No. 1 Minnesota Prepared for Battle against No. 3 Oklahoma State

Teams meet in rematch of 2012 National Duals Championship

The No. 1 Minnesota Wrestling team has an early test this Sunday when it welcomes no. 3 Oklahoma State to the Sports Pavilion. The Gophers and the Cowboys will face off at 1:00 p.m. in a rematch of the 2012 National Dual Championship, where the Maroon and Gold prevailed with a score of 18-13 to capture the title.

Led by head coach John Smith, Oklahoma State is tabbed at No. 3 on the USA Today/NWCA/AWN Division I rankings poll. The Cowboys are anchored by NCAA Champion and three-time All-American Jordan Oliver. The roster also boasts national finalist Tyler Caldwell and third-place finisher Chris Perry, as well as No. 2 heavyweight Alan Gelogaev.

OSU leads the overall series against the U of M, 21-11-0. On home turf, the Gophers have only been able to notch a victory twice. On neutral ground, most of which took place at championship events like the NCAA Tournament and the National Duals, the Gophers have a 4-1 edge.

Sunday’s dual will be a sight to see. Each team has eight nationally-ranked individuals listed as probable starters. There will be six bouts where both wrestlers are currently ranked in the top 20 of their respective weight classes, half of which where both are in the top 10. It’s a match you won’t want to miss!

Head Coach J Robinson has developed an environment of excellence that has seen Minnesota rise to elite status in college wrestling. He now has the school record to prove it. With three victories at the Bison Quad, Robinson has surpassed Wally Johnson as Minnesota’s all-time winningest coach. In 27 years with the Gophers, Robinson holds an overall record of 394-129-4.

With a win over North Dakota State at the Bison Quad this past weekend, Minnesota Wrestling marked its 900th program win. The Gophers join an elite club, becoming only the sixth collegiate program in the nation to reach the magic number. Minnesota joins the ranks of Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Oregon State, Springfield College (Mass.) and the University of Iowa.

In 2012-13, Nelson posted a largely impressive record of 32-2, including an undefeated 8-0 conference run. With both losses stemming from the first half of the season, Nelson was able to build to a 25-match win streak which he has extended to 34 after a 9-0 start to the season.

To fill the void left by the graduated Zach Sanders, redshirt junior David Thorn has dropped to the 125-pound weight class for this season. After spending last season at 133 lbs., Thorn has already proven to be a formidable opponent on the mat at the lighter weight.

Thorn made his debut with a thrilling upset victory over No. 4 Steve Bonanno, pinning the Hofstra starter at in the final seconds of the first period. So far this season, he has tallied a 4-1 overall record, 3-0 in duals, with his only loss coming to No. 2 Justin Chamberlain of NDSU.

During the early signing period, the No. 1 Golden Gophers announced the addition of three in-state wrestlers for the 2013-14 season. Jake Short, Nick Wanzek, and Nate Thomas all signed National Letters of Intent to join the squad next fall.

Mark your calendars! The date and time for the dual meet against Northwestern has been changed. Originally scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 9, the match has been moved to Friday, Dec. 7 and will now start at 7:00 p.m.

Juniors Tony Nelson and Kevin Steinhaus have been named team captains for the current season, each receiving the honor for the second year in a row. Nelson and Steinhaus were voted to guide the team after proving leadership and excellence both on and off the mat last season.

The Minnesota wrestling team will host its annual Gopher/Hawkeye dual in Williams Arena this year on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 3:00 p.m. Don’t miss your chance to see the epic rivalry in person! Tickets are available now online at

Fans will get the opportunity to watch the Gophers on the Big Ten Network twice this season. The first comes against Illinois on Jan. 21 and the second is on Jan. 26 against rival Iowa.

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For the fourth week in a row, the Maroon and Gold have been named the No. 1 team in the nation, receiving 397 total points,  including seven first-place votes, in the USA Today/NWCA/Amateur Wrestling News Division I Coaches Poll. Defending national champions Penn State rank at No. 2, while Oklahoma State came in at No. 3. Iowa and Ohio State rounded out the top five, at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.

InterMat’s Tournament-Strength Rankings placed the Gophers at No. 3, trailing Iowa (No. 2) and Penn State (No. 1).

Fans  will be able to follow all the action this year through the Dual Day Live. GopherSports will be running a blog and streaming live video (available with subscription) for each home event this season. Former Gophers Mack Reiter and Gordon Bierschenk will be providing audio commentary for the live video stream on Gopher All-Access, entertaining fans with play-by-play and insight into the competition bouts.

Blog and video links are available at