Minn. wrestlers dominate trio of duals

by Derek Wetmore

That No. 3 Minnesota swept its trio of meets this weekend was no surprise, but its level of dominance may have been.

Minnesota (6-1) took down No. 15 Nebraska 26-8 Thursday before handling Cal State Bakersfield 29-6 and blanking Cal State Fullerton 39-0.

âÄúThe team is just wrestling well. We knew we could dominate like that but it doesnâÄôt always work out as well as you hope,âÄù assistant coach Brandon Eggum said.

Minnesota, which will open the Big Ten season in a month, was favored in all three duals. Senior captain Mike Thorn (141 pounds) said prior to competition that if his team âÄútook care of business,âÄù it should get back on track after dropping a dual to No. 2 Oklahoma State.

The team did so by winning the matches they should, and picking up a few upsets along the way.

Thorn continued his impressive season to date, recording a fall, a major and an 8-5 decision.

Tony Nelson (heavyweight) and Kevin Steinhaus (184) continued their impressive redshirt freshman seasons with upsets at Nebraska.

Steinhaus, who recently vaulted to No. 15 at his weight class, upset the CornhuskerâÄôs eight-ranked wrestler, Josh Ihnen, 3-2.

Nelson upset No. 7 Tucker Lane with a 3-1 decision in extra time. NelsonâÄôs ranking, currently ninth, will likely rise after the upset.

But that doesnâÄôt mean Nelson has the starting heavyweight spot secured as Ben Berhow wrestled in both California duals and won a pair of 9-3 decisions.

Head coach J Robinson said last week that the team is yet to make a decision at heavyweight, and both wrestlers will compete in the Southern Scuffle later this month.

Zach Sanders (125) had an impressive weekend, recording three majors and collectively outscoring opponents 57-25.

Minnesota also took another step toward deciding starting spots at 133 and 157.

Bart Reiter (133) went 1-1 and Thane Antczak won his only match. Reiter dropped a match against CSU-Bakersfield that Eggum said they felt they could have one.

Alec Ortiz (157) dropped a pair of matches before Pat Smith earned a decision in the weekendâÄôs final dual.

Eggum said the team will wait until after the Southern Scuffle and possibly even National Duals in January to decide on the final undecided weights.

By that time, the team may have Jake Dietchler (157) back. He is sitting out for accepting prize money in a tournament, and is also dealing with a concussion, Robinson said.