Dennis makes it 2 in a row over Minnesota's Ness

Feb. 15, 2009

Iowa-Minnesota video highlights | Iowa-Minnesota photo gallery

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Nationally ranked competitors squared off in the first three weight classes Sunday when the University of Iowa hosted Minnesota in wrestling inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Perhaps the most intriguing bout was at 133 pounds between top-rated Daniel Dennis of Iowa and Minnesota’s Jayson Ness (No. 4), a two-time Big Ten finalist and two-time All-American at 125.

Dennis defeated Ness 6-4 on Jan. 10 at the National Duals. The rematch was played out in front of 10,095 fans and it would also follow an upset at 125, where Gopher freshman Zach Sanders used a last-second takedown to edge Iowa’s Charlie Falck, 5-4.

There was an increased pace to Round 2 of Dennis-Ness, but the result was the same — a 9-7 victory for Dennis, who improved to 23-2 overall and has now won eight consecutive bouts.

“From a team standpoint it was a big win to turn that (125-pound) match around and get us tied up in team points,” Dennis said. “Then to have our 141-pounder pull away and then continue on.”

The win by Dennis was the first of three in a row for the Hawkeyes and when Brent Metcalf decked Minnesota’s Joe Grygelko in 4 minutes 38 seconds, Iowa had built a 12-3 advantage.

“I don’t feel my performance was as strong as it could have been,” Dennis said. “It was big to get the win — that’s good — but there’s still a lot more to do and I don’t think I performed as well as I could have. I’m going to take away as much as I can from it and get better from this win..learn from what I did wrong and from what I did well. Evaluate it and move on to the next match.”

No. 1 Iowa won the dual, 25-9, over the No. 11 Gophers, extending the Hawkeye’s winning streak to three over their neighbor to the north. Iowa leads the all-time series 65-24-1.

It was a big win for Dennis, but he was hard on himself for what he deemed a few deficiencies on the mat.

“There were a couple times I got out of position and was scored on at the edge of the mat,” Dennis said. “That’s just not acceptable. Getting called for stalling in any match is something you definitely need to work on.”

After seven minutes, it was Dennis who again prevailed. And after 10 individual matches, it was the Hawkeyes who won their 36th consecutive dual.

Iowa won two of the three battles featuring ranked foes. No. 8 Sanders defeated No. 3 Falck, Dennis upended Ness and No. 2 Alex Tsirtsis of Iowa defeated No. 8 Mike Thorn of Minnesota, 2-1, at 141.