GOLDEN GOPHERS (9-3, 0-0)
Michigan State (3-5, 0-0)
#6/5 Michigan (13-3, 0-0)
: East Lansing, Mich. - Friday, 7/6 Central; Ann Arbor, Mich. - Saturday, 7/6 CentralArenas
: Jenison Field House (MSU), Cliff Keen Arena (UM)Webcasts
: Live webcasts will be available via the MSU (http://www.msuwrestling.com) and Michigan (www.mgboblue.com) official websites.
Michigan State/Michigan Notes To Know:
The fourth-ranked Golden Gopher wrestling team (9-3) will open its Big Ten dual meet season this Friday and Saturday when they travel to Ann Arbor and East Lansing for head-to-head match-ups with the Spartans and Wolverines, respectively. Both meets will begin at 7/6 p.m. CST.
While the Gophers have dominated the series with MSU of late (winning 13 of the last 14 meetings between the two), Michigan has proved to be a thorn in the Gophers’ side: The Wolverines have won five of the last seven match-ups between the two, including a win early this year at the National Duals.
Following its fourth-place finish at the National Duals Jan. 13-14, many of the Gophers’ starters had last weekend off. Only four regulars (Jayson Ness, C.P. Schlatter, Tyler Safratowich and Yura Malamura) saw action in Minnesota’s 34-9 dual meet win over South Dakota State Sunday at the Sports Pavilion. The Gophers improved to 24-5 in the all-time series. It was the teams’ first head-to-head dual meet since 1975.
The Gopher coaching staff shook up the lineup last weekend for the SDSU dual meet, allowing Ness to compete in his first-ever match at 133 pounds. Although the sophomore failed to pin the Jackrabbits’ Nick Kulseth, he did pick up his 24th victory of the season (a 14-5 major decision) to remain undefeated on the year. Ness currently boasts the second-longest active winning streak in Division I college wrestling (25 in a row).
Although the Gophers’ only competition of the weekend came against the struggling Jackrabbits, Minnesota still moved up one spot to No. 4 in the latest USA Today/NWCA/InterMat national coaches poll. Michigan, who previously held that spot, was upset by Central Michigan 21-13 Saturday in Mount Pleasant, Mich. The Wolverines dropped down to sixth in the most recent poll.
Seven of Minnesota’s 10 normal starters are ranked nationally in their respective weight classes currently. Jayson Ness (No. 1 at 125 pounds), Mack Reiter (No. 2 at 133 pounds), Manny Rivera (No. 4 at 141), Dustin Schlatter (No. 1 at 149 pounds), C.P. Schlatter (No. 7 at 157), Gabe Dretsch (No. 11 at 174) and Roger Kish (No. 5 at 184) all rank among the nation’s best.
Three Gopher seniors (Mack Reiter, Manny Rivera and C.P. Schlatter) have all eclipsed the 100-win plateau for their careers already this season, while fellow senior Gabe Dretsch currently has 99 collegiate wins and will be pursing number 100 this weekend.
It’s coming the defending national champion Gophers will square off with the No. 1 Iowa Hawkeyes at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1 at Williams Arena. Iowa dominated college wrestling during the last part of the 20th century (20 national titles, 25 straight Big Ten championships), but the Gophers have held the upper hand in the rivalry of late, having won nine of the last 14 head-to-head meetings between the two schools.
THE SERIES VS. MICHIGAN STATE
Michigan State leads the all-time series against the Gophers, 31-28, but Minnesota has won 13 of the last 14 meetings between the two schools. Minnesota continued its march to an unbeaten Big Ten slate last season with a 32-4 drubbing of the Spartans at the Sports Pavilion. On Senior Night, Cole Konrad won the last home match of his legendary career with a dominating pin of Alan O’Donnell as the Gophers finished a perfect 6-0 at home.
In 2006, following its only dual meet loss of the season at Michigan, the Gophers took out their frustration with a dominating 41-3 victory over the Spartans to reach 20 dual meet wins in a season for the fourth time in school history.
GOPHERS IN BIG TEN OPENERS
Since the Gophers began their run of dominance in 1999 (the year they snapped Iowa’s streak of 25 consecutive Big Ten titles), the Gophers have also been impressive in conference season-opening dual meets. Minnesota has won all but one of its conference openers since 1999 (eight of nine), with that only loss coming in 2005 (a 28-14 defeat in East Lansing against the Michigan State). In fact, the Gophers’ average margin of victory in conference openers is a whopping 15 points (26-11) since 1999.
The Gophers have wrestled Friday’s opponent, the Spartans, four times in Big Ten openers during head coach J Robinson’s 22-year tenure. Other than a three-year stretch from 2003-05, the only other instance came in 1993, a 28-10 conference season-opening win for the Gophers in East Lansing.
Recent Minnesota Big Ten Openers:
2007 W, 31-12 vs. Penn State
2006 W, 24-11 vs. Northwestern
2005 L, 11-24 @ Michigan State
2004 W, 22-16 @ Michigan State
2003 W, 22-14 vs. Michigan State
2002 W, 22-10 @ Michigan
2001 W, 29-6 vs. Michigan
2000 W, 32-6 @ Wisconsin
1999 W, 23-17 vs. Michigan
THE LAST TIME: MINNESOTA VS. MICHIGAN STATE (2/9/07)
The top-ranked University of Minnesota wrestling team paid tribute to its three seniors by crushing No. 20 Michigan State, 35-4, on Friday, Feb. 9 2007 at the Sports Pavilion. Senior Cole Konrad gave the 3,431 fans in attendance a lasting memory by pinning Alan O'Donnell in 1:36 in the final home match of his collegiate career as the Golden Gophers won nine of 10 matches on the night to post an undefeated record at home (6-0) for the fifth time in head coach J Robinson's tenure. Minnesota also remained unbeaten in the Big Ten at 6-0 with its 17th straight win.
Prior to the meet, Konrad vowed to give Gopher fans something a little extra special in his final match in Minneapolis, and he delivered by dominating O’Donnell. Konrad took the Spartan wrestler down just seven seconds into the match and simply overpowered him, rolling O’Donnell to his back to get the fall in 1:36.
Brothers Dustin and C.P. Schlatter also contributed bonus points for the Gophers, with Dustin earning a tech fall over Tim Hammer at 149 pounds and C.P. pinning Tony Greathouse at 157.
Fourth-ranked Jayson Ness continued to run like a machine as he defeated the eighth straight ranked opponent he has faced with an entertaining 8-5 decision over No. 5 Franklin Gomez in the first match of the night.
A THORN IN THE SIDE
The Wolverines hold a 29-24-2 advantage in the all-time series and have been a thorn in the Gophers’ side in recent years. Michigan has won five of the last seven meetings between the two schools, including handing Minnesota its only dual meet loss of the season in 2005-06. The Wolverines also topped the Gophers in the third-place match-up at the National Duals two weeks ago.
After entering the meet with 19 consecutive victories, the third-longest streak in school history, the Gophers suffered a 19-15 defeat at Michigan on Friday, Feb. 17, 2006. The Wolverines went on to win their third straight Big Ten regular-season title with a win at Indiana two days later. Minnesota will look to avenge last season’s loss on Friday night at the Sports Pavilion.
|1/14/08 ||Nat'l Duals ||Mich. won 23-16 |
|1/26/07 ||@ Minn. ||Minn. won 35-4 |
|2/17/06 ||@ Mich. ||Mich. won 19-15 |
|1/30/05 ||@ Minn. ||Mich. won 24-19 |
|1/22/05 ||Nat'l Duals ||Minn. won 21-16 |
|1/24/04 ||@ Mich. ||Mich. won 31-4 |
|1/17/04 ||Nat'l Duals ||Mich. won 30-6 |
THE LAST TIME: MINNESOTA VS. MICHIGAN (1/14/08)
Two weeks ago at the 2008 NWCA National Duals, the Gophers did not have long to dwell on their semifinal loss to Nebraska as they stepped onto the mat just 15 minutes later against the seventh-ranked Wolverines in the third place dual meet. Jayson Ness opened the meet at 125 pounds and made quick work of Michael Watts match with a 53-second pin. Ness improved to 23-0 on the season and recorded his 16th pin.
After Mack Reiter took care of business against Chris Diehl (an 11-2 major decision), Manny Rivera could not muster the upset against No. 1 Kellen Russell of the Wolverines. Rivera nearly came back from a 7-3 deficit, but ended up losing 10-6. After Luke Mellmer was pinned in 3:45 by No. 7 Josh Churella, C.P. Schlatter won a surprisingly close 3-2 decision over Jeff Marsh. The Gophers then elected to go with senior Jeremy Larson at 165 pounds, who kept things close in a 6-3 loss to top-ranked Eric Tannenbaum.
Gabe Dretsch had to endure his third top-five wrestler of the weekend at 174 pounds in No. 2 Steve Luke putting forth a solid effort in the 5-3 loss. Brandon Sitch filled in for a banged-up Kish at 184 pounds but lost 17-4, while senior Mitch Kuhlman saw his first dual meet action in nearly two years at 197 pounds, losing 10-0 to No. 15 Anthony Biondo.
Heavyweight Ben Berhow ended what was an otherwise-disappointing day for the Gophers with a 5-0 shutout win over Chad Bleske at heavyweight, making the final score 23-16 in favor of Michigan. It was the Wolverines’ third win in four tries against the Gophers.
This weekend’s road trip will present a number of intriguing individual match-ups for the defending national champion Golden Gophers. Although Friday’s opponent, the Michigan State Spartans, have struggled somewhat this season, they still possess one of the nation’s most feared 133-pounders in third-ranked Franklin Gomez. Friday will be the first collegiate match-up between Minnesota’s second-ranked senior Mack Reiter and the MSU sophomore. Reiter has already faced five ranked opponents this season.
During Saturday’s rumble with the No. 6 Wolverines, a number of Gophers will be looking to avenge the team’s National Duals third place loss. Manny Rivera dropped a hard-fought 10-6 decision to true freshman and top-ranked Kellen Russell during the teams’ meeting two weeks ago, while No. 10 Gabe Dretsch will get another crack at second-ranked Steve Luke at 174 pounds (Luke won 5-3 at the Duals). Minnesota’s Roger Kish (if healthy) will also get the chance to avenge his loss to No. 11 Vince Jones at 184 pounds.
THREE PASS THE CENTURY MARK, DRETSCH AT 99
While current senior Roger Kish was the only Gopher to eclipse 100 career victories last season (he currently has 110), three Gophers have accomplished the feat already in 2007-08 and another is right on the verge. Gopher senior Manny Rivera currently boasts a lifetime mark of 101-33 and picked up his 100th lifetime win by beating Central Michigan’s Eric Kruger 7-5 in overtime at the National Duals. Mack Reiter, currently 101-18 lifetime, notched his 100th win by beating Kenny Jordan of Nebrask in the Gophers’ semifinal loss at the National Duals.
Another Gopher senior, C.P. Schlatter, just picked up his 100th career victory with an impressive 43-second pin of SDSU’s Nick Genereux on Sunday. Gabe Dretsch, a three-time NCAA qualifier out of Frazee, Minn., will go for his 100th career win this weekend. His current lifetime record is 99-48.
Current Gophers Past 100 Career Wins
Roger Kish (2003-pres.), 110-22-0
Manuel Rivera (2003-pres.), 101-33-0
Mack Reiter (2003-pres.), 101-18-0
C.P. Schlatter (2003-pres.), 100-28-0
Gabriel Dretsch (2003-pres.), 99-48-0
NESS HOLDS SECOND-LONGEST ACTIVE D1 WIN STREAK
Although Jayson Ness failed to add to his pin total in a 14-5 major decision win over SDSU’s Nick Kulseth, he did add to another impressive streak. Heading into this weekend’s roadtrip to the state of Michigan, Ness has won 25 consecutive matches dating back to his pin of Lock Haven’s Obenson Blanc at the 2007 NCAAs. That, according to preliminary research, appears to be the second-longest active winning streak in Division I college wrestling behind 2007 197-pound national champion Josh Glenn of American University. Below is a list of the other longest active streaks in college wrestling:
Longest Active Winning Streaks in D1 Wrestling
1. 32, Josh Glenn, American (12/30/07-pres.)
2. 25, Jayson Ness, Minnesota (11/10/07-pres.)
3. 24, Mike Poeta, Illinois (3/17/07-pres.)
4. 19, Keith Gavin, Pittsburgh (11/11/07-pres.)
GOPHERS MAKE QUICK WORK OF JACKRABBITS
The Golden Gopher wrestling team made quick work of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits Sunday at the Sports Pavilion, winning the afternoon dual meet by a score of 34-9. A Minnesota lineup that featured just four regulars won seven of 10 matches, including the 24th consecutive victory of the season for top-ranked sophomore Jayson Ness.
Fresh off a weekend in which they wrestled four times at the NWCA National Duals, the Gopher coaching staff elected to rest a number of starters regulars Mack Reiter, Manuel Rivera, Dustin Schlatter, Scott Glasser, Gabe Dretsch and Roger Kish were all held out of the lineup for various reasons. Ness (wrestling for the first time in his collegiate career at 133 pounds), No. 7 C.P. Schlatter (157 pounds) and returning NCAA qualifier Tyler Safratowich (165 pounds) highlighted the Gophers’ revised lineup, which featured four wrestlers making just their first, second or third dual meet appearances of the season.
Ness took part in the only 133-pound match of his short career. By dominating Nick Kulseth of South Dakota State, Ness moved to 24-0 overall on the season and 12-0 in dual meets. Another highlight of the afternoon included Jeremy Larson’s quick pin over Justin Retallic to start the meet at 174 pounds. Competing in only his second dual meet of the season, Larson was able to finish off the Jackrabbit in only 1:39 and gave his fans something to cheer about on Jeremy Larson Community Day at the Sports Pavilion.
Displaying the aggressiveness that has earned him the seventh spot in the nation, C. P. Schlatter was able to pin SDSU’s Marc Wermerson in only 39 seconds at 157 pounds, helping to cap off a day that saw Minnesota lead the entire meet.
When the defending national champion Gophers and the top-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes square off at Williams Arena Feb. 1, it will be one of the biggest head-to-head match-ups of the college season. Minnesota vs. Iowa is one of the most storied rivalries in college wrestling the two schools have met 88 times since 1921. Although the Gophers have won only 25 of those head-to-head meetings during that span, Minnesota has dominated the rivalry since they snapped the Hawkeyes’ run of 25 straight Big Ten titles in 1999. The Gophers have won nine of the past 14 meetings between the two schools, including convincing victories the past two seasons Minnesota’s 25-9 win at Williams Arena in 2005 was one of its most lopsided in the history of the rivalry to that point, and the Gophers emerged with an even more impressive 29-13 victory at Carver-Hawkeye Arena last season the second-worst home loss for Iowa since 1972.
This season, the rivalry promises to be more intense than it has been in years. The Hawkeyes, relatively dormant for years (the last of their 20 national titles came in 2000) are back on top Iowa regained the No. 1 in the national polls this season for the first time since 2001-02. Defending national champion Minnesota, however, still appear to be the team to beat come March the veteran-laded Gophers start seven seniors and boast five returning All-Americans. Struggling at times with inconsistency and injury, the Gophers will look to start their march towards a second straight Feb. 1 at Williams Arena. With plenty of intriguing individual match-ups (eight of the 10 matches will be between ranked wrestlers, with four top-10 battles), it promises to be the most exciting and competitive “Border Brawl” in years.