Most usually bundle up before they go out to shovel snow, but not Holden Law. He went out in his singlet and cleared the sidewalk in the middle of a blizzard in Minnesota. That's one tough wrestler.
Most usually bundle up before they go out to shovel snow, but not Holden Law. He went out in his singlet and cleared the sidewalk in the middle of a blizzard in Minnesota. That's one tough wrestler.
University of Minnesota Athletic Director Mark Coyle announced Wednesday that J Robinson has been fired as wrestling coach.
Robinson was terminated, effective immediately. Acting head coach Brandon Eggum is taking over the program in the interim.
Robinson led the Gophers to three national championships and would’ve entered his 30th season as the program’s coach. He was put on administrative leave earlier this year while the school investigated the use and sale of Xanax among wrestlers on the team.
Robinson told WCCO’s Mike Max that he started to get suspicious, reported it to university officials and was told to test the entire team. He said the school would not pay for the testing. He also said he was hoping to continue as wrestling coach when the investigation was complete.
Robinson told his athletes that if they confessed to be involved with drugs, they could turn in the pills for amnesty. A student athlete who came forward says his coach tried to cover it up by making the team turn in the drugs they had. And, he alleges, the coach sat on the information for up to a month and a half, until the wrestling season was over.
A search warrant was executed at the coach’s office. With it, police say they found essays that team members wrote about getting caught and what they learned from it.
One included this statement: “I should have known I would get caught eventually and that my teammates could have gotten in serious trouble or I could have even killed someone if they overdosed.”
Coyle issued a letter to Robinson on Wednesday, notifying him of the immediate dismissal.
The letter states Robinson engaged in multiple acts of serious misconduct. Robinson also repeatedly failed to answer key questions during the course of the Xanax investigation.
The letter states Robinson didn’t disclose information about the drug-related activity, including sales by current members of the team. It also states he disposed of the drugs that were turned over to him by wrestlers, directly impacting the investigation. Coyle said Robinson promised amnesty and confidentiality to wrestlers who turned in drugs, which Robinson didn’t have authorization to do.
According to the letter, Robinson did not refute the findings of the investigation.
“I’m terminating coach Robinson’s contract because he was not forthcoming with his superiors while reporting his suspicions about selling and abusing prescription medication. While he did report drug suspicions, he chose not to share many other important details about what he knew,” Coyle said. “Furthermore, he did not fully cooperate with our investigation into the matter. He did not meet with us for interviews promptly and when he did, he did not answer some of our most critical questions.”
Coyle said he called Robinson twice to let him know if his dismissal, but Robinson didn’t answer and Coyle couldn’t leave a voicemail because his message box was full. He sent Robinson a text, email and got no response.
Coyle said Robinson’s termination was for cause and there was no financial settlement.
The Associated Press left messages for Robinson’s agent and attorney seeking comment.
“I do not intend to address each inaccuracy and/or omission in the report because there are far too many,” Robinson wrote to the university in a response provided by school officials. “For now, suffice it to say that the report sacrifices accuracy to create a narrative to support a pre-determined outcome to find fault with me and exculpate the university and senior employees in the athletic department.”
James C.W. Bock, an attorney and agent for Robinson, said in May that his client did comply with university regulations and informed his superiors, including former interim athletic director Beth Goetz, of the drug issues within his team.
No criminal charges were filed by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office in the case. Xanax is not an illegal drug, and it is not a banned substance by the NCAA.
Unlike other spots, once a wrestler walks off the high school mats, they don't often wrestle again. Sure, some get into college programs, or get the opportunity every now and then, but, for the most part, their wrestling career is over.
Wouldn't it be great if Minneapolis had an amateur wrestling club? Someplace where wrestlers of all ages could come and practice on open mats, learn the sport, and interact with other wrestlers?
Denver, San Diego, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Los Angeles have open wrestling clubs catering to adults who have an interest in learning and practicing the sport of amateur wrestling. Everyone is welcome to join and wrestle - irrespective of skill level, age, race, gender, sexual orientation, or physical disability. Beginners especially welcome!
Wouldn't that be great in Minneapolis? Or any metropolitan area for that matter?
With all the empty schools in the summer, you'd think that there'd be more wrestling clubs.
So what can we do to get something like this started? If you have access to a wrestling room, let us know. Maybe we can work together to make this a reality.
Awesome wrestling video featuring the Minnesota Gophers wrestling team. Beautifully put together and one every wrestler should see.
A sophomore wrestler from Albert Lea, Minnesota intentionally lost his match in order to make his opponent's day.
"I found out he had down syndrome, and then once I was told that, I knew that I was going to give him the match because I was told he hasn't won a match or anything yet," Ryleigh Bure said.
He had his mother Danielle Bure film the match against Kyle, who was down syndrome.
Ryleigh said he didn't tell anyone his plan.
"Everyone deserves to win. I know what it feels like and he hasn't had a win yet, so I thought he deserved to feel what it felt like to win."
Though he didn't win the match, Ryleigh said he felt like a winner as he walked off the mat.
If you ask any wrestler on Concordia's varsity team about their teammate David Tremblay, the words "leader" and "role model" are never very far from their lips.
Now in his fifth year with the Stingers, Tremblay is one of the most successful wrestlers in the team's storied history.
Last summer, Tremblay represented Canada at the London Olympics, finishing 14th in his weight class after a difficult draw in the tournament.
Earlier this month, Tremblay won his fifth consecutive gold medal at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Championships in London, ON"making him only the third wrestler ever to win gold in each year of eligibility for the, CIS. Tremblay was also named Outstanding Male Wrestler of the tournament.
Now, as Tremblay is finishing up his last semester at Concordia and his sparkling Stingers career comes to an end, his teammates and coaches are contemplating life after David.
"We'll have to find another David Tremblay"and that's not easy," said Rob Moore, assistant coach of the Concordia wrestling team.
"There's always a rebuilding period," Moore continued. "That's the nature of university and high school sports."
As it stands, Tremblay plans to take at least a year off competitive wrestling and to look for a job closer to his native Stoney Point, ON.
"It's definitely sad to leave, and I'm only 25 so everybody wants me to stay," Tremblay said. "However, I want to see what I can offer myself in different fields."
Tremblay isn't the only veteran wrestler graduating this year: two-time national champion James Mancini is also weeks away from moving on after a long and successful career with the Stingers.
At this year's, CIS, championships, Mancini came back from a defeat in the first round to snatch a bronze medal in the 65 kg category, scoring points that would help the team finish fourth overall.
Although the varsity team is losing two of its best wrestlers next year, a few of the younger wrestlers coming back look to have the potential to reach similar heights.
Completing his first year with the Stingers, Jordan Steen won every match in the opening rounds of the, CISchampionship"and inflicted a 4-2 and 7-0 bruising on his opponent in the finals.
Asked if he would be ready to fill Tremblay's shoes, Steen, who was named Rookie of the Tournament, replied humbly.
"Fill them? I don't know about that. I'll try. But Dave's great"you can't replace that guy.
"I'll definitely try," he added. "Somebody's going to have to."
A Family Matter
If anyone is feeling the weight of expectations to live up to David Tremblay's success, however, it's probably his younger brother NoÃ«l.
Back in form after having surgery on his wrist in June and missing most of the season, NoÃ«l won his first match back at the, CIS, tournament, finishing sixth overall.
At the Canadian Amateur Wrestling Association's junior national tournament before his injury, NoÃ«l just missed out on a place on the podium.
This season, he hopes to win the competition"taking place in Fredericton, NB from March 20 to March 24"which would mean a trip to the world championships.
After attending the Olympics last summer as David's training partner, NoÃ«l aspires to return as a competitor.
"It's tough, though," he said. "I realized how hard it is. I still have a lot of work."
Although he shows no sign of struggling under such high expectations, NoÃ«l says he feels a lot of hopes are pinned on him.
"My parents don't say there's pressure, but I kind of feel pressure," he said. "Even if not from my parents, but from the rest of the wrestling community. When you see a wrestling family, you say the family's good. And if one person doesn't do too good, he kind of sticks out, you know?"
"We'll have to find another David Tremblay"and that's not easy."
"Rob Moore, Concordia Wrestling Team Assistant Coach
Indeed, NoÃ«l and David's father, David Tremblay, Sr., was a nationally ranked wrestler in his day and has been coaching wrestling at L'Essor High School in Tecumseh, ON for 27 years.
Still, Tremblay says it's still too soon to tell who will take his place as the leader of the wrestling team after he graduates.
"It's hard to say who will be the next leader leader," he said. "Everybody's a leader because they all want success. I can't really say who will be a leader"I'd like to say my little brother."
Coaching It Along
In addition to praising David Tremblay's performances on the mat, many of his teammates spoke highly of the guidance he provides them in training.
Linda Morais, the only wrestler from Concordia in the women's, CIS, championship this year and winner of the gold medal in her weight class, said she owed much of her success to her practices with Tremblay.
"All year I've been training with Dave and he's been coaching me completely differently than what I was used to last year," she said. "My practices are a lot more intense. That's all thanks to Dave, because he took me under his wing."
Morais has very high expectations to live up to herself, wrestling in the shadow of national champion Veronica Keefe, as well as Olympian Martine Dugrenier.
Tremblay's graduation won't change too much in the eyes of the varsity team's coaches, whose task has always been to get the most out of each wrestler.
Head coach of the team since he restarted Concordia's wrestling program in 1977, three-time, CIS, Coach of the Year, four-time member of the Canadian Olympic coaching staff and 2008 Canadian Amateur Wrestling Hall of Fame inductee Victor Zilberman has seen his fair share of talented athletes come and go"including a number of Olympians.
Alongside Moore, the pair has close to 100 years of coaching experience between them.
"[Moore] started helping me coach [in 1987] and we became best friends. We're the longest surviving coaching partnership in Canada," Zilberman said.
Asked how he would describe his relationship with Moore, Zilberman said, with a hint of a smile, "Annoying."
"Oh, he's a pain in the neck," Moore joked. "No, we have a good relationship."
For decades now, Zilberman and Moore have raised top-level wrestlers at the Snowdon YM-YWHA, athletics club on Westbury Ave. The varsity wrestling team's practice sessions are open to a variety of athletes of different skill levels whose ages range from 12 to 45.
"Here we have people from world-class to beginners," Zilberman said. "That's very rare in the world, even." In addition to Tremblay and Dugrenier, the list of professional athletes who train at the centre includes ultimate fighter Georges St-Pierre, and Team Canada wrestler Cleopas Ncube.
For all they know, Zilberman and Moore could be training the next David Tremblay right now. Even coaches as experienced as they are, however, may find that replacing a wrestler of Tremblay's calibre will be a tough task.
As for Tremblay, he says there's no doubt that Zilberman has been one of the most important influences on his life.
"I say it over and over again: He's the only reason I came to university. He changed my life, and it's pretty crazy to think that somebody can have such an influence on someone else's life. Hopefully, I'll be able to do the same one day."
In front of crowd of nearly nine thousand fans, Minnesota and Iowa split the dual, winning five bouts apiece, for a 15-15 tie. The deciding factor came down to a factor of tiebreaker criteria, in which case the Hawkeyes came out ahead on the third rule, match points (41-33). The loss is the second of the season for the Gophers who drop to 11-2, 5-1 B1G. Iowa improves to 15-1, 5-0 B1G.
The Hawkeyes excelled in the lower weights to gain a large lead before intermission., Dylan Ness, at 149 lbs. was the only Gopher in the first half of the lineup to add points to the team total by defeating unranked Michael Kelly by an 8-2 decision. However, the Gophers managed to keep bonus points at bay and went into intermission trailing 3-12.
Cody Yohn, faced Nick Moore in the 165-pound weight class to start the match after break. A slow start cost Yohn valuable points and resulted in a loss for the redshirt senior. Yohn fell 8-2 but not before marking a late reversal to prevent the major.
Once again, it was Minnesota's top-weighted wrestlers who brought the spirit back into the crowd and turned the momentum around., Logan Storley, Kevin Steinhaus, Scott Schiller, and, Tony Nelson, the final four wrestlers of the night, each won their respective bouts to bring the score back to a tie.
At 174 lbs., Storley edged Mike Evans in a tightly contested match, winning by a score of 4-3. Steinhaus followed at 184 lbs. and took care of opponent Ethen Lofthouse with a 6-3 victory. Schiller faced Nathan Burak in the 197-pound weight class. After scoring only an escape apiece, the match went into overtime where Schiller came up with the takedown for the sudden victory. Nelson closed out the match with a 2-1 victory over Bobby Telford. Each wrestler also gained a point during regulation for escapes but Nelson accumulated 1:40 of riding time for the extra point and the win.
Minnesota now looks ahead to its final home dual of the season which will take place next Sunday at 11 a.m. against Michigan State. The match will also serve as senior day for the Gophers' graduating class.
It's unfortunate for University of Minnesota wrestling fans, but Berge's heart decided his best option was to leave his home state.
After a long recruiting battle and many sleepless nights, the Kasson-Mantorville senior standout gave his verbal commitment this week to wrestle for the University of Iowa.
Berge was considered the nation's No. 1 recruit at 195 pounds by several publications. He's ranked the No. 11 overall recruit in the country by Amateur Wrestling News. With Simley's Jake Short already committed to Minnesota, Berge was the state's top remaining prospect.
The Mantorville native is a two-time state champion, and a 2012 USA Junior National Freestyle runner-up.
Berge was perfect last season, going 48-0 with 28 pins on his way to the Class AA state title at 195. He went 40-1 as a sophomore and won the state crown at 189. As a freshman, Berge placed fourth at 189.
About a month ago, Berge said he narrowed his college list to Minnesota and Iowa. Wisconsin and North Dakota State had offered Berge full-ride scholarships, but he said it never was about the money.
Berge visited both Iowa and Minnesota recently. The visit to Iowa went well, Berge said.
"I like (coaches) Tom and Terry Brands a lot," Berge said. "I will get the same coaching down at Iowa as I do in our room from (former Hawkeye and current K-M co-head coach Jamie Heidt). That was a big pull for Iowa. I got along with the guys really well. Plus, I saw some of their workouts and their intensity and just their overall attitude in the room, and it was the place I needed to be to succeed and win the national titles I'm hoping to get."
Berge said the recruiting process wore on him. He grew tired of the constant questions. Berge said it got to the point that after school he would go to football practice " he's also one of the area's top running backs " then go straight home every day, simply to avoid the questions.
"It was stressful. It wasn't bad stress, but it was still stressful," Berge said.
Wrestling practice begins in a few weeks, and Berge said he wanted to make his decision immediately so he could focus on the KoMets' goal of winning a state team title.
Still, the decision was far from easy. Berge said he did feel allegiance to his home state. He said he felt pressure from Minnesota fans, but everything that happened in the recruiting process pointed Berge toward Iowa.
"I liked that Iowa City is a little smaller; I'm from a small town, and it just seems like the Cities would be more stressful and take away from my focus," Berge said. "With (friends) like (Jake) Short and Nick Wanzek (both of Simley) going to Minnesota, I did feel comfortable there. But Iowa just ended up being the best fit."
It helped that Terry and Tom Brands made it clear how badly they wanted Berge to be a Hawkeye. Berge said he felt that love right away from the Hawkeyes.
"It came down to me feeling that Iowa was the best place to shape me, not just as a wrestler, but as a person," Berge said.
Minnesota boasts talent in nine of 10 weight class selections
Minnesota Wrestling is in for another great season and Amateur Wrestling News agrees. The publication has listed many Gophers among the nation's best, releasing its 2012-13 Preseason Division I College Individual Rankings. Someone from Minnesota has been named one to watch in nine of the 10 weight classes of competition. Only one Gopher is ranked outside the top 10 while two wrestlers took the top spot.
David Thorn, is tabbed at No. 13 in the 125 class. Thorn will drop down to step in for four-time All-American, Zach Sanders, who graduated last May. Thorn competed at 133 last season for a 14-2 overall record.
Brothers Chris and, Nick Dardanes, each made the top 10 in their respective weight classes. After recording a 25-12 record and finishing fourth at 133 lbs. at the NCAA National Championship, Chris is picked for the same finish this year. Nick is ranked at No. 7 in the 141 pound weight class after a 22-10 campaign last fall.
As the first of two wrestlers claiming the preseason top spot, Dylan Ness, ranks first in the 149 class. In his freshman year with the Gophers, Ness went 24-9 and surprised many by charging through to the NCAA Championship final where he finished runner-up.
Senior, Cody Yohn, and sophomore, Logan Storley, are also expected to continue last year's successes. Yohn, who finished 2011-12 with a 21-11 record, is dubbed No. 9 among all 165-pounders. Storley weighed in at No. 4 among the 174 lb. weight class. Last season, Storley worked his way to a 25-9 record and a sixth place finish at nationals. He also earned Minnesota's Most Exciting Wrestler award after pulling off multiple upsets and sudden victories, many over ranked opponents.
2012 Big Ten Champion, Kevin Steinhaus, is back at 184 for his junior season with the Gophers and is picked as the No. 4 wrestler after a season where he went 34-6, including a 21-match win streak and a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Tournament.
Filling the void for the graduated, Sonny Yohn, Scott Schiller, claims the No. 10 sport among the 197 weight class. Schiller competed primarily in open tournaments last year, posting three pins, seven major decisions, and two technical falls en route to a 26-4 finish.
Rounding out the preseason picks in 2012 National Champion Tony Nelson. Nelson, who also pulled in the 2012 Big Ten title, is poised to remain the dominant heavyweight wrestler in the nation. Nelson strung together a near-perfect 32-2 record, culminating in the defeat of 2011 National Champion Zach Rey of Lehigh in the NCAA final match. He was named Male Athlete of the Year for a season that boasted seven pins, two major decisions, and a 25-match winning streak.
For full rankings by Amateur Wrestling News, click, here.
The Gophers begin their quest for a National Championship Team title on Nov. 9. Minnesota hosts Hofstra at 7:00 p.m. CT in the Sports Pavilion.