Minnesota makes statement on Senior Day

It was a storybook ending in nearly every way for the Minnesota wrestling team. The seniors won on Senior Day, Jayson Ness tied a school record and Sonny Yohn snapped a seven-match losing streak. But most importantly, the Gophers beat Indiana 22-13 on Sunday in their final home dual of the 2008-09 season . It was even a bit of a comeback story, because two days earlier, Minnesota was steamrolled 29-6 in Ames by Iowa State. âÄúGoing out in style in front of the home crowd is a great feeling,âÄù senior Tyler Safratowich said after he capped his career at the Sports Pavilion with what he described as a âÄúmini upsetâÄù over the HoosiersâÄô 13th-ranked Kurt Kinser. Safratowich and Gordon Bierschenk, who is listed on the roster as a redshirt junior but will graduate with a degree in physiology this spring, had their families in town and were honored in a ceremony before SundayâÄôs dual. It was clear from the moment the whistle blew for SafratowichâÄôs match at 157 that both men planned to go out on top. âÄúThere was no way I was going to lose today,âÄù Bierschenk said, his lip swollen and bloody from a hard-fought victory over IndianaâÄôs Matt Powless âÄî one that was delayed several times to tend to both wrestlers nicks and cuts. The breaks just allowed Bierschenk to savor the moment a bit longer and to further erase from his mind the 14-4 loss he suffered to the CyclonesâÄô top-ranked Jake Varner on Friday night. âÄúAlong with wanting to come out and win today in front of the home crowd, I was kind of [ticked] that I got embarrassed like that [on Friday],âÄù Bierschenk said, adding âÄúIâÄôd love to see him [Varner] again, IâÄôd wrestle him a whole lot differently.âÄù But Bierschenk wasnâÄôt dwelling on it; just like Safratowich wasnâÄôt dwelling on his 10-6 Friday loss to eighth-ranked Cyler Sanderson. Senior Day had unfolded like it was supposed to. âÄúTyler wrestles a kid [Kinser] thatâÄôs ranked pretty high in the country and he pulls out a great win, then Gordon kind of sews up the whole dual meet for us [to end] his senior year,âÄù head coach J Robinson said. âÄúFor seniors, you canâÄôt do better than that.âÄù Ness ties Gophers career mark Jayson Ness caught IndianaâÄôs Matt Ortega in a half-nelson, flipped him and, a few seconds later, found himself at the top of the Minnesota record books. When the referee called for the pin just 2:48 into SundayâÄôs 133-pound match, Ness rose from the mat, looked to the Gophers bench and flashed 5-1 with his fingers. Fifty-one pins âÄî tied with Billy Pierce for most in Minnesota history âÄî in less than three full seasons of work. WhatâÄôs more, he predicted it on Saturday. Ness said Robinson asked how he was feeling physically and mentally; Ness responded, âÄúIâÄôm ready to tie the record tomorrow.âÄù