Wrestling unattached, Gophers dominate at Bison Open

by Derek Wetmore

Even though team scores werenâÄôt recorded, the Gophers wrestling team cleaned up Saturday in North Dakota. The Bison Open meet isnâÄôt one of the 16 dates that the program pays for, so Minnesota wrestlers drove to Fargo on their own, paid for a hotel and wrestled as âÄúunattached.âÄù The Gophers won eight of 10 classes outright âÄî with Dylan Ness and Danny Zilverberg drawing at 149 pounds âÄî in their first action of the season. The team chose to not have Ness and Zilverberg wrestle in the finals, because Ness will redshirt this season and the team wanted to avoid possible injury, so the two Gophers shared the title. With Mario MasonâÄôs transfer and Mike Thorn having locked up the 141-pound weight class, several wrestlers are flocking to 149 pounds to take a shot at whatâÄôs seen as an open spot. âÄúRight now, to be honest, theyâÄôre all very close,âÄù assistant coach Brandon Eggum said of the 149 weightâÄôs competitors. âÄúItâÄôs kind of up in the air âĦ I would say Danny Zilverberg has a slight edge.âÄù Captains Zach Sanders (125), Thorn (141) and Sonny Yohn (197) all won titles. Thane Antczak (133) defeated GopherâÄôs redshirt freshman Bart Reiter, advancing his case in the competition between the two at 133. David Thorn, who did not wrestle this weekend, is also in the mix, Eggum said. David Thorn, Kaleb Young and Ben Berhow had minor injuries and did not compete. All are practicing with the team, and Eggum said he hopes they will wrestle next weekend at the Kaufman-Brand Open. With Berhow out, redshirt freshman Tony Nelson won the title at heavyweight. However, Berhow was a national qualifier last year and if healthy, will likely be the starter at heavyweight. With Kaleb Young out, redshirt freshman Kevin Steinhaus took the title at 184. Young is âÄúmore questionableâÄù to return next weekend than Thorn and Berhow, Eggum said, so SteinhausâÄô chances of making the final roster improved with his showing Saturday. âÄúKevin looked great,âÄù Eggum said. âÄúHe was very dominant. I think it was a really great tournament for him. He made a pretty good push to be a starter at 184 at this point.âÄù Scott Glasser (184) and Cody Yohn (165) also won the title for their respective weight classes. Etc. Head assistant coach Joe Russell and his wife Sadie had a baby boy this week. Russell will take the week off from the team.