Ness, Thorn win titles; Gophers finish in 2nd place

No. 1 Iowa claimed the conference team crown and had all 10 wrestlers finish fourth or better.

Derek Wetmore

The Gophers placed second in this weekendâÄôs Big Ten Tournament as they watched rival Iowa claim the conference title. Minnesota had four wrestlers competing in the finals on Sunday, with both Jayson Ness and Mike Thorn earning Big Ten crowns. No. 1 Ness (133 pounds), No. 2 Thorn (141), No. 3 Scott Glasser (174) and No. 5 Sonny Yohn (197) all competed in the finals in their respective weight classes for the Gophers. âÄúI think the guys wrestled real well. We had every guy wrestle at or above their seed,âÄù head assistant coach Joe Russell said. âÄúItâÄôs always more fun when you win.âÄù Ness entered the tournament ranked No. 1 nationally, and he defeated Tyler Graff of Wisconsin to advance to the final and keep his undefeated senior season intact. Ness matched up and earned a decision against No. 2 Daniel Dennis of Iowa, 5-4, to solidify his immaculate record. Ness was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Year for his performance this season, becoming the seventh Gophers wrestler to receive that accolade. Second-seeded Thorn pulled a minor upset when he defeated No. 1 Reece Humphrey by decision in the 141 final. Thorn carried a 1-0 lead into the third period with Humphrey and secured a takedown with less than 30 seconds remaining to earn an eventual 3-1 victory. Thorn is the first Minnesota wrestler to earn a title at the 141 weight class. âÄúIt was pretty special,âÄù Thorn said. âÄúI feel more confident now that I beat the No. 2 guy in the country, and I want to carry this momentum into the NCAA tournament,âÄù he said. Through the first six matches in the finals round, Minnesota had two champions already, and Iowa had failed to earn any after No. 1 Brent Metcalf of Iowa was upset at 149. However, IowaâÄôs Jay Borschel defeated Glasser at 174 to cement IowaâÄôs place atop the podium this weekend. âÄúI was disappointed because weâÄôve been training pretty hard these past couple weeks and I wanted to showcase that,âÄù Glasser said. Glasser finished the conference schedule with only three losses, all at the hands of Borschel. GlasserâÄôs second-place finish in the Big Ten earned him a national tournament bid. Sonny Yohn also ended an impressive tournament run with a second-place finish after dropping his finals match to WisconsinâÄôs Trevor Brandvold . Yohn defeated top seed Chad Beatty in the semifinal round to advance to the championship. Dustin Schlatter (157) was injured during practice this week and was forced to take an injury default for this tournament. Schlatter was originally seeded No. 1 for the Big Ten tournament, but the bracket was reseeded to not include him when it was discovered that he would not be wrestling. Because Schlatter was originally seeded, he is eligible to receive an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament . If he qualifies, Russell said he expects Schlatter to compete in the national tournament. Russell said Schlatter and Cody Yohn (165 ) will await the announcement of at-large bids Tuesday to find out if they qualified for the national tournament, but seven of their teammates have already qualified, including Ness, Thorn, Glasser, Yohn, Zach Sanders (125 ), Mario Mason (149) and Ben Berhow (heavyweight). Ness is in search of his fourth All-American honor in his fourth and final trip to the tournament. Berhow will attempt to back-up his third-place finish at the Big Ten Tournament in his third trip to the national tournament in as many years. Thorn and Sanders will each make their second trip, while Mason, Glasser and Yohn will all make their debuts on the national tournament stage. Wrestlers who advance to the national tournament will compete in Omaha, Neb., March 18-20 . The top 33 wrestlers in each weight class receive an invitation to the national tournament. âÄúThe teamâÄôs looking good [heading into NCAAâÄôs]. ThereâÄôs a lot of potential for us, and weâÄôre a dangerous tournament team,âÄù Glasser said.