Make that 77; Iowa tops Minnesota again

The Gophers (15-4-1, 6-1-1 Big Ten) suffered their first Big Ten loss of the dual meet season and in so doing, handed the Hawkeyes the regular season championship.

Derek Wetmore

The Big Ten dual season championship was there for Minnesota to take Sunday, but a come-from-behind effort was quashed on a day that must have been bittersweet for J Robinson, who was honored before the meet for 25 years at the helm of the program.

âÄúItâÄôs great, you donâÄôt think about it much, but I guess 25 years is a long time,âÄù Robinson joked after his teamâÄôs 19-12 loss at the hands of Iowa.

âÄúWe had a chance to win it, we just didnâÄôt do what we needed to do.âÄù

The Gophers (15-4-1, 6-1-1 Big Ten) suffered their first Big Ten loss of the dual meet season and in so doing, handed the Hawkeyes the regular season championship.

Iowa, now on a 77-dual unbeaten streak, finished the year 8-0 in the Big Ten and has the last three national championships to its name.

Minnesota fell behind early, dropping three straight decisions to open the dual, but some after-intermission fireworks almost made for a storybook day for Robinson.

Mike Thorn (141-pounds) was upset by IowaâÄôs Montell Marion to put the Gophers in an early hole, 9-0.

Danny Zilverberg (149) responded to the pressure, though, earning a sudden victory in extra time to send the announced crowd of 7,527 at Williams Arena into an uproar.

It was the biggest draw of the season for Minnesota, wrestling for the first time this season at Williams, though the blizzard-like conditions may have hurt attendance.

If driving conditions were dangerous Sunday, someone forgot to tell the Hawkeyes fans, who traveled well and were at times louder than their maroon and gold-clad counterparts, for example when Derek St. John notched a major decision over Matt Mincey at 157 just before the break.

After intermission, however, the Gophers were favored in four of five matches, and they came out swinging.

Cody Yohn (165) received a decision to get the ball rolling and cut IowaâÄôs lead to 13-6.

Scott Glasser then earned a come-from-behind, upset victory that breathed life into the Minnesota contingent of the crowd, and gave the Gophers hope in the dual.

Glasser was one of five seniors honored at intermission for senior night. Also honored were Ben Berhow, Thorn, Brent Eidenschink, and Joe Nord.

After the dual, Glasser was not focused on his individual win, but rather the teamâÄôs loss to a bitter rival and the relinquished chance at a dual meet season championship.

âÄúWeâÄôre really disappointed. It was ours to take and I felt we were the better team, but it just didnâÄôt fall in our hands this time,âÄù Glasser said.

Kevin Steinhaus (184) followed GlasserâÄôs win with a comeback decision his own, and later drew praise from his coach.

âÄúSteinhaus is a great example of what youâÄôve got to do. He got taken down but he stayed in the guyâÄôs face,âÄù Robinson said.

âÄúThis Iowa thing âÄî everybodyâÄôs so afraid of them but you stay and wrestle them up, and theyâÄôre human. Then it just becomes a battle of wills, but you have to be able to fight like that.âÄù

It was not to be for Minnesota, however, Sonny Yohn (197) dropped a crucial decision. Yohn has only wrestled once since returning from a late-December knee injury, and Robinson said his conditioning is not where it needs to be.

He was visibly exhausted by the third period, and his opponent took full advantage. Yohn also needed an injury timeout late in the match after tweaking one âÄî or possibly both âÄî of his knees.

Tony Nelson then dropped a decision at heavyweight in which he once again struggled to initiate offense.

âÄúNelsonâÄôs got to stop standing around. HeâÄôs done that in a couple matches,âÄù Robinson said. âÄúHeâÄôs waiting to ride the guy but he has to be the guy to initiate action and score points.âÄù

âÄúWe werenâÄôt dominant tonight, so there should be something learned from this,âÄù he added.

The 1986-87 wrestling team (RobinsonâÄôs first) was on hand with athletics director Joel Maturi for a video tribute and a ceremony honoring the 25-year head coach.

âÄúProbably the biggest thing IâÄôve said is that itâÄôs the people that have come through and the guys that you get to work with, the things that theyâÄôve done and accomplished, thatâÄôs the coolest thing of the 25 years. ItâÄôs cool just to have been a small part of the whole thing,âÄù Robinson said.