Davids awaits third chance

Allison Younge

Even before the Gophers wrestling season began, second-ranked junior Jason Davids fixed his eyes on one Big Ten rival opponent.
Indiana’s Roger Chandler held top billing at 142 pounds, and Davids eagerly awaited an opportunity to knock off the veteran Hoosier and move into the No. 1 position. After two tournament losses to Chandler this season, Davids (31-3) awaits his final shot at Chandler, during the NCAA tournament. Davids hopes the third match will be the charm.
“The same thing has happened to him twice,” Minnesota coach J Robinson said. “When you get caught the first time, it’s easy to say it won’t happen again. The second time you know there’s a pattern. Davids knows what he needs to do to win.”
The Davids-Chandler epic began on Nov. 29 at the Northern Open in Madison, Wis. Davids had just come off of a 13-7 victory over Northern Iowa’s Glenn Pero in the semifinals, earning a chance at Chandler, the No. 1 position and the tournament title.
Indiana’s steady veteran, however, had his own ideas about the match’s outcome. Chandler held on to his ranking, took home the Northern Open title and handed Davids his first loss of the season in a 9-4 decision.
Ninety-nine days later, on Mar. 9, Davids and Chandler were set for a second battle in the Big Ten championship bout at 142. After a quick pin, a major decision and a decision in the first three rounds of the Big Tens, Davids appeared ready for a Chandler rematch in the finals.
“When I step on the mat, I’ll be focused,” Davids said before the meeting. “I’m ready to go.”
The match momentum was quickly won by Chandler in the first period after he nearly pinned Davids, scoring five points on a nearfall and takedown. The match continued with Chandler at the helm until the final buzzer sounded in a 13-6 victory.
At the NCAAs, Chandler and Davids will be seeded in the same bracket — and are likely to meet in the semifinals. Even after suffering two losses to Chandler this year, Davids remains positive.
“My advantage is that I’m in better shape than him,” Davids said.
Robinson believes he knows the winning formula for Davids if another Chandler match arises.
“He’s got to wrestle to a draw in the first period. Even if the score is 0-0. Even if he gets a stalling warning,” Robinson said. “If Davids and Chandler are tied after the first period, Davids is going to win the match.”