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Less than three points separate Minnesota and Penn State prior to NCAA final
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Just 2.5 points separates Minnesota and Penn State in the NCAA Division I Championships’ team race as each national power sends two wrestlers a piece in tonight’s finals in the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
With each of these Big Ten powerhouses earning seven All-Americans each, the Gophers lead Penn State — the three-time national champions — by a 104-101.5 point margin after the All-American round was completed Saturday afternoon.
This close race was set up as the Gophers saw two wrestlers — Logan Storley at 174 pounds and Scott Schiller at 197 pounds — finish in third place, while Penn State had one Nittany Lion — 125-pound Nico Megaludis — battle back to claim the consolation title.
Before Storley defeated Nebraska’s Robert Kokesh — a fellow native of South Dakota — in overtime for the third-place title, the Gopher defeated Penn State’s Matt Brown, 3-1, in sudden victory.
There will be no head-to-head meeting between any of the Gophers and Nittany Lions in tonight’s finals when Minnesota features 157-pound Dylan Ness and heavyweight Anthony Nelson, who will be shooting for a third straight championship.
Penn State also features a pair of former champions — 2012 titlist and Hodge Tropher winner David Taylor, whose 165-pound match will be the final bout of the night — and 184-pound Ed Ruth, who hopes to become his school’s first-ever three-time champion.
Oklahoma State, which is still mathematically alive, is in third place with 87.5 points and will send four to the finals: Josh Kindig (149), Alex Dieringer (who meets Ness in the 157-pound final), Tyler Caldwell (who faces Taylor at 165 pounds) and 174-pound Chris Perry (who meets Oklahoma’s Andrew Howe in the finals’ first match of the night.
Among the other teams, Iowa has wrapped up fourth place with 74.5 points as their six All-Americans include one fourth-place (heavyweight Bobby Telford), two fifth-place finishers (Cory Clark at 125 and Derek St. John at 157), one sixth place (Mike Evans at 174) and one eight-place finisher (Nathan Burak at 197).