Minn. dominates Bison Open

The Gophers won seven titles and had multiple Minnesota championship fights.

Mark Mowery

The Minnesota wrestling team, ranked fifth in multiple pre-season polls, started its season on the road at the Bison Open in Fargo this weekend and didnâÄôt disappoint. The Gophers used an aggressive and attacking attitude to win seven individual titles in the squadâÄôs fifth-consecutive year competing in the tournament. âÄúThey wrestled very aggressively. We want to be aggressive, and we want to dominate people, and I think we did that,âÄù head coach J Robinson said. The Bison Open included five Minnesota wrestlers who successfully defended titles. Along with these champions, 14 wrestlers reached championship rounds for the Gophers. Though the field was not nearly as competitive as Big Ten powerhouses, the team retained a strong approach that showed. âÄúYou have to be very aggressive,âÄù Robinson said. âÄúWe want them to be able to attack all the time and score as many points as they can. ItâÄôs about attitude. ItâÄôs about a very aggressive, very dominating attitude.âÄù Senior Jayson Ness won the 133-pound division for his third Bison Open championship. Ness accumulated three falls before colliding with teammate freshman David Thorn . The two shared the title. Thorn had an impressive three-match run, winning two by decision and the semifinal match by third-period technical fall to advance to the finals. Redshirt freshman Thane Antczak made a solid debut taking fifth in the division, scoring a fall in the fifth-place match. Redshirt sophomore Zach Sanders won his second-consecutive title at the Bison Open, taking the 125 division with two victories by fall, a 13-6 decision and a 17-7 major decision in the final. The 141 division was dominated by Minnesota, which took first, second and third. Redshirt junior Mike Thorn won two matches by fall and one by major decision before defeating teammate freshman Bart Reiter by technical fall in the final. Meanwhile, redshirt junior Jake Mellmer won the third-place match by a 5-4 decision, capping a clean sweep for the Gophers. The two final wrestlers in the 149 division were also in maroon and gold, as redshirt freshman Mario Mason won a 7-4 decision over teammate freshman Danny Zilverberg . The 165 division saw freshman Alec Ortiz lose in the championship by decision to North Dakota State sophomore Tyler Johnson, 9-7. The 174 division was another testament to the GophersâÄô domination of the Open, as all four semi-finalists were Minnesota wrestlers. Junior Scott Glasser defeated freshman Kevin Steinhaus 14-1 in the final. Redshirt freshman Cody Yohn defeated teammate senior Matt Everson via fall to claim third place. Redshirt sophomore Sonny Yohn defeated redshirt junior Joe Nord by a 10-2 major decision in the 197 division in another all-Minnesota final. In the heavyweight division, redshirt junior Ben Berhow shared the championship with freshman Tony Nelson . Berhow garnered a fall and major decision on the way to the title, while Nelson had decisions of 2-1 and 7-0. Freshman Jake Kettler took third with a close 3-2 decision in the third-place match. With the resounding victory, the Gophers made a statement that they are back in the hunt for a national championship. âÄúItâÄôs not just about winning, but itâÄôs about how you win. ThatâÄôs very, very important to start out early so that you can dominate throughout the year,âÄù Robinson said. Minnesota will return to action Nov. 21 in Omaha, Neb., to participate in the Kaufman-Brand Open.