WRESTLING


12/6/2012, 12:00am

Team looks to reassert dominance vs. ’Cats, Beavers

The Gophers had their first loss of the season to Oklahoma State a week ago, but they have otherwise dominated the first month of their season. And they may be getting better. Minnesota has competed without one of its best technical wrestlers in that time — a scary thought for other teams. Dylan Ness, the NCAA runner-up at 149 pounds last year, has missed the entire season with a back injury. He began to practice again two weeks ago, and head coach J Robinson said he hopes to have Ness back by the Southern Scuffle on Jan. 1-2.


12/3/2012, 12:00am

Middle weights struggle in season’s first loss

Minnesota wrestled without three starters Sunday, and Nick Dardanes lost a match slated as an automatic win on paper. That was a recipe for disaster against the third-ranked team in the nation. The Gophers fell 22-15 to Oklahoma State in a dual littered with missed opportunities. Still, head coach J Robinson didn’t make any excuses. “We had a chance … to win,” Robinson said. “We didn’t make it happen, and that’s just not acceptable.”


11/29/2012, 12:00am

Gophers seek payback vs. No. 3 Oklahoma State

Top-ranked Minnesota has shot out to a 6-0 start this season, but when No. 3 Oklahoma State comes to town, the Cowboys will boast the long-term momentum. Though OSU has only competed in one match all season, it has lost to Minnesota only once since 2006. OSU defeated Minnesota in Stillwater, Okla., last season, and this weekend, the Gophers are looking for payback.


11/26/2012, 12:00am

Relaxed Gophers take care of business in North Dakota

Minnesota assistant coach Brandon Eggum described his team’s approach this weekend as relaxed. It didn’t show on the mat. The Gophers faced their toughest test yet at the Bison Quad in Fargo, N.D., but still dominated, sweeping their three opponents. Minnesota head coach J Robinson became the winningest coach in program history with the sweep. Robinson passed former head coach Wally Johnson — who finished his career with 392 wins — and improved his record to 394-129-4 in 27 seasons with the team.


11/21/2012, 12:00am

Gophers to celebrate, then return to mat

Minnesota assistant coach Brandon Eggum will open his home Thursday to wrestlers on the squad who live too far to return home for the holidays. Eggum said he expects eight or nine guys at his house for Thanksgiving dinner, which will be a good chance for members of the team to bond. He said they’ll watch football, hang out and eat. Then it’s back to the mat Saturday in Fargo, N.D. The Gophers will tussle with Eastern Michigan and North Dakota State this weekend.


11/19/2012, 12:00am

Minnesota dominates another pair of foes

LINCOLN, Neb. — Defending Big Ten champion Kevin Steinhaus was in a familiar situation Friday night in Nebraska. Steinhaus was deadlocked with Josh Ihnen in a rematch of the Big Ten title match at 184 pounds last season. His team had the dual well in the bag at that point, but Steinhaus kept battling.


11/15/2012, 12:00am

Huskers highlight tough weekend road trip

Minnesota backed up its No. 1 NCAA ranking last weekend with a dominant win over Hofstra and five titles at the Bison Open. This weekend offers no rest for a team in pursuit of its first national title since 2007. The Gophers will make the nearly eight-hour trek to Lincoln, Neb., on Friday and travel back to host Boise State at home on Sunday afternoon. “It will be tough, two duals in three days,” sophomore Logan Storley said.


11/12/2012, 12:00am

Gophers back up preseason ranking

Minnesota’s wrestlers were ranked No. 1 in the USA Today preseason poll, and they exerted their dominance in the first weekend of the season. The Gophers cruised to a 32-6 win against No. 25 Hofstra on Friday and followed it up with five titles at the Bison Open on Saturday. “We saw some great things from our guys this weekend, but this early in the season, there is still room to improve,” assistant coach Brandon Eggum said.


11/8/2012, 12:00am

Gophers open as preseason favorites

Tony Nelson flexed his biceps as the heavyweight champion of college wrestling last March, but he and his Gophers teammates had to watch as Penn State ran away with the team title. Minnesota finished second to Penn State at the NCAA championships, but it carries the No. 1 ranking into this season, according to the USA Today poll. They shoulder equally lofty goals.


11/8/2012, 12:00am

First 2 meets to help shape roster

Minnesota has opened its season at the Bison Open for seven consecutive years. That will change this weekend when the Gophers host Hofstra on Friday before trekking to Fargo, N.D., for the Bison Open on Saturday.  “It’s not a perfect situation,” assistant coach Brandon Eggum said, “but it’s a good test for them early in the season.”


10/31/2012, 12:00am

J Robinson’s wife shows grit through Ironman triathlons

Minnesota wrestling coach J Robinson can’t swim, hates to bike and hates to run. His wife, Sue Rubens, lives for all three. Rubens is an avid competitor in Ironman triathlons — an extreme triathlon that includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run, all in succession. Rubens regularly spends 30 hours per week training for these races but said she gains her motivation from Robinson.


10/9/2012, 12:00am

Former wrestler Volkmann stars as UFC fighter

Former Gophers wrestler Jacob Volkmann bounced from foot to foot surrounded by a chain-link cage in the Target Center on Friday night. A chiropractor by day, Volkmann was readying himself for an ultimate fight with former Oklahoma State wrestler Shane Roller. “Get him to the ground and choke him,” a voice from the crowd yelled. Two and a half minutes into the first five-minute round, that’s exactly what Volkmann did.


10/4/2012, 12:00am

Wrestlers fight ‘mat herpes’ infection

B.J. Anderson has spent years educating physicians, coaches, parents and athletes in the wrestling community on the importance of preventing and reducing skin infections in the sport. His efforts have even earned him a nickname: “The Mat Doc.” Anderson, a University of Minnesota Boynton Health Service physician, was once the physician for the Gophers wrestling team and now works with Augsburg College’s wrestling team.


9/20/2012, 12:00am

M Club honors coach, mentor J Robinson

J Robinson’s first wrestling team didn’t win a single dual. Almost 27 years later, the Gophers head wrestling coach has tallied 388 wins and is still going strong. On Thursday, he will have a chance to reflect on his own storied career, one that has been marked by innovation and controversy. Robinson will be inducted into the University’s M Club Hall of Fame — a fitting honor for a man who has won three national championships and three Coach of the Year honors in his 26 years at the helm of Gophers wrestling.


7/18/2012, 12:00am

Up-and-coming grapplers brave J Robinson’s intensive camp

Carter Page had never cried during a workout before. “It’s so painful sometimes,” Page said. “But getting through it is the best feeling in the world.” Page, 16, reached the Virginia state wrestling final his freshman season as a rookie to the sport. However, after a loss in the championship and a poor effort his sophomore year, Page said he needed to do something different. “I had to make a change, so I came here,” he said.


5/2/2012, 12:00am

Clymer trades playoffs for finals

A few years ago, Ben Clymer was in the thick of the NHL playoffs. Currently, he is in the midst of a very different kind of stress: finals week. Clymer returned to school full time in fall 2011 to finish his undergraduate degree after he left the University of Minnesota and the Gophers men’s hockey team early to play professional hockey.


4/30/2012, 12:00am

Nelson’s title season ends with honors

Sunday’s team wrestling banquet capped off a crazy weekend for Gophers heavyweight Tony Nelson. Before the banquet held at a Minneapolis hotel, Nelson spent the weekend in Cambridge, Minn., being honored by his hometown. His former high school had a pep fest for him and Cambridge Mayor Marlys Palmer proclaimed April 27, 2012, “Tony Nelson Day,” which the soft-spoken Nelson described as “pretty neat.”


4/19/2012, 12:00am

Sanders in search of Olympic glory

Zach Sanders’ collegiate wrestling career wrapped up a little more than a month ago with what he called a disappointing third-place finish at the NCAA championships in St. Louis. This weekend, he will hit the mat in Iowa with a trip to London on the line. Sanders is one of six wrestlers with ties to Minnesota’s wrestling program competing this weekend in the 2012 USA Olympic Trials in Iowa City, Iowa.


3/19/2012, 12:00am

Tony Nelson wins heavyweight NCAA title; Gophers finish second behind Penn State

ST. LOUIS — In a span of about 15 seconds, Tony Nelson went from wrestling in a tied national championship match to throwing both of his fists in the air, saluting the Minnesota fans and celebrating his first career national championship. Nelson was the Gophers’ lone champion at the NCAA wrestling championships Saturday in St. Louis, but Minnesota crowned seven All-Americans and finished second to defending champion Penn State in the team standings.


3/16/2012, 12:00am

Wrestling advances eight after NCAA first day

St. Louis — Three pins propelled the Gophers wrestling team to a strong first session Thursday, and Minnesota didn’t stop there. Minnesota advanced eight of its nine wrestlers in the championship bracket after day one of the 2012 NCAA championships at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The Gophers sit in second place and five points behind first-place Penn State. They were also in second place after the morning session of the tournament. Minnesota trailed the Nittany Lions by only half a point, 25.5 to 25, at the session break.