The Gophers wrestling team finished third Sunday at the Big Ten championships, but Iowa and Penn State’s neck-and-neck team race made Minnesota seem like an also-ran.
Penn State won the team championship, ending Iowa’s three-year reign as kings of the Big Ten and earning the school’s first conference title since joining the Big Ten in 1993. The Gophers sent three wrestlers to the finals but came away with no individual champions.
The Gophers finished third as a team behind Penn State and Iowa.
The Big Ten Conference issued a public reprimand Tuesday of Gophers head wrestling coach J Robinson for “violating the Big Ten Sportslike Conduct Agreement following Minnesota’s dual match against Penn State on Feb. 13.”
Assistant commissioner Scott Chipman issued a release that said some of Robinson’s post-match comments were in violation of the Agreement, presumably those from a Q&A with Robinson posted by the Daily Collegian — Penn State’s student newspaper — following an 18-18 tie in which Robinson said:
Robinson said after Minnesota's Feb. 13 tie with Penn State that Nittany Lions 149-pounder Frank Molinaro faked an injury.
The Big Ten dual season championship was there for Minnesota to take Sunday, but a come-from-behind effort was quashed on a day that must have been bittersweet for J Robinson, who was honored before the meet for 25 years at the helm of the program.
“It’s great, you don’t think about it much, but I guess 25 years is a long time,” Robinson joked after his team’s 19-12 loss at the hands of Iowa.
“We had a chance to win it, we just didn’t do what we needed to do.”
The Gophers (15-4-1, 6-1-1 Big Ten) suffered their first Big Ten loss of the dual meet season and in so doing, handed the Hawkeyes the regular season championship.
In his quarter century with Gophers wrestling, J Robinson has vaulted the program to new heights. The team will return the favor Sunday, putting Robinson on a pedestal rather than the other way around.
When the No. 3 Hawkeyes come to Williams Arena on Sunday, Robinson will be honored for his 25 years at the helm of Minnesota wrestling.
There figures to be plenty at stake for Robinson and his Gophers this weekend. For starters, Iowa is carrying a 76-dual unbeaten streak, matching the longest since Oklahoma State’s 14-year streak that ended in 1951.
The Big Ten dual season championship is on the line when Iowa visits on Sunday.
Filling one of the biggest holes in the Gophers’ lineup, Sonny Yohn came back Sunday from a knee injury and a 10-week hiatus with the dual on the line.
Yohn entered with No. 5 Minnesota trailing No. 3 Penn State by a point, much to the delight of the 4,020 fans gathered at the Sports Pavilion. They roared as the All-American, who has been out since the Southern Scuffle, burst from the locker room.
Still, the No. 5 Gophers have yet to lose in the Big Ten, while No. 3 Penn State has a loss to Iowa.
After dominating Ohio State last weekend, the Gophers wrestling team has a difficult weekend ahead.
Minnesota (14-3 overall, 6-0 Big Ten) first heads to Ann Arbor to take on No. 10 Michigan, a good team, but not the biggest obstacle of the weekend.
The biggest challenge will come Sunday at the Sports Pavilion when No. 3 Penn State comes to town. Penn State, which was recently ranked No. 1, features ranked wrestlers at eight out of 10 weight classes and will likely contend for a national title.
In what will likely be two close duals, David Thorn’s ability - or inability - to pull off an upset may swing the final outcome.
The Gophers wrestling team controlled the action from start to finish Saturday as they throttled underdog Ohio State 31-9.
Though the dual didn’t start at 125 pounds, where the team’s strength at lower weights often gives it an early lead, 4th-ranked Minnesota (14-3, 5-0 Big Ten) still found a way command the evening. Joe Nord (197) was the victim of a fall, and the Gophers trailed 6-3 after two matches, but then they hit the gas and never bothered to look in the rearview mirror.
The No. 4 Gophers took an early lead against Ohio State and never looked back.