Junior Ness taking on a new and different challenge at 133-pounds

A few things have changed for junior wrestler Jayson Ness since his outstanding 2007-2008 sophomore season in which he posted a 39-2 overall record, tied his former coachâÄôs record for 20 pins in one season, and was ranked No. 1 in the nation all year in the 125-pound weight class. Ness has had to make some adjustments since last spring. Always a heavier 125-pounder, said assistant coach Brandon Eggum, a move to 133 just seemed to be the better fit this season. âÄúHeâÄôs done a great job this spring, summer and fall of getting in the weight room and making sure heâÄôs putting on any strength thatâÄôs necessary. His diligence is something thatâÄôs going to make the adjustment easier for him,âÄù head assistant coach Joe Russell said. There were multiple reasons for the transition, which has gone smoothly so far. âÄúHe was a big 125-pounder last year, thereâÄôs no doubt about it and he moved up. Also we had Zach Sanders , who at 125 was a very talented freshman for us,âÄù Eggum said. Sanders, a redshirt freshman last season , hopes to carry on the reign previously set by Ness in the 125-pound class, he said. He is currently ranked 19th nationally at 125. Sanders has learned his share from his predecessor. âÄúIf you wanted to be like a person on the team, JaysonâÄôs the person you want to be like,âÄù Sanders said. âÄúHe does everything right.âÄù âÄúI just got to keep working on stuff every day, coming with a good attitude and working at my weaknesses,âÄù Sanders said. Russell said he can see some of Ness in Sanders. âÄú[Zach] is a superstar like Jayson. HeâÄôs a superstar in the making, we should say,âÄù Russell said. âÄúI think [it was a good decision] for our lineup; I think it was a good decision for our team as well,âÄù Russell said. More than anything, the weight change has allowed Ness to be more comfortable and focus on the essentials. He no longer has to constantly be aware of keeping the weight off, something heâÄôs never really been used to in his wrestling career. âÄúMy weight is sitting really good now. I donâÄôt have to cut too much [weight], I feel strong when IâÄôm wrestling, I feel good,âÄù Ness said. âÄúLast year, a lot of my focus was on making sure that I kept my weight under control, making sure that I ate healthy, ate the right amount, so a little bit more weight management,âÄù he said. Not only can Ness afford to have a snack once in a while, he can now focus on those essentials of wrestling. âÄúHe can change his focus now, [as he is] getting better technically. He can focus more on the wrestling end of it, and less of âÄòI got to lose âÄúXâÄù amount of pounds this week,âÄù Russell said. Senior Dustin Schlatter agreed. âÄúHe can put most of his energy to wrestling and training, and heâÄôs definitely done that,âÄù Schlatter said. Ness will be able to do just that next Monday, when he competes at the prestigious NWCA All-Star Classic. âÄúLast year I went out there and got beat so IâÄôm going out with a new attitude this year. I really just want to win this match just to set the tone for the entire nation, to show them how IâÄôm going to wrestle, show how MinnesotaâÄôs going to wrestle this year,âÄù Ness said. Despite a tough 133 class this year, Ness is ready to show what heâÄôs all about. âÄúWe expect great things. ThereâÄôs nothing easy about college wrestling but a guy that works as hard as Jayson does, heâÄôs going to put himself in the mix,âÄù Russell said. Representing, leading, and working hard for this Gophers team is what Ness said he is all about. âÄúEach match you have to go in and approach it just like itâÄôs a national final,âÄù Ness said. âÄúEvery time you go out, you want to go out and dominate and make sure your opponent knows youâÄôre that much better.âÄù