By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Here is a glimmer of sports hope on the local landscape.

The Gopher wrestling team is ranked No. 1 in the country, with a local wrestler ranked No. 1 as an individual.

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Dylan Ness knows what it means to work. He was state champion at Bloomington Kennedy High School.

Nowadays as a senior with the Gophers, he’d like to win that elusive team title.

“What’s gotta happen is we gotta have some of the guys who are lower ranked, younger guys to pull through,” Dylan said.

He’s been a national runner-up twice, and he’s considered a talented and free-spirited athlete. It’s his calling card.

“I think it’s the excitement, the way he wrestles. He has a feel for wrestling that most people don’t,” coach J. Robinson said. “He has an awareness … he can flip around and do things most people don’t.”

But this is a big season for Dylan for a different reason. His older brother, Jayson, wrestled for the Gophers, and he’s got what Dylan wants and hasn’t achieved yet.

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Jayson won a national championship in 2010. He’s seen as more button-down than his younger brother. They have different styles on the mat as well.

“A lot of the fundamentals we do are pretty similar,” Jayson said. “But he’s always been more of a high-flying type of guy.”

Jayson is now an assistant coach, which means he’s there on a daily basis to help his younger brother achieve what is almost an obsession.

“Every day since last year, every morning, every night, pretty much on my mind constantly,” Dylan said. “It’s pretty much all I think about nowadays.”

He’s driven to be the best, like his brother, and he has a chance to duplicate Jayson’s status.

“It’s gonna take him wrestling his best,” Jayson said. “He’s been doing great this year. I think he’s been wrestling a lot more consistent, and I think he’s just doing exactly what he needs to do to win it.”

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Dylan’s skill, hard work and flare just might pay off.

Mike Max