Wanzek’s last-second takedown not enough in Minnesota defeat

The Gophers had two losses by major decision and one loss by technical fall.

Sophomore Nick Wanzek contends against Jacob Morrissey of Purdue in the 174-pound weight class matchup at the Sports Pavilion on Sunday, Jan. 24.

Liam James Doyle, Daily File Photo

Sophomore Nick Wanzek contends against Jacob Morrissey of Purdue in the 174-pound weight class matchup at the Sports Pavilion on Sunday, Jan. 24.

Jack White

Redshirt sophomore Nick Wanzek wrestled one of his best matches of the year to put the Gophers in position to win against Illinois.
 
 
He was tied in the final seconds with No. 4 Zac Brunson, after the match was briefly stopped because of Brunson’s bloody nose. Then Wanzek flipped his opponent to earn a takedown and a victory, tying the dual with one match remaining.
 
 
The Gophers failed to capitalize on the victory. Redshirt sophomore Chris Pfarr lost at 184 pounds, and Minnesota fell 19-16 in its final Big Ten dual of the regular season.
 
 
“All they have to do is remember to wrestle their seven minutes. That’s all they’re doing,” head coach J Robinson said. “Right now we have some guys that aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do, and we’re running out of time.”
 
 
The dual started well for Minnesota, with two of its best wrestlers taking the mat first. No. 3 Brett Pfarr earned three takedowns of his opponent at 197 pounds to put Minnesota ahead 3-0.
 
 
Then No. 9 Michael Kroells earned a takedown at the end of the second period of the heavyweight match and later forced a near fall to take the match by major decision.
 
 
The Gophers also had an opportunity to win the next match at 125 pounds, as redshirt freshman Skyler Petry had his opponent’s leg off the mat with 10 seconds remaining.
 
 
He couldn’t complete the takedown, though, and lost to make the dual score 7-3.
 
 
Illinois took the lead after No. 2 Zane Richards earned a technical fall against redshirt junior Sam Brancale at 133 pounds. No. 6 Tommy Thorn answered for Minnesota in the next match with a 6-2 victory at 141 pounds.
 
 
“There’s three guys we leave a lot up to,” Robinson said. “We leave a lot up to [Brett Pfarr, Kroells and Thorn], and everybody’s expecting them to come through. But at some point in time, the other seven guys have to step up.”
 
 
No. 16 Jake Short won the next match for the Gophers, but the team dropped three of the last four to close the dual.
 
 
Redshirt junior Brandon Kingsley and redshirt freshman Brandon Krone both fell by major decision to put Illinois ahead 16-13. Wanzek then took the mat, with his takedown at the end giving him a 13-10 victory.
 
 
“My best advantage is in the third period with how we change,” Wanzek said. “Before every match, I’m just ready to go the full seven minutes as hard as I can and wrestle through every situation.”
 
 
The dual was tied at 16-16, but Chris Pfarr gave up two takedowns in the first period of the last match. He also allowed an escape and another takedown in the third to lose 8-4 and give Illinois the dual.
 
 
“You know, they feel bad,” Robinson said. “The question is do they feel bad enough to change? Everybody feels bad, but I don’t know if there’s enough pain associated with losing for some of them right now, and as a result, they don’t change. And we’re running out time because in three weeks is the Big Ten [Championships], and that’s where
you qualify for the nationals.”