The Gophers made the short trip to Cedar Falls, Iowa this afternoon (Jan. 8), leaving from out front of the Bierman Building at 12:00 p.m. ready for the ride down. The 2009 Cliff Keen/NWCA National Duals begin at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, Jan. 9, with the fifth seeded Gophers matched up with Missouri.
The wrestlers left the sub-zero temperatures in Minneapolis for their weekend excursion south, where they were met with almost identical subzero temperatures, it was tropical. Around 4:00 p.m. central standard time, Gophers pulled into the hotel, but only for a moment to check in, before getting ready and leaving for practice.
The entire team made the trip, (you guessed it) including the SID. After checking into their rooms, the team split into two groups. Each team at the National Duals is allowed to use a total of 15 wrestlers in competition throughout the weekend. The 15 Gophers who will be competing tomorrow and Sunday went to practice at Don Boscoe High School in nearby Gilbertville, Iowa. DBHS was made famous by former Gopher All-American Mack Reiter, and current freshman Bart Reiter.
The remaining members of the team went the University of Northern Iowa campus and the UNI Dome for a workout. A football facility by design, the UNI Dome spread consisted of - at last count - 18 wrestling mats laid out on the facility floor. One notable omission from the UNI Dome, however, Kurt Warner was nowhere to be found.
The Gopher wrestlers paired off, working with eachother or coaches, taking advantage of the opportunity to practice.
At the night-before practice session, the place was full with guys working out on the mats, jogging (and in some cases sprinting) around the track, or jumping rope somewhere in between. Some guys even managed to find their way into the stands were they could be found jogging the stadium steps.
Those very stands are expected to be packed tomorrow as the best college wrestling teams from across the country square off under the same roof.
The final touches of the floor, the scorers tables and awards tables was under way as the practices went on. After over an hour on the mat, workouts were over and the team dressed to return to the hotel. A stadium full of wrestling action commences tomorrow, and full coverage of the Gophers can be found right here on GopherSports.com.
Pat McCabe - Athletic Communications Assistant