Ness leads group of three Gophers to place at Nationals

Junior Jayson Ness led a trio of University of Minnesota wrestlers that made the podium with a third place finish in the 133-pound weight class at the NCAA Division I wrestling tournament in St. Louis, Mo. Ness garnered All-American honors for the third time in as many years âÄî he finished fifth and second at 125 in his freshmen and sophomore seasons âÄî while Zach Sanders and Tyler Safratowich earned their first recognition with respective finishes of sixth and eighth. The 11th-seeded Sanders, a redshirt freshman who wrestles at 125, proved a worthy man to fill the void left by NessâÄô move to 133. Two of the three losses he suffered en route to his sixth-place finish were to defending national champion Angel Escobedo of Indiana. Safratowich, in his senior season and unseeded at 157, upset the 10- and 7-seeds before falling to eventual runner-up Michael Poeta of Illinois in the quarterfinals. He bounced back with a 6-4 decision against Boise StateâÄôs Adam Hall, the eighth seed, to secure his first career All-American status. NessâÄô quest for an NCAA championship ended in the semifinals, where he lost for the third time this season to Ohio StateâÄôs Reece Humphrey. The match, which ended 1-0, was decided strictly by the two minutes of riding time Humphrey racked up in the second period. Ness managed a bit of redemption in the form of an 8-2 decision over IllinoisâÄô Jimmy Kennedy in the consolation semifinals. Ness lost to Kennedy by the same score in the third place match at the Big Ten championships. Iowa won the team championship for the second-straight year despite advancing only 149-pounder Brent Metcalf to a championship bout. And in that bout, Metcalf had his 69-match win streak snapped by Darrion Caldwell of North Carolina State. It was only MetcalfâÄôs second career defeat. His other loss came at the hands of Caldwell as well.