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.
Tony Nelson will face the No. 6 heavyweight in the NCAA.
No. 4 Minnesota traveled to Iowa City, Iowa, this weekend and handed the No. 2 Hawkeyes their first conference loss of the season.
The Gophers’ (8-1, 5-1 Big Ten) win came at an opportune time — the team was upset by Michigan a week ago. It also came in a tough environment — in front of more than 10,000 fans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Minnesota head assistant coach Brandon Eggum said he was pleased with his team’s turnaround.
The Gophers lost their first dual of the season on the road last weekend.
No. 2 Minnesota split a pair of duals on its road trip to Michigan over the weekend.
The Gophers fell to No. 19 Michigan 19-14 on Sunday afternoon, just two days after they dominated Michigan State 35-3.
The Gophers (7-1, 4-1 Big Ten) fell behind early Sunday after losing five of the first six matches against Michigan (7-2, 3-0 Big Ten), but they won three straight matches down the stretch to pull within two points heading into the heavyweight bout.
Not many athletes can say they’ve embarked on a professional athletics career before college.
Gophers wrestler Conrad Rangell can.
Rangell spent five years playing professional paintball and returned to school in 2010. He won California community college state wrestling championships in 2010 and 2011 before transferring to Minnesota in fall 2012.
At 26, Rangell is the Gophers’ oldest wrestler, even though he’s just a redshirt junior.
Redshirt freshman Sam Brancale won his first dual match and redshirt junior Scott Schiller defeated the nation’s top-ranked 197-pound wrestler, as the No. 2 Gophers defeated No. 18 Oregon State 28-12 on Saturday in Corvallis, Ore.
The Gophers won eight of 10 matches in the dual — a year after squeaking past the Beavers with an overtime decision in the final match.
“We just started out on a really good note,” head assistant coach Brandon Eggum said. “Right now, they’re all competing very well.”