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|Golden Gophers storm to big victory over Oklahoma State to win NWCA National Duals|
By Roger Moore Special to TheMat.com
MINNEAPOLIS – A year ago, Minnesota beat Oklahoma State in Stillwater to claim top honors in the NWCA Cliff Keen National Duals.
In 2013, they did it in front of the home folks.
Pins by Logan Storley and Tony Nelson highlighted the Gophers’ impressive performance on Saturday night in taking down the previously unbeaten Cowboys, 28-9. Earlier in the day, J Robinson’s squad avenged another regular season loss, dispatching the Iowa Hawkeyes.
“Eight of the best teams in the country, this is exactly what wrestling needs,” said Robinson, sporting crutches after recent surgery. “Dual meets are exciting, they were exciting tonight. People really have to come out and support this because today is an example of what duals can be.”
The Gophers (16-2) dropped a December dual to Oklahoma State on home mats. This time around, UM won seven of 10 bouts.
After three straight wins, including Nick Dardanes’ major decision at 141 pounds, OSU (17-1) mounted a comeback. Jordan Oliver (28-0) needed a late escape to avoid overtime against Dylan Ness at 149 in a 6-4 decision; Alex Dieringer (26-2) beat Danny Zilverberg, 3-1, at 157; and Tyler Caldwell (26-3) beat Cody Yohn, 7-2, at 165 to put the scoreboard at 10-9 in UM’s favor.
Storley entered his match with Chris Perry at 174 ranked No. 1. Perry (26-2) beat Storley in the finals at the Southern Scuffle but took a loss earlier this month.
The two were locked in a 1-1 match in the first set of tiebreakers when Storley, from the bottom position, grabbed a hold of Perry’s head during a scramble and scored a defensive fall. Williams Arena erupted and UM took a 16-9 lead with three bouts to wrestle.
“I heard the crowd and (assistant coach Brandon) Eggum was pointing and (official Mike Hagerty) called the fall,” said Storley, an All-American as a freshman last season. “I can’t argue with it. I knew it was tight, locked in, but I didn’t know.
“I wrestled him at the Scuffle in a 7-6 match. He is really tough on top but I reversed him twice last time.”
Storley (22-1) beat third-ranked Mike Evans earlier in the day.
“Beating the 2 and 3 guys on the same day, it is a grind; I’m beat up,” added Storley.
Oklahoma State tried to get back into the dual at 184 pounds where senior Chris Chionuma led Kevin Steinhaus by one late in the third. But the two-time All-American fought off a shot, nearly ripping Chiomuma’s arm off to score a takedown in the final 25 seconds for a 4-3 win. It was Steinhaus’ third victory over Chionuma this year, all requiring third period rallies.
“(Chionuma) is tough to wrestle; he is very offensive,” said Steinhaus (23-1). “It is tough to get your hands on him, but I just had to keep wrestling.
“Being at home for the National Duals is nice. And to beat Iowa and Oklahoma State in the same day is a great feeling. And to do it in such dominating fashion, you aren’t going to forget that. The pins, the overtime wins, the comebacks … it’s great.”
Still with a pulse, down 19-9, Blake Rosholt was OSU’s final bullet. But the junior lost to Scott Schiller (22-3), 6-2, and the dual was over – except for two of the top three heavyweights in the land.
O-State’s Alan Gelogaev beat No. 1 Dom Bradley of Missouri earlier Saturday. He had no such luck against 2012 NCAA champion Tony Nelson, who, during a ride, snuck in a half-nelson and turned over Gelogaev for a pin at the 4:51 mark.
“That is not how we drew it up or what we expected to happen, but that is what happens when you wrestle hard,” said Robinson. “We had a lot of guys wrestle hard on Saturday in both matches.
David Thorn gave the Gophers a 3-0 lead with a 5-2 win over Eddie Klimara at 125 pounds. Chris Dardanes lost to Jon Morrison in the finals of the Southern Scuffle. On Saturday night, Dardanes won a 4-2 marathon, securing a reversal in the second set of tiebreakers.
It was the fourth time Oklahoma State and Minnesota have met in the National Duals finals. The Cowboys edged UM in 1999, but Robinson’s group came out on top in 2006, 2012 and 2013.
Oklahoma State beat UM, 22-15, in the Sports Pavilion last December. Storley, Ness, and Thorn did not suit up that afternoon and Nick Dardanes was pinned by Julian Feikert.
After falling to the Gophers, Iowa came back to face Minnesota for third. The Tigers, who hammered Ohio State on Friday night, came to wrestle and beat the Hawkeyes when Bradley beat Bobby Telford in the finale.
Brian Smith’s troops pulled off upsets at 125 and 157 where Alan Waters (27-0) beat Matt McDonough and Kyle Bradley (24-12) gave Derek St. John his first loss in 23 matches this season. Ramos received a forfeit at 133 pounds.
In the semifinals, the Cowboys beat Missouri, 22-9, highlighted by Gelogaev’s 4-3 victory over Bradley. The two met earlier this season at the Southern Scuffle where the Tiger senior won 2-1.
On Saturday afternoon, the Russian scored off a slick ankle pick in the opening stanza. The two traded penalty points after an exchange in the second period as the two went off the mat and onto the Williams Arena floor.
“I did what I had to do,” said the Moscow native, who has missed the last two NCAA Championships due to injury. “I knew I had to score at the beginning to open (Bradley) up.”
A proficient thrower from a number of upper-body tie-ups, Gelogaev has continued to work on leg attacks as opponents have become more leery of tying up.
Missouri took a 6-3 lead after victories by Waters and Nicholas Hucke (11-11) at 125 and 141 pounds, respectively. But Oklahoma State responded with five straight wins, including Perry’s 3-2 decision of Todd Porter at 174 pounds. Porter beat Perry earlier this month. Morrison avenged two season losses, beating Nathan McCormick (28-4), 5-1, at 133 pounds.
Minnesota rallied from a 9-0 hole to beat Iowa, 22-15, in the other semifinal. After McDonough’s victory at 125, Tony Ramos (22-0) continued his impressive season with a pin at 133 pounds of Chris Dardanes.
But the Gophers quickly took the lead with a major by Nick Dardanes at 141 and a pin by Ness at 149. St. John (22-1) and Nick Moore (15-6) gave the Hawks a 15-10 advantage, but UM swept the final four weights, including Storley’s win over Mike Evans (16-3) at 174 pounds.
“We got reversed and we got ridden,” said Iowa head coach Tom Brands. “We spend a lot of time underneath the guy at the end of periods. “Our demeanor changed and we cannot let that happen.
“(Minnesota) won six and got a major and a pin. We have to compete better; we have to compete from the start of the match to the end. That’s the bottom line.”
Iowa won the regular season meeting, 16-15.