MADISON, WIS. – A day after seeing their chance at the Big Ten wrestling championship disappear in the semifinals, the Gophers rebounded Sunday to finish third and land five top-three placewinners.
Heavyweight Tony Nelson won his third consecutive Big Ten title, while Chris Dardanes, Nick Dardanes, Danny Zilverberg and Scott Schiller finished third. The Gophers also got fourth-place finishes from David Thorn, Logan Storley and Kevin Steinhaus, while an injured Dylan Ness finished sixth.
Penn State, led by four-time conference champions David Taylor at 165 pounds and Ed Ruth at 184, won its fourth consecutive Big Ten title. The Nittany Lions, the three-time defending NCAA champions, scored 140.5 points to edge runner-up Iowa, which had 135. Both Penn State and Iowa had five finalists, but the Nittany Lions crowned two champions and the Hawkeyes one.
The Gophers finished with 118.5 points, and Ohio State (86.5) and Nebraska (79) rounded out the top five.
All nine Gophers placewinners advanced to the NCAA championships, which will be March 20-22 in Oklahoma City.
Nelson, a senior who has won the past two NCAA heavyweight titles, scored a 2-1 tiebreaker victory over Indiana’s second-seeded Adam Chalfant. With the victory, Nelson (26-4) avenged a 3-2 loss from earlier this season.
The Gophers went 7-1 in Sunday’s consolation semifinals, with the only loss being Ness’ injury forfeit at 157. That set up the placement matches.
At 133, Thorn fell 6-3 to Purdue’s Cashe Quiroga to finish fourth.
The Dardanes brothers both finished third. Chris, at 141, scored an 8-4 decision over Michigan’s Stephen Dutton III. At 149, Nick beat Michigan’s Eric Grajales 12-5.
Zilverberg, seeded sixth at 165, took third with a 4-3 decision over Northwestern’s third-seeded Pierce Harger.
At 174, Storley took fourth, falling 2-1 to Penn State’s Matt Brown.
Kevin Steinhaus, at 184, fell 6-4 in the third-place match against Michigan’s Domenic Abounader.
Schiller rebounded from a semifinal loss with a 6-1 decision over Northwestern’s Alex Polizzi for third place.