The sixth-ranked Golden Gopher wrestling team advanced to the semifinals of the 2008 National Duals with a 20-16 win over No. 5 Central Michigan Saturday afternoon in the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Gopher senior Gabe Dretsch scored an important upset over third-ranked Brandon Sinnott as the Gophers won six of 10 matches on the afternoon.
The Gophers are now 9-0 all-time against Central Michigan in dual meets, including 5-0 in National Duals competition. Minnesota advances to tomorrow's National Duals semifinals against No. 10 Nebraska beginning at 11 a.m.
No. 3 and undefeated Jayson Ness begins the dual meet for the Gophers at 125 pounds against No. 14 Luke Smith of Central Michigan. Ness, who enjoyed a significant height advantage over Smith, jumped on the scoreboard early with a takedown partway through the first period. The sophomore jumped out to 4-0 lead with a reversal partway through the second, and had built up 1:55 worth of riding time by the end of the frame. Ness surrendered a rare takedown as Smith got on top early in the third, but the defending All-American still emerged with an 8-2 win (including 1:17 of riding time). Gophers lead the dual meet 3-0.
No. 5 Mack Reiter looked to extend Minnesota’s lead at 133 pounds against unranked Conor Beebe. Reiter was aggressive in the early stages, jumping out to a 4-0 lead and accruing over 2:30 worth of riding time in the first period alone. An escape and another takedown gave Reiter a 7-1 lead after two, and the senior All-American breezed through the third to gain a 10-1 major decision win (4:18 worth of riding time total) and give Minnesota an early 7-0 lead in the dual.
Manny Rivera faced off with another ranked wrestler, CMU’s No. 16 Eric Kruger, at 141 pounds. Rivera successfully defended himself against Kruger’s numerous shooting attempts in the first and led 2-1 after a period. In the second, Rivera did not an escape but saw his riding time advantage disappear. A much-needed takedown with one minute remaining the match gave Rivera a 5-2 lead, but Kruger took advantage of a slip with 20 seconds remaining to tie the score at five and send the match into overtime.
In the extra one minute period, Rivera quickly took charge and scored a takedown just 22 seconds in to grab the 7-5 win and put the Gophers up 10-0.
Freshman Luke Mellmer attempted to keep the Gophers’ momentum going, but was overpowered by fellow freshman Nathanial Holt of Central Michigan. Mellmer quickly fell behind 5-0 and was then pinned only 2:02 into the match, making the score 10-6 in favor of Minnesota.
C.P. Schlatter got the Gophers back on track with an 8-2 win over CMU’s Tyler Grayson at 157 pounds. The powerful senior soared to a 7-1 lead in the first period on the strength of three takedowns and an escape, and retained his six-point edge to give the Gophers a 13-6 lead in the dual.
Tyler Safratowich improved to 2-0 on the day in the 165-pound match with a 13-5 major decision victory over the Chippewas’ Steve Brown, normally a back-up at 157 pounds, hung with the 2007 NCAA qualifier, as a late first period takedown gave the junior a 4-2 edge after one frame. Safratowich opened things up in the second and third periods, scoring an escape, two takedowns and two nearfalls to take the match with and put the Gophers up 17-6.
No. 10 Gabe Dretsch had his work cut out for him at 174 pounds, as he was charged with the task of wrestling No. 3 Brandon Sinnott. A first period Dretsch takedown elicited cheers from the Minnesota crowd and gave him a 2-1 advantage after one. Dretsch scored a big victory for both himself and the Gophers and he walked away with the 6-3 victory. A second period escape and takedown, as well as a riding time point, were the difference and put Minnesota ahead 20-6 in the dual.
Second-ranked and two-time All-American Roger Kish made his return at 184 pounds after going over a month without competition due to injury. Kish battled No. 3 Christian Sinnott in a low-scoring match the score was tied at one to start the third after each wrestler earned an escape but Sinnott scored a takedown with just 30 seconds remaining to win the match 3-2 and close the dual meet score to 20-9.
Justin Bronson encountered his second ranked wrestler of the day at 197 pounds in the Chippewas’ #6 Wynn Michalak. With the Chippewas’ victory hopes riding on pins in the meet’s final two matches, the Gopher senior did his job and lasted the entire match. Bronson trailed just 2-0 after one period, but lost by major decision 17-4.
With the outcome of the meet decided, Yura Malamura made his second heavyweight appearance of the year against a ranked opponent, taking on No. 8 Bubba Gritter. Malamura attempted to zig-zag around his much heavier opponent but could not mount enough of an offensive, losing 8-3.
Minnesota will now take on No. 10 Nebraska in tomorrow's semifinals at 11 a.m. The Cornhuskers upset top-ranked Penn State in the quarterfinals 19-13 and will get the chance to avenge their Dec. 6 25-13 loss at the Sports Pavilion. The Huskers forfeited two weights during that dual and were without 2007 national champion Paul Donahue.
#6 Minnesota 20, #5 Central Michigan 16
125: #3 Jayson Ness (MN) dec. #14 Luke Smith (CM), 8-2
133: #5 Mack Reiter (MN) maj. dec. Conor Beebe (CM), 10-1
141: #4 Manuel Rivera (MN) dec. #16 Eric Kruger (CM), 7-5 (OT)
149: Nathanial Holt (CM) pinned Luke Mellmer (MN), 2:02
157: #6 C.P. Schlatter (MN) dec. Tyler Grayson (CM), 8-2
165: Tyler Safratowich (MN) maj. dec. Steve Brown (CM), 13-5
174: #10 Gabe Dretsch (MN) dec. #3 Brandon Sinnott (CM), 6-3
184: #3 Christian Sinnott (CM) dec. #2 Roger Kish (MN), 3-2
197: #6 Wynn Michalak (CM) maj. dec. Justin Bronson (MN), 17-4
Hwt: #8 Bubba Gritter (CM) dec. Yura Malamura (MN), 8-3