Gophers dominate field at Bison Open

The team boasted seven individual titles at the season-opening meet.

Minnesotas Logan Storley (174 pounds) wrestles Virginia Techs Austin Gabel on Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, at Williams Arena.

File Photo, Mark Vancleave

Minnesota’s Logan Storley (174 pounds) wrestles Virginia Tech’s Austin Gabel on Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, at Williams Arena.

by Danny Chen

With the exception of the 2012-13 season, the Gophers have brought home seven or more individual titles at the Bison Open since they started competing at the meet in 2005.

No. 1 Minnesota continued that dominance Saturday, winning seven individual titles and having a wrestler compete in all 10 weight-class title matches.

Redshirt senior Nick Dardanes won his fourth consecutive title at the meet with a victory in the 141-pound weight class, and senior Logan Storley won the 174-pound weight class, his third Bison Open title.

Dardanes was 4-0 going into the first-place match, defeating two opponents by major decisions and one with a pin. In the title match, he defeated North Dakota State’s Mitchell Bengtson with an 8-4 decision.

“It was kind of expected for me to win the Bison Open,” Dardanes said. “Winning it the past three years, I was expected to win a fourth [title].”

Storley was also dominant in his weight class. He pinned his opponent in the quarterfinal just 25 seconds into the match and won the semifinal by an 11-0 major decision.

In the title match, Storley pinned South Dakota State’s Ben Schwery 24 seconds into the second period, giving him his three-peat.

“I think I wrestled well overall,” Storley said. “I wrestled offensive the whole time this tournament, and you know, this is my senior year. I want to make it exciting.”

The other Gophers that won titles were Sam Brancale, Chris Dardanes, Jake Short, Dylan Ness and Nick Wanzek.

Brancale, Short and Wanzek were competing for a starting spot in their respective weight classes — 125, 149 and 165.

They were pitted against teammates in their title matches.

Out of the three, the Gophers swept the top four positions in the 125- and 165-pound weight class competitions.

Head assistant coach Brandon Eggum mentioned last week that each of those three weight classes has a vacant starting spot that is up for grabs.

The Bison Open has given the team a better idea of who will take the starting positions.

“[The tournament] has definitely helped us moving forward on who the initial starter is,” Eggum said. “But one thing that we remind our guys is that this is a full season, so the wrestler who won that position right now is the frontrunner. [However], he has to wrestle every week, and he has to show that he can be aggressive and [score] points.”

Schiller leaves injured

Redshirt senior Scott Schiller suffered an injury in the title match against South Dakota State’s Nathan Rotert.

Schiller almost had a takedown at the edge when he felt that something was hurting. A trainer went over to Schiller, checked him out and advised him to discontinue the match.

Eggum said the injury wasn’t a serious one.

“We will see when we get back on Monday on where [Schiller] is at, and if he will be good to go as soon as this [upcoming] week,” Eggum said. “I am not entirely sure, but [we will] leave that to the trainers back home.”