Minnesota narrowly wins over Rutgers

Brett Pfarr earned a technical fall in the first match of the upset victory.

Brandon Kingsley overpowers Rutgers wrestler John Van Brill in the 157-pound weight class matchup at the Sports Pavilion on Sunday.

Image by Liam James Doyle

Brandon Kingsley overpowers Rutgers wrestler John Van Brill in the 157-pound weight class matchup at the Sports Pavilion on Sunday.

by Jack White

Redshirt sophomore Chris Pfarr lost the last match of the dual, but the Sports Pavilion crowd still applauded. 
Even with the loss, No. 21 Minnesota edged No. 8 Rutgers Sunday by a final score of 17-16.
“It’s one match, but it’s confidence,” head assistant coach Brandon Eggum said.  “All 10 guys showed up and wrestled well. We’re capable of having great wins over these very solid teams.” 
Eggum led the Gophers (6-6, 2-2 Big Ten) in the match with head coach J Robinson away due to his brother’s recent death.
Eggum asked the team before the dual to get the victory for Robinson, and redshirt junior Brett Pfarr responded right out of the gate.
Pfarr, ranked No. 4 at 197 pounds, had 10 takedowns in his match against senior Hayden Hrymack and earned a technical fall. His victory gave the Gophers a 5-point lead to start the match. 
“I kind of like to go out first,” Pfarr said. “You get to warm up, and you’re right there, out and wrestling.”
The Scarlet Knights came back in the second match of the night. Gophers No. 7 Michael Kroells and Scarlet Knights No. 16 Billy Smith kept fighting until overtime, but Smith had an escape in the closing seconds to win 2-1.
The Gophers lost the next two matches before redshirt freshman Tommy Thorn was able to close the deficit.
Ranked No. 10 at 141 pounds, Thorn earned a near fall in the second period against No. 4 Anthony Ashnault and held on for an 8-1 victory.
“He wrestles one of the top guys in his weight class and has really done a great job of dominating his opponents this season,” Eggum said.
Redshirt sophomore Jake Short put the Gophers ahead 11-9 with a victory at 149 pounds, and redshirt junior Brandon Kingsley took the mat after that.
He had a takedown and a reversal in the first two periods against redshirt freshman John Van Brill to take a 4-0 lead and held on for a 4-2 victory.
Redshirt freshman Brandon Krone lost at 165 pounds to cut the Gophers lead to 14-12, but redshirt sophomore Nick Wanzek came back with an 8-4 victory at 174 pounds against redshirt junior Phillip Bakuckas.
“Personally, I wish I would have taken it to him a little more in the third period,” Wanzek said. “I laid back a little bit and scored on a reshot.”
Wanzek’s victory gave Minnesota a 17-12 lead, and Chris Pfarr’s loss in the final match wasn’t enough for Rutgers to avoid the upset.
“Really was a great team effort,” Eggum said. “To win matches like this you need guys to step up and get big wins.”