Minnesota loses its first dual of the season

An overtime win for No. 1 Adam Coon over No. 2 Tony Nelson stopped the Gophers’ comeback against Michigan.

Minnesota loses its first dual of the season

Jared Christensen

No. 2 Minnesota split a pair of duals on its road trip to Michigan over the weekend.

The Gophers fell to No. 19 Michigan 19-14 on Sunday afternoon, just two days after they dominated Michigan State 35-3.

The Gophers (7-1, 4-1 Big Ten) fell behind early Sunday after losing five of the first six matches against Michigan (7-2, 3-0 Big Ten), but they won three straight matches down the stretch to pull within two points heading into the heavyweight bout.

Gophers head assistant coach Brandon Eggum said he was confident in his upper weights despite the early deficit in the
dual.

“It’s not the first time those guys have been put in that situation,” he said, “and those upper weights have always done a good job, especially in high-pressure situations.”

It all came down to the heavyweight match that pitted No. 1 Adam Coon against two-time defending NCAA heavyweight champion Tony Nelson.

And like the rest of the dual, that match had no shortage of drama. Coon and Nelson wrestled to a 1-1 stalemate through three rounds, and the match went into overtime.

But one extra frame wasn’t enough, nor was two.

After three rounds of overtime, a visibly exhausted Coon managed the first takedown of the match and came out of the sudden-death round with a 4-2 win.

The match sealed the upset for the Wolverines and handed the Gophers their first dual loss of the season.

The Wolverines were the aggressors early and jumped out to an early lead, due in part to upset wins by Eric Grajales at 149 pounds and Brian Murphy at 157.

But Logan Storley’s major-decision win at 174 energized the Gophers’ bench and shifted the momentum in their favor.

“It’s always hard watching your teammates go out there and lose,” Storley said, “but I knew I needed to go out and score as many points as possible to get our team back in the hunt.”

Kevin Steinhaus kept the momentum going at 184, and Scott Schiller’s major decision at 197 brought the Gophers within two points before Nelson’s loss ended the comeback attempt.

Gophers dominate Spartans

The Gophers’ loss Sunday came two days after a dominant win over Michigan State (5-6, 0-3 Big Ten) in East Lansing, Mich., on Friday.

Minnesota pounced on the Spartans from the get-go and won 35-3.

The Gophers’ only loss of the day came in the 141-pound match, in which Josh Shupe wrestled for the Gophers in place of No. 5 Chris Dardanes.

“It was a little disappointing to miss out on the shutout, but Shupe came in and wrestled a great match,” Eggum said after the match Friday. “He fought very hard.”

Shupe replaced Dardanes again Sunday, but Dardanes is expected to return to the lineup for the rivalry dual at Iowa next weekend, Eggum said.

Steinhaus and Nelson each added notches to their belts with wins over nationally ranked opponents Friday.

Steinhaus won via tech fall over John Rizqallah, who is currently ranked No. 19 in the nation, and Nelson continued his campaign for a third consecutive national championship with a win over No. 9 Mike McClure.

While the Gophers dominated Michigan State, their loss to Michigan serves as a wake-up call before they travel to Iowa City, Iowa.

“We have a lot to prove,” Storley said.