Top-ranked Minnesota wins third NWCA duals championship in a row
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Minnesota claimed the EAS/NWCA National Dual Championship for the third consecutive year with a 24-15 victory against fourth-ranked Cornell. This is the eighth championship for the Golden Gophers who advance to 12-1 on the season.
The Gophers were able to claim six of the 10 bouts, including three majors and a fall, en route to the National Duals championship.
The final started with a tough battle between Sam Brancale and No. 1 Nahshon Garrett of Cornell. Brancale stayed close to Garrett and while he was unable to defeat him, he was able to score a point by escaping Garrett's hold in the last few seconds of the bout in order to keep Garrett's victory to a decision and giving Cornell only three points.
Eighth-ranked David Thorn picked up the Gophers' first major decision of the dual by defeating No. 15 Mark Grey 11-3. Fifth-ranked Chris Dardanes was able to win his first bout of the day with a major decision against Logan David 16-6 and No. 3 Nick Dardanes won by sudden victory against Christopher Villalonga. Dardanes was awarded the winning point as Villalonga was tabbed for his second stalling call of the dual. After four bouts, the Gophers were leading 11-3.
Fifth-ranked Dylan Ness had another standout performance with a fall 1:13 into the bout and scored six crucial team points for the Golden Gophers. The Gophers were up 17-3 going into 165.
Danny Zilverberg was defeated by Dylan Palacio of Cornell after a hard-fought battle ended in a fall at 7:43. Sixth-ranked Logan Storley won by decision against Craig Eifert of Cornell 8-2 while No. 8 Kevin Steinhaus fell to Gabriel Dean of Cornell 3-2. Steinhaus was looking to avenge an earlier loss to Dean at the Southern Scuffle but came up short.
Fourth-ranked Scott Schiller came back after a loss in the dual against Ohio State in the semifinals to win by major decision against Jace Bennett of Cornell 11-1. The Gophers led 24-12 going into the final dual of the afternoon.
Stepping in once again for Tony Nelson, Michael Kroells was defeated by Jacob Aiken-Phillips of Cornell when he was able to escape with seconds left in regulation. The final score would read 24-15 as the Gophers won their third consecutive National Duals championship.
Minnesota advanced to the finals with a 25-10 against the Buckeyes earlier Monday while Cornell defeated No. 11 Oklahoma in the semifinals.