Minnesota wins third straight NWCA Div. I National Duals title, beating Cornell 24-15 in finals

Feb. 17, 2014, 8:08 p.m. (ET)
Video capture of Dylan Ness of Minnesota pinning Cornell’s Brian Realbuto at 157 pounds from Big Ten Network broadcast.

Story by Kyle Bratke, Special to TheMat.com

The Minnesota Golden Gophers rolled to their third straight EAS Sports Nutrition/NWCA National Duals championship with a 25-10 victory over Big Ten foe Ohio State in the semifinals, and a 24-15 win over Cornell in the championship finals.

Minnesota, ranked No. 1 in the nation, moved to 13-1 on the season and gave No. 4 Cornell its first loss of the season. The Big Red team is now 12-1.

The Gophers were once again led on the day by Dylan Ness (157) who recorded a crucial fall against Cornell’s Brian Realbuto to give Minnesota the momentum it needed.

David Thorn (133) also turned in key performance for the Gophers, beating Johnni DiJulius in the Ohio State dual, and then picking up a major decision over Mark Grey of Cornell in the finals against Cornell.

Gopher head coach J Robinson was pleased with his team’s performance

“I thought they wrestled really well. They had great intensity. They were trying to get bonus points, and they were really focused,” Robinson said.

There were two key marquee ranked matchups in the finals. At 149 pounds, Nick Dardanes of Minnesots edged Chris Villalonga 5-4 in sudden victory thanks to a questionable stall on Villalonga. In a rematch from the Southern Scuffle, Cornell freshman standout Gabe Dean bested Kevin Steinhaus 3-2 in tiebreaker two at 184 pounds. Dean had also won their previous battle.

Also of note, two-time defending national heavyweight champion Tony Nelson did not wrestle during the event for the Gophers. Coach Robinson said Nelson was a little banged up, and with every dual meet victory clinched by the last bout, there was no need for Nelson to go.

The Big Red of Cornell reached the finals after an exciting 23-20 semifinal win over Oklahoma. Nahshon Garrett (125) and Gabe Dean (184) recorded crucial falls that proved to be the difference. Chris Villalonga also upset returning national champion Kendrick Maple 3-1 in sudden victory two at 149 pounds. Despite getting a huge fall from Nick Lester over Mike Nevinger at 141, and an 18-6 major from Andrew Howe over Jesse Shanaman at 174, it wasn’t enough for the Sooners to get it done.

Host and No. 13 ranked Ohio State upset No. 10 ranked Oklahoma 23-16 to take third place. The Buckeyes were led by two-time defending national champion Logan Stieber who notched two big wins on the day for Ohio State at 141. The first was an 11-0 major of Chris Dardanes of Minnesota, and the second was an 18-3 tech fall over Oklahoma’s Matt Lester.

Stieber wasn’t the only standout for the Buckeyes on the day. Nick Heflin (197) recorded two wins on the day over higher ranked opponent. Heflin took down previous No. 1 Scott Schiller of Minnesota 8-4, and Travis Rutt of Oklahoma 6-3. Johnni DiJulius also earned his second win of the year over Cody Brewer of Oklahoma at 133, this time by the score 6-3.

Individually, 23 wrestlers had 3-0 or better records, led by returning NCAA champions Jesse Delgado of Illinois (125), Logan Stieber of Ohio State (141) and Andrew Howe of Oklahoma (174/184).

Oregon State defeated Illinois and Virginia Tech stopped Central Michigan in the final consolation round matches. Both teams placed fifth, as they did not wrestle the teams off for a true fifth place.


125 - Nahshon Garrett (Cornell) over Samuel Brancale (Minnesota) Dec 12-5
133 - David Thorn (Minnesota) over Mark Grey (Cornell) Maj 11-3
141 - Christopher Dardanes (Minnesota) over Logan David (Cornell) Maj 16-6
149 - Nick Dardanes (Minnesota) over Christopher Villalonga (Cornell) SV-1 5-4
157 - Dylan Ness (Minnesota) over Brian Realbuto (Cornell) Fall 1:13
165 - Dylan Palacio (Cornell) over Daniel Zilverberg (Minnesota) Fall 7:43
174 - Logan Storley (Minnesota) over Craig Eifert (Cornell) Dec 8-2
184 - Gabriel Dean (Cornell) over Kevin Steinhaus (Minnesota) TB-2 3-2
197 - Scott Schiller (Minnesota) over Jace Bennett (Cornell) Maj 11-1
285 - Jacob Aiken-Phillips (Cornell) over Michael Kroells (Minnesota) Dec 7-6


125 - Nick Roberts (Ohio State) over Sean Williams (Oklahoma) Fall 4:17
133 - Johnni DiJulius (Ohio State) over Cody Brewer (Oklahoma) Dec 6-3
141 - Logan Stieber (Ohio State) over Nick Lester (Oklahoma) TF 18-3
149 - Kendric Maple (Oklahoma) over Ian Paddock (Ohio State) Maj 13-3
157 - Randall Languis (Ohio State) over Dryden Dennis (Oklahoma) Dec 6-1
165 - Clark Glass (Oklahoma) over Joe Grandominico (Ohio State) Dec 6-1
174 - Mark Martin (Ohio State) over Derek Geiges (Oklahoma) Dec 3-0
184 - Andrew Howe (Oklahoma) over Josh Fox (Ohio State) Maj 22-8
197 - Nick Heflin (Ohio State) over Travis Rutt (Oklahoma) Dec 6-3
285 - Zach Merrill (Oklahoma) over Kosta Karageorge (Ohio State) TF 15-0


125 - Nahshon Garrett (Cornell) over Sean Williams (Oklahoma) Fall 1:05
133 - Cody Brewer (Oklahoma) over Mark Grey (Cornell) Maj 11-2
141 - Nick Lester (Oklahoma) over Michael Nevinger (Cornell) Fall 2:16
149 - Christopher Villalonga (Cornell) over Kendric Maple (Oklahoma) SV-2 3-1
157 - Brian Realbuto (Cornell) over Dryden Dennis (Oklahoma) Maj 13-1
165 - Dylan Palacio (Cornell) over Clark Glass (Oklahoma) Maj 10-0
174 - Andrew Howe (Oklahoma) over Jesse Shanaman (Cornell) Maj 18-6
184 - Gabriel Dean (Cornell) over Alec Iacovelli (Oklahoma) Fall 1:57
197 - Travis Rutt (Oklahoma) over Jace Bennett (Cornell) Dec 5-2
285 - Ross Larson (Oklahoma) over Jacob Aiken-Phillips (Cornell) Dec 6-4

125 - Nick Roberts (Ohio State) over Samuel Brancale (Minnesota) Dec 9-7
133 - David Thorn (Minnesota) over Johnni DiJulius (Ohio State) Dec 8-5
141 - Logan Stieber (Ohio State) over Christopher Dardanes (Minnesota) Maj 11-0
149 - Nick Dardanes (Minnesota) over Ian Paddock (Ohio State) Dec 6-2
157 - Dylan Ness (Minnesota) over Randall Languis (Ohio State) Dec 8-4
165 - Daniel Zilverberg (Minnesota) over Joe Grandominico (Ohio State) Dec 8-2
174 - Logan Storley (Minnesota) over Jacob Bresciani (Ohio State) TF 15-0
184 - Kevin Steinhaus (Minnesota) over Josh Fox (Ohio State) Maj 12-2
197 - Nick Heflin (Ohio State) over Scott Schiller (Minnesota) Dec 8-4
285 - Michael Kroells (Minnesota) over Nick Tavanello (Ohio State) Maj 13-3


125 - Jesse Delgado (Illinois) over Pat Rollins (Oregon State) Fall 3:00
133 - Joey Palmer (Oregon State) over Zane Richards (Illinois) Dec 10-4
141 - Joey Delgado (Oregon State) over Steven Rodrigues (Illinois) Dec 4-1
149 - Scott Sakaguchi (Oregon State) over John Fahy (Illinois) Dec 2-1
157 - Roger Pena (Oregon State) over Zach Brunson (Illinois) Dec 6-1
165 - Jackson Morse (Illinois) over Toney Chay (Oregon State) Maj 10-2
174 - Joe Latham (Oregon State) over Tony Dallago (Illinois) Dec 10-3
184 - Lazarus Reyes (Illinois) over Austin Morehead (Oregon State) Maj 9-1
197 - Taylor Meeks (Oregon State) over Jeffrey Koepke (Illinois) Dec 5-2
285 - Chris Lopez (Illinois) over Amarveer Dhesi (Oregon State) Dec 7-1

125 - Joey Dance (Virginia Tech) over Corey Keener (Central Michigan) Dec 6-1
133 - Joe Roth (Central Michigan) over Dennis Gustafson (Virginia Tech) Dec 3-2
141 - Zach Horan (Central Michigan) over Erik Spjut (Virginia Tech) Dec 3-0
149 - Zach Neibert (Virginia Tech) over Joey Kielbasa (Central Michigan) Dec 8-2
157 - Luke Smith (Central Michigan) over Sal Mastriani (Virginia Tech) Fall 3:57
165 - Chris Moon (Virginia Tech) over Zack Cline (Central Michigan) Dec 6-4
174 - Mike Ottinger (Central Michigan) over John Dickson (Virginia Tech) Dec 10-5
184 - Nick Vetterlein (Virginia Tech) over Craig Kelliher (Central Michigan) Fall 6:07
197 - Chris Penny (Virginia Tech) over Jackson Lewis (Central Michigan) Dec 3-1
285 - Ty Walz (Virginia Tech) over Adam Robinson (Central Michigan) Maj 14-6