The last weekend of the regular season might not have finished the way that it should have for the Gophers, but they ended it on a high note with a commanding victory.
No. 5 Ohio State beat No. 2 Minnesota on the road 22-13 in an upset before the Gophers trampled on unranked Maryland
The Gophers looked like two different teams, winning only four matches in the first meet and seven in the second.
In the Ohio State meet, the team came out with three consecutive losses and a 10-0 deficit.
However, against Maryland, Minnesota had a strong start, winning the first three matches by a decision, a pin and a technical fall.
Head assistant coach Brandon Eggum said winning early builds momentum for the team.
“We did a good job [against Maryland] winning the first five matches,” Eggum said. “It takes pressure off of guys [who are wrestling next] and [allows] them to do their thing.”
Redshirt senior Dylan Ness was among the wrestlers who gave the Gophers a jump start against Maryland.
Ness won his 24th and 25th consecutive matches, breaking the record for the longest career winning streak by any active Gophers wrestler.
He defeated Ohio State’s Josh Demas in a 5-2 decision, and then he earned a pin against Maryland’s Lou Mascola.
Despite his success, Ness said he didn’t perform well against either team.
“I didn’t necessarily feel the best, but I wrestled through it,” Ness said. “I ended up winning both matches, but not the way I wanted to. I could’ve done better in the first period [of both matches] in setting the pace right away.”
Ness also said his winning streak didn’t matter too much to him.
“I’m just looking forward to the national [championships],” Ness said. “I don’t worry about consecutive wins or how many wins or losses right now.”
Senior Logan Storley finished his final regular season identically to Ness, with a decision victory against Ohio State and a pin against Maryland.
He said his team had to do a lot better with close matches against Ohio State.
“We lost matches in the 184- and the 197-[pound weight classes],” Storley said. “[If] we won those matches, we would have won the dual. Obviously, we are upset about it, and we are going to make the changes [that we need] to win close matches.”
With the Big Ten and NCAA championships coming up, Eggum said finishing the regular season with a victory will help with the team’s confidence.
“Maryland might not be the strongest team in the Big Ten conference, but a win is a win,” Eggum said. “We are looking down the road, and we see that we are going to get another chance against tough teams like Iowa and Ohio State again. Winning is always important, and it will give us some confidence moving forward.”