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.
The No. 24 Gophers softball team continued its hot start to the season by posting a 3-1 record in the Easton Desert Classic this weekend. Its only loss came against top-ranked Florida. Minnesota senior pitcher Sara Moulton led the way for the Gophers, adding a pair of wins to her resume. The wins propelled her past current pitching coach Piper Ritter for the most in program history. The Gophers’ bats exploded for 30 runs in the first three games of the weekend before Florida’s slowed them to a near halt Sunday. Minnesota had only four hits in the 15-2 loss.
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.
If beating the No. 1 team in the nation wasn’t enough to show its merit, No. 2 Minnesota will be afforded an opportunity to bolster its resume this weekend. The team will face a slew of the nation’s top teams at the NWCA National Duals in Columbus, Ohio.
Dominating opposing hitters is nothing new for senior pitcher Sara Moulton, and this year has started no differently. In the Gophers’ season-opening tournament last weekend, Moulton tossed 21 shutout innings. In doing so, she picked up three wins and tied the Gophers’ career wins record. This weekend, the senior from Eagan will have ample opportunity to claim the wins record as her own when the Gophers travel to Las Vegas for the Sportco Kick-Off Classic. She said she didn’t even know last weekend that she’d tied the record.
No. 2 Minnesota upset No. 1 Penn State and won a share of the Big Ten title Sunday in front of packed crowd of about 5,600 fans at the Sports Pavilion. A thrilling dual came down to the final match of the afternoon, and two-time NCAA heavyweight champion Tony Nelson did not disappoint. Nelson, who had lost his previous three matches, beat Penn State’s Jon Gingrich to give his team an 18-17 victory. Nelson said he relishes the opportunity to win the dual for his team.
No. 1 versus No. 2. Check. A sold-out arena. Check. A rivalry matchup to close out the dual season. Check. The matchup has been building, and now all that’s left are the actual matches. No. 2 Minnesota will host No. 1 Penn State this weekend in a battle of Big Ten and NCAA powerhouses. The Gophers wrestling team has lost only one dual this year — an upset loss to then-No. 19 Michigan. The Nittany Lions haven’t lost yet.
Coming off its third 30-win season in as many years, the Gophers softball team will aim to continue its success this weekend at the Tiger Classic in Baton Rouge, La. The Gophers roster that won 36 games last year lost just two seniors to graduation. Minnesota junior infielder Tyler Walker said she’s excited to build on last year’s success. “Last year, we got a taste of what the postseason is like,” she said. “And this year, we want the whole thing.” She said that’s evident by intensity in practice so far this season.
Gophers wrestling matches at the Sports Pavilion usually start off with a 125-pound bout. If head assistant coach Brandon Eggum had his way, though, the matches would instead kick off with a fashion show. A catwalk, flashing lights, bumping walk-out music — anything that would allow the Gophers coaching staff to “strut their stuff” down the runway in the name of winning best-dressed. Minnesota’s coaches have been competing for the honor at every home dual meet since 2011, and they take it seriously.
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.
Two members of Minnesota's 14th-ranked softball ...READ MORE