The University of Minnesota has two wrestlers competing this week at the World University Wrestling Championships in Kourtane, Finland as members of the USA men's freestyle team. Former Gopher Zach Sanders (Lauderdale, Minn.) and current heavyweight starter, and reigning NCAA National Champion, Tony Nelson (Cambridge, Minn.) after qualifying at the University Trials in Colorado Springs in late August.
Sanders, who finished eighth in the 2008 Junior World Championships, took the international stage today to vie for the 55 kg/121 lb. title, while Nelson will take his turn on the mat tomorrow in the 120 kg/264.5 lb. group. Sanders plowed through three adversaries to reach the final, before ultimately finishing second place.
The four-time All-American drew Artem Kolomiiets (Ukraine) for the first round in a pool of 11 wrestlers. The pair faced off this morning with sanders taking home the 2-0, 2-0 victory. He then moved to the quarterfinals where he defeated Steven Takahashi of Canada in three periods by scores of 1-2, 2-1, 4-1. Next stop on the ladder to the championship was Batbold Sodnomdash of Mongolia. Once again, Sanders prevailed in three (1-5, 1-1, 3-0).
Russia's K. Donduk-Ool would be Sanders' final test of the event. After a hard battle, Sanders fell 0-1, 2-6 to the Russian, finishing in second and taking home the silver for the United States.
To follow along with results and recaps of the event, visit USA Wrestling at www.themat.com.