Gophers top No. 2 Penn State, split weekend

The Gophers split two duals this weekend, falling to Cornell before upsetting Penn State.

Drew Claussen

The No. 4 Gophers wrestling team split two duals this weekend, falling to No. 5 Cornell on Friday and defeating No. 2 Penn State on Sunday.

As is fast becoming a theme in this young season, Minnesota jumped out to a quick start Sunday in a 23-14 win over the defending NCAA Champions Penn State.

The Gophers boast several quality wrestlers at their lightweights. Zach Sanders (125 pounds) and David Thorn (133) earned wins. Thorn and Nick Dardanes (141) earned major decisions and after three matches, Minnesota led 11-0.

Penn State mounted a comeback, winning three of the next four matches, one by technical fall and the other by fall.

Jake Deitchler (157) won a 9-4 decision over PSUâÄôs Dylan Alton. But sophomore phenom David Taylor beat Cody Yohn (165) 16-1 for a technical fall.

âÄúTheyâÄôre really strong at 149, 165 and 174, theyâÄôre top-ranked guys in the country,âÄù head assistant coach Brandon Eggum said.

âÄúIt was nice to see Dylan [Ness] at 149 come back and score a few take downs at the end, he finished really well.âÄù

Kevin Steinhaus (184) and Sonny Yohn (197) ended PSUâÄôs comeback with big wins.

Steinhaus defeated No. 1 Quentin Wright 6-1.

Sonny Yohn won a back-and-forth match against Morgan McIntosh 4-3 on a last-second take down.

âÄúIt was good to see Steinhaus and Sonny wrestle a great match,âÄù Eggum said. âÄúThose guys are great wrestlers and for Steinhaus, [he beat] the top ranked guy in the country.âÄù

Nelson sealed the deal at heavyweight when he defeated Cameron Wade 5-0.

SundayâÄôs win was big for Minnesota, but the weekend wasnâÄôt all positive, as the team fell Friday to the Big Red, 20-16.

The Gophers got off to a quick start in FridayâÄôs dual with wins at 125 and 133.

Sanders defeated Frank Perrelli 6-3, and Thorn needed less than two and a half minutes to pin CornellâÄôs Joe Stanzione, giving the Gophers a 9-0 lead after two matches.

âÄúThorn looked great,âÄù Eggum said. âÄúLast year he wrestled that kid, and there was a lot of scrambling and it was fairly close; [this year] he just kind of broke it open early.âÄù

Minnesota lost the next three matches as Dardanes,  Ness and Deitchler all dropped decisions and Cornell tied the dual at 9-9 by intermission.

âÄúI think if we wrestle nine times out of ten there again, we win those first four matches,âÄù Eggum said. âÄúAnd to lose two of them that we were really dominating really hurt.âÄù

Cody Yohn came close to a pin at 165 but settled for a 5-3 decision, regaining the lead for Minnesota.

Cornell again won the next three matches, with the big blow being at 197 pounds, where Cam Simaz pinned Sonny Yohn to put the match out of reach.

âÄúIt really hurt giving up a fall there,âÄù Eggum said. âÄúSonny wrestled a good match for the first four minutes. But I think Sonny needs to get his conditioning up âÄî heâÄôs the type of guy that when he wrestles uses a lot of energy.âÄù

With a match score of 12-21, Tony Nelson (heavyweight) earned a major decision over Jace Bennett, making the final score 16-21.

Eggum said the coaching staff has talked with Nelson about striving for falls when he is capable of dominating an opponent like Friday.

Redshirt sophomore Alec Ortiz jumped up two weight classes to wrestle at 174 pounds for the injured Logan Storley. Storley sprained his ankle during the Bison Open; Eggum said the team hopes to have him back within the next two weeks.

âÄúOrtiz actually wrestled a good match,âÄù Eggum said. âÄúYou know he kept the match within striking distance for winning.âÄù

Minnesota did more to beat itself with numerous of freshman mistakes, according to Eggum.

âÄúBecause theyâÄôre young, a lot of them look forward to the [high-quality] competition,âÄù Eggum said. âÄúWe were fine with [the schedule]; weâÄôve got a young team and want to see where weâÄôre at.âÄù