The sixth-ranked and two-time defending National Duals champion Minnesota Golden Gophers topped West Virginia 32-9 in the first round of today’s NWCA National Duals in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The Gophers won seven of 10 bouts, including an upset win by Yura Malamura at heavyweight, to advance to the second round of today’s competition.
Minnesota will take on No. 5 Central Michigan beginning at 1 p.m. The Chippewas topped No. 11 Ohio State 19-16 in their first round match-up. The Gophers are 8-0 all-time against Central Michigan in dual meets, including 4-0 in National Duals competition.
Third-ranked Jayson Ness remained undefeated (20-0 this season) at 125 pounds and allowed the Gophers to jump out to a 6-0 lead in their early match-up with the Moutaineers. Ness had built up an early 7-0 lead on the strength of two three-point nearfalls before West Virginia’s Kyle Turnbull chose to pull out of the match due to an injury. The win by default ended Ness’ streak of consecutive pins at six, tied for the third-longest such streak in Gopher history.
Minnesota’s Mack Reiter, ranked fifth nationally at 133 pounds, took on West Virginia’s Justin Garvin in the second bout of the early morning session. Reiter scored a takedown in the first period and then two more early in the second. The former All-American toyed with the less-experienced Garvin, picking up three three-point nearfalls in the second and emerging with a 18-1 technical fall win before the second period was over (4:43).
At 141 pounds, No. 4 Manuel Rivera aggressively went after unranked Stephen Waite aggressively in the early going. Rivera jumped out to a 12-1 lead in the second period on the strength of several takedowns and nearfalls before pinning Waite at the 4:48 mark and giving the Gophers a 17-0 lead in the dual.
At 149 pounds, true freshman Luke Mellmer filled in for the injured Dustin Schlatter against David Jauregui. The duo traded takedowns in the first two minutes of the first period, but Jauregui held a slim 7-4 advantage after the first two periods of action. Jauregui scored another takedown in the third to win the match 10-4, bringing the team score to 17-3.
In the only match-up between ranked wrestlers of the dual, No. 6 C.P. Schlatter took on WVU’s No. 17 Zac Fryling. The two sparred to a scoreless first period before Garvin allowed Schlatter the early escape at the start of the second (Schlatter choosing to start down) and gave the Gopher a 1-0 lead. The rest of the second period passed without any additional scoring, but Fryling evened the score at one apiece when he earned an escape at the start of the third period. Schlatter finally got on the board with an offensive score with 30 seconds remaining in the match and emerged the 4-1 victor (including 1:02 of riding time). Minnesota extended its lead in the dual to 20-3.
Returning NCAA qualifier Tyler Safratowich was Minnesota’s choice at 165 pounds, filling in for the injured Scott Glasser. Safratowich and his opponent, Donnie Jones of the Mountaineers, dogged each other for much of the first before Safratowich earned a takedown two minutes into the match. The Gopher junior allowed an escape (making the score 2-1) but built up 53 seconds of riding time before the first period had ended. Another escape by and a late takedown put Safratowich in control 5-1 to begin the third, as he would rack up over a minute of riding time to win the match 6-2.
At 174 pounds, it was the Gophers Gabe Dretsch (ranked No. 10) against unranked Chance Litton of WVU. Dretsch went after Litton hard and early, using his superior strength to corral the Mountaineer wrestler and pin him just 1:55 into the match and giving Minnesota a commanding 29-3 lead in the dual.
Not wishing to risk injury to No. 2 Roger Kish in a dual that had already been decided, head coach J Robinson chose to go with 174-pound backup Brandon Sitch at 184 pounds against West Virginia’s Kurt Brenner. Sitch battled but trailed 4-2 after one period, eventually losing a tight 7-6 decision.
Minnesota senior Justin Bronson took to the mat for the 197-pound match, taking on No. 12 Jared Villers of the Mountaineers. Bronson dropped to 3-4 in dual meets this season after losing 7-4 to one of WVU’s three ranked wrestlers. Bronson was able to limit Villers’ offensive somewhat, trailing 6-1 after a period, but could not muster much offensively himself in the loss (scoring on an escape, one takedown and a warning on Villers).
With the Gophers leading the dual 29-9, Minnesota gave sophomore Yura Malamura a chance at heavyweight. Normally a 197-pounder, Malamura used his superior quickness and speed to hang with No. 13 Dustin Rogers of West Virginia despite a significant weight disadvantage. Trailing 2-1 to start the second, Malamura scored a takedown partway through the period to take a 4-3 lead. Rogers escaped with 1:15 remaining in the match to tie the score at four, but another Malamura takedown and 1:27 of riding time gave Minnesota the upset 7-5 win.
Minnesota advances to the second round of today’s competition with a 32-9 win. They will take on Central Michigan beginning at 1 p.m., and gophersports.com will be on hand to provide match-by-match updates.
#6 Minnesota 32, West Virginia 9
125: #3 Jayson Ness (MN) inj. def. over Kyle Turnbull (WVU)
133: #5 Mack Reiter (MN) tech. fall Justin Garvin (WVU), 18-1 (4:43)
141: #4 Manuel Rivera (MN) pinned Stephen Waite (WVU), 4:48
149: David Jauregui (WVU) dec. Luke Mellmer (MN), 10-4
157: #6 C.P. Schlatter (MN) dec. #17 Zac Fryling, 4-1
165: Tyler Safratowich (MN) dec. Donnie Jones (WVU), 6-2
174: #10 Gabe Dretsch (MN) pinned Chance Litton (WVU), 1:55
184: Kurt Brenner (WVU) dec. Brandon Sitch (MN), 7-6
197: #12 Jared Villers dec. Justin Bronson (MN), 7-4
Hwt: Yura Malamura (MN) dec. No. 13 Dustin Rogers (WVU) 7-5