If anyone was wondering whether the Gophers wrestling team deserves its No. 1 ranking, the team put those qualms to rest Monday with a dominant 24-15 win over No. 4 Cornell to win the NWCA National Duals.
The Gophers have now won three straight National Duals titles.
No. 1 Minnesota has picked up head-to-head victories over No. 2 Penn State, No. 3 Iowa and No. 4 Cornell this season.
The Gophers’ weekend, capped by the win over Cornell in the National Duals final, also featured overwhelming wins over No. 20 North Dakota State and No. 13 Ohio State.
Minnesota could face No. 2 Cornell in the final of the National Duals.
No. 1 Minnesota defeated No. 20 North Dakota State 35-3 on Sunday at the NWCA National Duals in Columbus, Ohio. The Gophers advanced to the semifinals with the win and will wrestle again Monday afternoon.
Minnesota received a first-round bye before taking on NDSU. The Bison defeated No. 19 Chattanooga in the first round to earn the right the take on the Gophers.
Minnesota wrestlers David Thorn (133 pounds) and Dylan Ness (157) both pinned their opponents to take a commanding lead for the team.
Tony Nelson took his time exiting the locker room after Minnesota’s dual against No. 1 Penn State on Sunday.
Nelson exchanged pleasantries with fans, posed for pictures and signed autographs for young admirers — all of whom watched the two-time NCAA heavyweight champion wrestle at the Sports Pavilion for the last time.
He surely gave them something to remember.
An announced crowd of 5,603 packed the Pav to the rafters, with more than half of those fans showing up at least an hour early.
While the dual is important, it’s also Senior Day for the wrestling team.
In its first dual since moving back to No. 2 in the NCAA rankings, the Gophers wrestling team pounced on Indiana from the get-go in a 35-6 rout.
It was a dominant win, but it didn’t come without a speed bump — two-time defending NCAA heavyweight champion Tony Nelson dropped another match, his third loss in a row and fourth in his last six matches.
Nelson expressed respect for his opponent after the match, but said he’s looking forward to meeting him again in the Big Ten and, potentially, the NCAA tournaments.