Undefeated, no more.
The top-ranked Gophers couldn’t crawl out of an early deficit, falling to No. 2 Iowa 23-12 on Friday at Williams Arena in the 100th wrestling dual between the schools.
The Gophers (10-1, 5-1 Big Ten) lost four matches by a combined 14 points, but the opening match hurt the most. Gophers redshirt sophomore Brandon Kingsley was pinned at 4:27 in the second round by No. 7 Nick Moore in the 165-weight class, giving the Hawkeyes (11-0, 6-0) a 6-0 lead in front of 13, 630 fans.
“In any dual meet, you’re not expecting it and you get caught,” Gophers wrestling coach J Robinson said. “Brandon just got caught. It’s a 2-1 match at that point. You take that out of it and it’s a completely different match.”
Iowa tacked on another six points during the next two matches on decisions. Three-time All-America Logan Storley, ranked fourth in the 174-pound weight class, lost just his third match this season in a controversial, sudden-death decision to No. 2 Mike Evans.
“There wasn’t a stop,” said Robison on what the official ruled a takedown. “It was continual movement all the way through..”
The dual was all but decided after the 125-bout when a Hawkeyes technical fall put them up 20-3 with four matches left. No. 5 Thomas Gilman defeated Gophers true freshman Ethan Lizak, who participated in just his second career dual match.
The Gophers received their first decision during the fourth match of the night at 197 when No. 6 Scott Schiller defeated No. 3 Nathan Burak 3-1. Schiller, a two-time All-America, broke a 1-1 tie during the final seconds of the third by recording a takedown on Burak, a two-time All-America.
“Having such a rivalry with Iowa, it always stings when you lose to those guys,” Schiller said. “I’d just say it adds a little bit of fuel to the fire the next time we see them.”
It was one of four matches the Gophers would win, all on decisions. No. 1 Chris Dardanes remained undefeated at 18-0, beating No. 5 Cory Clark at 133 pounds. His brother, No. 4 Nick Dardanes, also defeated No. 5 Josh Dziewa.
The match of the night occurred in the 157-pound bout when No. 1 Dylan Ness (23-0) came back in the third period down 8-5 to defeat No. 15 Michael Kelly 11-9.
Robinson said Ness, a Bloomington native and three-time All-America, was sick the entire week, displaying courage during the final match of the duel.
“You could tell in about the first minute, minute and a half that it wasn’t Dylan Ness,” Robinson said. “But that’s a great example of a heart of a champion. …I’m sitting on the thing thinking, ‘Geez, I maybe should’ve forfeited this.’ He’s a thoroughbred. You give this guy a chance to run, he’s going to run and he’s going to do what he has to do.”