Just when you were about to write off the Minnesota Gophers wrestling team, they go and prove why they should be feared once again come the Big Ten tournament.
Two days after defeating Penn State 28-12 at home, the No. 10 Gophers shocked the wrestling world with a 17-16 win over No. 1 ranked and defending national champion Oklahoma State, 17-16. The Gophers got bonus point wins from Damion Hahn and Cole Konrad, and Jacob Volkmann upset No. 1 Tyrone Lewis at 165 to propel the Gophers to the win.
Minnesota finished the season 12-6 overall and heads into the Big Ten tournament Mar. 6-7 in Columbus, Ohio among the favorites to win the title. The Gophers have won the last three Big Ten titles, but will be challenged by Michigan, Illinois, Penn State and Iowa in a race that is as wide open as ever.
But on Sunday, the team looked like it could compete with anyone.
"From top to bottom, I couldn't be prouder of this team," head coach J Robinson said. "We've been inconsistent all season, battled through injuries, but we're peaking at the right time. It starts with our two seniors and they really came through for us today."
Those seniors were 197-pounder Hahn, and Volkmann. Both went out in grand fashion Friday, finishing their home careers winning by fall. Hahn major decisioned OSU's Rusty Blackmon, 10-2, earning the key bonus points needed, and Volkmann, looking as strong as ever after an injury to his eye socket, defeated the previously unbeaten Lewis.
"I knew we had to win one of the last two matches," Volkmann said. "Jon (Duncombe) did what he had to do against a tough opponent. We have such a young team, but we all knew it was only a matter of time before it all came together."
#10 Minnesota 17, #1 Oklahoma State 16
184 - #14 Jake Rosholt (OSU) dec. Josh McLay (MINN), 2-1
197 - #1 Damion Hahn (MINN) maj. dec. Rusty Blackmon (OSU), 10-2
HWT - #6 Cole Konrad (MINN) maj. dec. #13 Willie Gruenwald (OSU), 10-0
125 - #13 Bobbe Lowe (MINN) dec. #18 Cody Stites (OSU), 4-2
133 - #6 Johnny Thompson (OSU) dec. Andrew Domingues (MINN), 8-2
141 - #18 Tommy Owen (MINN) dec. Ronnie Delk (OSU), 6-4
149 - #2 Zack Esposito (OSU) maj. dec. Thomas McAlpine (MINN), 17-6
157 - #6 Johny Hendricks (OSU) dec. #14 Matt Nagel (MINN), 6-4
165 - #7 Jacob Volkmann (MINN) dec. #1 Tyrone Lewis (OSU), 3-1
174 - #1 Chris Pendleton (OSU) dec. #12 Jon Duncombe (MINN), 12-8
Gophers shock No. 1 Oklahoma State, 17-16
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