Minnesota's Dardanes brothers try to win national titles
Plenty of brothers have won NCAA titles, but rarely have they achieved that feat while teammates. Mark and Dave Schultz, portrayed in the critically acclaimed movie "Foxcatcher," are two of collegiate wrestling's best, both winning national titles for the University of Oklahoma in 1982. A decade later, Tom and Terry Brands, while wearing Iowa black and gold, stood at the top of the podium. The Brands' were also NCAA champions in 1990.
As the 2014-15 season kicks into high gear, chatter of brothers and championships is in the conversation again. Minnesota seniors Chris and Nick Dardanes, from Chicago, are a combined 34-1 with Chris, already a two-time All-American, 16-0 and ranked No. 1 at 133 pounds; Nick is No. 4 at 141 pounds and also a top-eight finisher at nationals.
"They push each other," Minnesota coach J Robinson said of the Dardanes boys. "There is that competition between them, a level of commitment they both have that keeps them working hard every day."
Chris Dardanes showed his massive seven-minute gas tank on Sunday in a 12-10 win against the talented Zane Richards that helped the Gophers edge Illinois 20-19. Dardanes trailed 7-1 after two periods, but rallied with four takedowns during the final minute to force overtime, where he added another for the victory.
"I tried to go out [in the third period] and win every position no matter what," Dardanes told the Minnesota Daily on Sunday. "You have to forget about the score and win positions. After a couple of points you get that momentum."
Another pair of Big Ten brothers will have something to say about siblings winning titles in the same season -- the Stiebers from Monroeville, Ohio. Logan, a senior 141-pounder for Ohio State, is a three-time NCAA champion. Hunter, a junior 149-pounder who redshirted last season for the Buckeyes after an All-American campaign in 2012-13, is ranked among the top five. Logan moved to 15-0 and 105-3 for his career with a pair of wins over the weekend; Hunter is just 1-2 but 83-10 for his career.
"I wish they were octuplets," said Ohio State coach Tom Ryan after a 2013 NCAA Tournament that saw Logan win his second title and Hunter finish third.
One, but not both sets of brothers can win titles this March in St. Louis.
Iowa State, a wrestling powerhouse built by Dr. Harold Nichols in the 1960s and 1970s, has not exactly been part of the national conversation of late. The Cyclones, winners of five NCAA championships from 1965 to 1973 and also champions in 1977 and 1987, finished third at the 2010 NCAAs, but have been no better than eleventh since.
Last Sunday, the Cyclones, ranked 13th, beat No. 6 Virginia Tech 21-12 in Ames, Iowa.
"I think we're a pretty good team," ISU coach Kevin Jackson said afterwards. "I think we're up there a lot higher than a lot of people look at us from a ranking standpoint. We can wrestle with anybody in the country; we can compete with anybody."
ISU's only dual loss in seven starts came to top-ranked Iowa back on Nov. 29. The Cyclones, ranked eighth in this week's NWCA Coaches Poll, welcome No. 7 Oklahoma State this Sunday.
Three Cyclones are ranked among the top eight at their respective weight classes -- All-Americans Kyven Gadson (second at 197 pounds), Earl Hall (sixth at 133) and Mike Moreno (eighth at 165).
"We know we have a good team this year," said Hall after winning the Southern Scuffle. "We have guys who have been working, improving every day."
Helmet for Headgear
Spencer Myers donned a Maryland football uniform on Dec. 30 in the Foster Farms Bowl. It was the 13th appearance of the season for the senior defensive lineman, who played football for the first time in four years in 2014.
On Jan. 9, eleven days after the bowl game, Myers was securing a dual victory for the Terps, beating Harvard's David Ng in the decisive final bout. The 2010 Pennsylvania state champion Myers finished sixth at the 2011 NCAA Championships as a true freshman and has 89 career mat victories after a win on Sunday against Rutgers.
Notre Dame (Ohio) junior Joey Davis has yet to taste defeat in his collegiate career. The two-time Division II national champion from Compton, California, is 87-0 entering Sunday's dual against Lake Erie College.
Indiana's Taylor Walsh, the Hoosiers' all-time pins leader with 65, flattened Northwestern's Pierce Harger twice this season before a third meeting on Sunday. Walsh, a New Jersey native, entered 24-2 with 18 pins this season. But Harger, a senior from Ohio, hammered Walsh 15-0 in NU's 37-9 victory.
North Carolina State junior 285-pounder Nick Gwiazdowski (21-0) tied a school record with his 41st consecutive victory on Sunday. Gwiazdowski, a Binghamton transfer and national champion in 2014 for head coach Pat Popolizio, is 93-11 for his career.
Alex Meyer got a rare start for the top-ranked Hawkeyes against Big Ten foe Illinois on Friday. Spelling All-American Mike Evans at 174 pounds, Meyer, a sophomore from Pleasant Hill, Iowa, trailed sixth-ranked Zac Brunson late but scored a dramatic fall with one second on the clock. Iowa won 25-12.
"I heard cheering and I heard a buzzer," Meyer said. "But I heard a slap first so I was pretty sure I won."
Three of this season's top rookies suit up for Ohio State. Nathan Tomasello (17-3) is ranked sixth at 125 pounds, Bo Jordan (8-0) is fourth at 165 and Kyle Snyder (16-2) is ranked fifth at 197. Jordan and Tomasello, both four-time Ohio state champions, were a combined 360-6 in high school; Snyder was 179-0, a three-time state champion in Maryland and the 2013 FILA Junior World champion in freestyle.
This Sunday brings a few tasty duals. Second-ranked Minnesota is at No. 5 Penn State; sixth-ranked Cornell is at No. 11 at Lehigh; and No. 10 Pittsburgh wrestles at No. 14 Virginia.
Prior to facing ISU in Ames, No. 7 OSU meets No. 3 Missouri in Columbia on Friday night.