Former Gophers wrestler Jayson Ness took another step toward making the Olympic team.
Ness won the 65-kilogram (143 pounds) title in freestyle on Saturday at the Dave Schultz Memorial International in Colorado Springs, Colo., thereby securing a spot in the U.S. Olympic team trials April 8-10 in Iowa City, Iowa.
Ness, the 2010 NCAA champion as a college senior, dominated four opponents. He won his first match on a pin at 1 minute, 47 seconds, and then got three technical falls on scores of 12-1, 10-0 and 10-0.
He beat B.J. Futrell of the Titan Mercury WC in the final, during which he got three takedowns.
“I had a great day all day long,” said Ness, an administrative assistant with the Gophers wrestling team. “I was very sharp. Futrell is a great wrestler and a great guy, but I was able to control position with him to get to my attacks.”
Nick Dardanes, another former Gopher, scored the only point on Ness. Dardanes went 3-1 in his other matches.
Ness, a four-time All-America wrestler who competed for Bloomington Kennedy in high school, holds the Gophers’ program record in pins (73) and ranks third in career wins (148-15).
He received the Dan Hodge Trophy, given to the nation’s best wrestler, in 2010.
Four other Gophers also competed. In freestyle, Zach Sanders went 1-2 at 57 kilograms.
In Greco-Roman, Alec Ortiz went 3-1 and placed third at 75 kilograms; Dylan Ness, Jayson’s younger brother, went 2-2, and Chris Dardanes, Nick’s twin brother, went 0-2.