semifinals, Minnesota won six of 10 bouts, including the final three.

Chris Perry’s 4-0 decision of Logan Storley at 174 pounds gave the Cowboys (16-1) a 13-9 advantage, but the Gophers rallied with victories by Kevin Steinhaus at 184, Sonny Yohn at 197 and Tony Nelson at 285.

An anticipated matchup between Nelson, ranked fourth, and Alan Gelogaev never materialized, as the third-ranked 285-pounder from OSU was injured against Oklahoma this past Thursday.

The unbeaten Russian is lost for the season, forcing Cowboy head coach John Smith to pull true freshman Austin Marsden out of redshirt. Marsden played hero against the Illini, scoring a third-period takedown to beat Pat Walker, but Nelson (24-2), who beat Iowa rookie Bobby Telford in the semifinals to secure the Gophers’ berth in the final, was too big and too strong.

“Would the dual meet have come out differently?” said Smith, whose squad still must face Missouri next Friday before the Big 12 Championships on March 3 in Columbia, Mo.

“It’s unfortunate that something like an injury of this magnitude occurs. It made it tough on us (Sunday).”

In the finals, Minnesota also got victories by All-American Zach Sanders (24-2), who bounced back after losing to Iowa’s Matt McDonough in the semifinals; Nick Dardanes (18-6), who dropped an overtime decision to Montell Marion in the semis; and Cody Yohn (17-7), who beat Dallas Bailey in the finals.

Cody Yohn had a big day, avenging a loss to Mike Evans from the dual last month in Carver-Hawkeye. Yohn was pinned by Evans the last time the two met. On Sunday it was Yohn in overtime.

“That’s a nine-point swing from the last time,” said Robinson. “That’s the beauty of this type of competition, it was a team effort. It was a big day for (Yohn) and it’s a good story. Everybody contributes in this team format. It’s a true dual champion.”

The match on a day of many good matches may have come at 149 where Oklahoma State senior Jamal Parks, unbeaten this season and an All-American a year ago, faced off against Gopher rookie Dylan Ness. Ness caught Parks for five points right out the gate, but the Cowboy All-American rallied back to win 11-8.

Minnesota and Iowa went 5-5 in the semifinal dual with Ness’ major decision of Mike Kelly proving key.

Oklahoma State won six of 10 bouts against Illinois, including Jordan Oliver’s dismantling of B.J. Futrell at 133 pounds. But with the hosts leading 13-9 after 174 pounds, Illini sophomore Tony Dallago caught Chris McNeil after a reversal and scored a big second-period fall to give Illinois a 15-13 advantage. However, Blake Rosholt beat Mario Gonzalez in overtime and the hosts regained a 16-15 lead. Marsden, a native of Illinois and wrestling his first collegiate match for the varsity, scored with 14 seconds remaining to send OSU to the finals.

“A good day, a tough day,” said Smith. “I know we aren’t going to quit. I’m for this new format. There will be some changes but I think the wrestling today showed it’s a good, viable event that we need to support.

“I don’t know if the timing of it is right, but it’s a good place to start.”

Iowa came back to hammer Illinois, 28-6, in the third-place match. McDonough avenged his only loss of the season, beating Illinois rookie Jesse Delgado, 6-3.

“We have tough matches every week and this weekend was no exception to that,” said Iowa head coach Tom Brands, whose squad returns to the mat March 3-4 at the Big Ten Championships. “We go five and five with matches against Minnesota with bonus points being the difference. From where I sit we have to win individual matchups. If we are winning matches that means we aren’t worrying about giving up bonus points.

“Right now we have to get more selfish,” said Brands. “I don’t think we are selfish enough right now. You win matches by scoring takedowns and we didn’t have nearly enough (Sunday).”

One thing is clear entering the stretch run of the 2011-12 wrestling season. Penn State, the 2011 NCAA champions, absent from the inaugural Mat Mayhem format, will have plenty of company in St. Louis.


125 - Zachary Sanders (Minnesota) over Jonathon Morrison (Oklahoma State) Dec 5-2
133 - Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State) over Christopher Dardanes (Minnesota) Maj 11-3
141 - Nick Dardanes (Minnesota) over Julian Feikert (Oklahoma State) Dec 10-4
149 - Jamal Parks (Oklahoma State) over Dylan Ness (Minnesota) Dec 11-8
157 - Albert White (Oklahoma State) over Daniel Zilverberg (Minnesota) Dec 9-7
165 - Cody Yohn (Minnesota) over Dallas Bailey (Oklahoma State) OT 4-2
174 - Chris Perry (Oklahoma State) over Logan Storley (Minnesota) Dec 4-0
184 - Kevin Steinhaus (Minnesota) over Christopher McNeil (Oklahoma State) Dec 4-1
197 - Sonny Yohn (Minnesota) over Blake Rosholt (Oklahoma State) Dec 3-1
285 - Anthony Nelson (Minnesota) over Austin Marsden (Oklahoma State) Dec 8-1

125 - Matt McDonough (Iowa) over Jesse Delgado (Illinois) Dec 6-3
133 - Tony Ramos (Iowa) over Bernard Futrell (Illinois) Dec 5-2
141 - Montell Marion (Iowa) over Daryl Thomas (Illinois) Dec 6-2
149 - Eric Terrazas (Illinois) over Mike Kelly (Iowa) Dec 3-2
157 - Derek St. John (Iowa) over Jackson Morse (Illinois) Pin 3:14
165 - Michael Evans (Iowa) over Conrad Polz (Illinois) Dec 5-1
174 - Ethen Lofthouse (Iowa) over Jordan Blanton (Illinois) Dec 4-2
184 - Grant Gambrall (Iowa) over Tony Dallago (Illinois) Maj 10-2
197 - Mario Gonzalez (Illinois) over Vinnie Wagner (Iowa) Dec 11-6
285 - Bobby Telford (Iowa) over Patrick Walker (Illinois) Dec 5-0

125 - Jesse Delgado (Illinois) over Tyler Dorell (Oklahoma State) Dec 7-1
133 - Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State) over Bernard Futrell (Illinois) Maj 15-1
141 - Joshua Kindig (Oklahoma State) over Daryl Thomas (Illinois) Dec 7-6
149 - Jamal Parks (Oklahoma State) over Eric Terrazas (Illinois) Dec 8-4
157 - Jackson Morse (Illinois) over Albert White (Oklahoma State) Dec 6-2
165 - Conrad Polz (Illinois) over Dallas Bailey (Oklahoma State) Dec 12-5
174 - Chris Perry (Oklahoma State) over Jordan Blanton (Illinois) Dec 6-3
184 - Tony Dallago (Illinois) over Christopher McNeil (Oklahoma State) Pin 3:53
197 - Blake Rosholt (Oklahoma State) over Mario Gonzalez (Illinois) OT 8-6
285 - Austin Marsden (Oklahoma State) over Patrick Walker (Illinois) Dec 3-2

125 - Matt McDonough (Iowa) over Zachary Sanders (Minnesota) Dec 7-4
133 - Tony Ramos (Iowa) over Christopher Dardanes (Minnesota) OT 6-1
141 - Montell Marion (Iowa) over Nick Dardanes (Minnesota) OT 6-4
149 - Dylan Ness (Minnesota) over Mike Kelly (Iowa) Maj 11-2
157 - Derek St. John (Iowa) over Daniel Zilverberg (Minnesota) Dec 6-3
165 - Cody Yohn (Minnesota) over Michael Evans (Iowa) OT 5-3
174 - Ethen Lofthouse (Iowa) over Logan Storley (Minnesota) Dec 4-3
184 - Kevin Steinhaus (Minnesota) over Grant Gambrall (Iowa) Dec 3-1
197 - Sonny Yohn (Minnesota) over Vinnie Wagner (Iowa) Dec 7-4
285 - Anthony Nelson (Minnesota) over Bobby Telford (Iowa) Dec 2-0
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