Can National Duals champ Minnesota also win the NCAAs?

Updated: February 22, 2012

By Mike Finn

When the University of Minnesota won the recent NWCA National Duals, Jan. 19, in Stillwater, Okla., it surprised many considering the Gophers had to beat two teams — Iowa and Oklahoma State during the Final Four — that Minnesota lost to earlier in the season.

The University of Minnesota wrestling team won 30 of 40 individual matches agaiinst four opponents over a two-week period to claim the school's sixth NWCA National Duals championship.

If the Gophers are able to capture the NCAA team championship in St. Louis this March, it would be even more surprising.

That’s because coach J Robinson’s 2012 squad is ranked a distant third in WIN’s most recent Tournament Power Index, which ranks teams on how many NCAA points they could generate based on their current individual rankings.

Leading WIN’s Feb. 21 TPI is Penn State, which did not compete in the National Duals, while Iowa — which finished third in the National Duals — ranks second in the TPI.

(Click here for WIN’s Feb. 21 Tournament Power Index)

But it should also be pointed out that Minnesota defeated Penn State in a dual meet, Nov. 20, in State College, Pa.

Here is a breakdown of that dual:

125: Zach Sanders MINN dec. Nico Megaludis, 6-2
133: David Thorn MINN maj. dec. Derek Reber, 14-5
141: Nick Dardanes MINN maj. dec. Sam Sherlock, 19-6
149: Frank Molinaro PSU dec. Dylan Ness, 16-10
157: Jake Deitchler MINN dec. Dylan Alton, 9-4
165: David Taylor PSU tech. fall Cody Yohn, 16-1 (4:29)
174: Ed Ruth PSU pinned Eric Ortiz (2:28)
184: Kevin Steinhaus MINN dec. Quentin Wright , 6-1
197: Sonny Yohn PSU dec. Morgan McIntosh, 4-3
285: Tony Nelson MINN dec. Cameron Wade 5-0

It should be noted that Minnesota’s current line-up does not include Deitchler, who was forced to quit wrestling because of problems with concussions, and features different wrestlers at 133 and 174 pounds, where Chris Dardanes and Logan Storley are competing and are nationally ranked.

The Gophers will get a good idea where they could finish nationally at the Big Ten tournament, March 3-4, in West Lafayette. Ind.

Of the past 23 NWCA National Duals champions, 15 have gone one to win the traditional NCAA tournament championship. The following list breaks down illustrates where the Duals champ finished at the NCAAs. If they did not win the NCAAs, the list includes what team won the Nationals and where that team finished in the National Duals.

NWCA/Cliff Keen Nat. Duals History

Year            Duals Champ            NCAA Finish (Champ)           

2012            Minnesota           To be determined

2011            Cornell            Second (Penn State/dnc)

2010             Iowa            First

2009             Iowa            First

2008             Iowa            First

2007             Minnesota            First

2006             Minnesota            Second (Oklahoma State/2nd)

2005             Oklahoma State            First

2004             Oklahoma State            First

2003             Oklahoma State            First

2002             Minnesota            First

2001             Minnesota            First

2000             Iowa State            Second (Iowa/dnc)

1999             Oklahoma State            Third (Iowa/3rd)

1998             Minnesota            Second (Iowa/2nd)

1997             Oklahoma State            Second (Iowa/2nd)

1996             Iowa            First

1995             Iowa            First

1994             Oklahoma State            First

1993            Penn State            Second (Iowa/3rd)

1992             Iowa            First

1991             Penn State            Third (Iowa/3rd)

1990             Oklahoma State            First

1989             Oklahoma State            First