Penn State edges Gophers for NCAA wrestling title

  • Article by: CODY STAVENHAGEN , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 23, 2014 - 12:05 AM

Tony Nelson and Dylan Ness lost in their championship matches as the U fell short of the upset.

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Penn State coach Cael Sanderson had a big hug for his 165-pounder, David Taylor, whose victory punctuated the Nittany Lions’ fourth straight NCAA title.

– Tony Nelson, the Gophers’ two-time heavyweight champion, sat slumped on a wall as a trainer taped his left ankle.

Quite the microcosm of the Gophers’ final session at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on Saturday night.

It wasn’t supposed to end this way, not for a four-time All-America, not for a Minnesota team that won seven matches earlier that day.

But it’s what happened.

Penn State won its fourth consecutive national title with 109.5 points.

The Gophers finished second at 104 despite leading 104-101.5 entering the finals.

“You’re right there, you got a chance to win it, then it slips away from you,” Gophers coach J Robinson said. “We came here to do something, and when you fall short, it’s painful. You carry it for a while.”

With Penn State in the lead after Ed Ruth’s victory at 184 pounds, Nelson led in the third period of his title match against North Carolina State’s Nick Gwiazdowski. Then Gwiazdowski scored a takedown. Nelson twisted his left ankle and had to take injury time.

The match resumed, but Nelson couldn’t score. He lost a 4-2 decision, and with it, the opportunity to be a three-time national champion.

“It’s disappointing,” Nelson said. “My goal was to be three-timer, and I fell one short. Not the best way to end a career.”

Despite Nelson’s loss, 157-pounder Dylan Ness entered his championship match against Oklahoma State’s Alex Dieringer, an old high school rival, with a chance to put the Gophers back on top. And if Ness could pin his opponent, the Gophers would have a 4.5-point lead entering the final match, which featured Penn States unbeaten 165-pounder David Taylor.

Ness came in with three pins in his past four matches, but couldn’t hang with the savvy Dieringer. Dieringer dominated from the start and notched a 13-4 major decision to take the title.

“Once I got that nearfall, I was up 5-0 I think, I knew I had it locked,” Dieringer said. “I know how to wrestle smart when it comes to a guy like that. I’ve wrestled him many times before.”

The loss officially removed the Gophers from title contention. Oklahoma State finished third, and Iowa and Edinboro rounded out the top five.

The losses by Nelson and Ness altered Saturday’s narrative for Minnesota. In the morning session, the Gophers made a charge at a team title as 174-pounder Logan Storley and Scott Schiller (197) each won third-place matches, David Thorn (133) and Kevin Steinhaus (184) won fifth-place matches and Daniel Zilverberg (165) took seventh.

The huge performance erased the half-point lead Penn State had on Minnesota at the beginning of the day.

Storley, who beat longtime friend and rival Robert Kokesh of Nebraska via a 3-1 sudden victory, said the nail-biting team standings motivated the Gophers.

“Every time you get a little tired or your body’s hurting, you look at that team score and you know that every match, one point or half a point is going to make a difference,” Storley said.

  • related content

  • Chart: NCAA wrestling recap

    Saturday March 22, 2014

    Tournament recapFinal Team Standings1. Penn State 109.52. Gophers 1043. Oklahoma State 96.54. Iowa 78.55. Edinboro 626. Ohio State 577. Cornell 538. Virginia Tech 499. Northwestern 4610. Oklahoma 45Others11. Nebraska 43.513. Illinois 4116....

  • Gophers heavyweight Tony Nelson tried to fend off N.C. State’s Nick Gwiazdowski during Saturday night’s NCAA title match.

  • North Carolina State’s Nick Gwiazdowski got deep in a double-leg takedown attempt against the Gophers’ Tony Nelson during the heavyweight final on Saturday. Nelson lost 4-2, ending his chance to win a third NCAA title.

  • The Gophers’ Dylan Ness, right, scrambled against Oklahoma State’s Alex Dieringer during their 157-pound championship match on Saturday night. Ness lost by major decision, and the Gophers’ national title hopes ended.

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Minnesota - LP: R. Nolasco 8 FINAL
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NC State 24
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(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
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Florida 0
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(25) Washington 17 FINAL
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Utah State 7 FINAL
Tennessee 38
SMU 0 FINAL
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Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
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(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
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(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
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Wyoming
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Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
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Montreal 20
Winnipeg 30 FINAL
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Hamilton
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Calgary
Phoenix 77 FINAL
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2014 season     
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