#4/4 MINNESOTA (11-5, 2-1) at #11/10 Northwestern (5-6, 1-2)
: Evanston, Ill.Arena
: Thomas Athletic ComplexDate/Time
: Friday, Feb. 8, 2008, 6:30 p.m. (CST)Television
: Friday’s dual meet will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network starting at 6:35 p.m. Tim Johnson and Mark Massery will be on the call.
#4/4 MINNESOTA (11-5, 2-1) at Purdue (9-4, 1-2)Location
: West Lafayette, Ind.Arena
: Intercollegiate Athletic FacilityDate/Time
: Sunday, Feb. 10, 2008, 12:00 p.m. (CST)Live Webcast
: A live webcast of the meet will be available via purduesports.cstv.com.
Northwestern/Purdue Notes to Know
The fourth-ranked and defending national champion Golden Gopher wrestling team looks to rebound this weekend when they travel to 10th-ranked Northwestern (Friday) and Purdue (Sunday). Friday’s tilt will get underway at 6:30 p.m., while Sunday’s starts at noon (CST).
Friday night’s dual meet wil mark the third time this season the Gophers will appear on the Big Ten Network, tied for the most appearances in the conference (Michigan is also scheduled to have three dual meets aired on the station). Minnesota’s Dec. 2 dual with Iowa State was the network’s first wrestling broadcast, and last Friday’s meet with No. 1 Iowa was also televised live. Tim Johnson and Mark Massery will be on the call Friday.
Friday night, the Golden Gophers lost a tough 20-13 dual meet decision to the top-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes at Williams Arena. Iowa won six of 10 matches, including upsets by No. 9 Dan LeClere (over No. 3 Manny Rivera) and No. 8 Phil Keddy over Minnesota’s No. 5 Roger Kish. The win was the first in three years for the Hawkeyes in the series and drops Minnesota’s dual meet record to 11-4 (2-1 in the Big Ten)
Sunday, despite picking up key upsets from Tyler Safratowich (165 pounds) and No. 11 Gabriel Dretsch (174 pounds), the Gophers could not pull off the dual meet victory in Stillwater, Okla., falling to the third-ranked Cowboys 18-14. The Gophers won four of six matches, but close losses at 133, 141 and 184 pounds doomed the reigning Big Ten champions to their second loss of the weekend.
Minnesota has been outstanding against this weekend’s two opponents, the Wildcats and Boilermakers. The Gophers are 37-13-1 all-time against Northwestern (winning the last eight meetings between the two) and 42-17-2 all-time against Purdue (including 9-1 in their past 10 meetings).
Minnesota is also coming off a successful Big Ten-opening weekend in which they picked up victories over Michigan State (Jan. 25 in East Lansing) and Michigan (Jan. 26 in Ann Arbor).
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. 5 at 133 pounds), Manny Rivera (No. 3 at 141), Dustin Schlatter (No. 3 at 149 pounds), C.P. Schlatter (No. 7 at 157), Gabe Dretsch (No. 11 at 174) and Roger Kish (No. 10 at 184) all rank among the nation’s best.
While the Gophers endured a tough weekend to start February, top-ranked 125-pounder Jayson Ness certainly did not. Ness earned a dominating 14-2 major decision over No. 3 Charlie Falck Friday, his fourth win in as many tries over the Apple Valley (Minn.) graduate, and followed that with another 18-5 major decision over No. 16 Tyler Shinn Sunday in Stillwater. Ness has won 29 consecutive matches (the second-longest active streak in Division I) and needs just three more pins to break current assistant head coach Marty Morgan’s single-season mark for most pins by a Gopher (20, set in 1989-90).
GOPHERS ENDURE ROUGH WEEKEND
Ever since the 2007-08 schedule was released, everyone knew that the weekend of Feb. 1-3 would be a tough one, but few knew how tough. The Gophers lost back-to-back dual meets for the second time already this season, falling 20-14 to No. 1 Iowa Friday night and 18-14 Sunday against Oklahoma State. The Gophers have had more than one losing streak in the same season just twice since 1991-92 (the other year being 2004-05).
HAWKEYES TRUMP GOPHERS AT WILLIAMS
The Golden Gopher wrestling team dropped a tough 20-13 dual meet decision to the top-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes Friday night at Williams Arena. Two key upsets spurred the Hawkeyes to victory in front of 7,472 spectators, giving them their first win over Minnesota in three years.
Things began going awry for the Gophers after Iowa’s Joe Slaton defeated Mack Reiter at 133 pounds, followed by an upset victory by Dan LeClere over Minnesota’s Manuel Rivera at 141. The Gophers closed the gap to one point after the 165-pound match, but Iowa cemented the victory when No. 8 Phil Keddy upset No. 5 Roger Kish at 184 pounds.
It was the first in the series for Iowa against Minnesota since 2005 and their first win at Williams Arena since the 2000 season.
LONG TIME COMING
The Gophers’ 20-13 loss to Iowa Friday night at Williams was the program’s first conference dual meet loss in nearly two years, and their first home Big Ten loss in nearly three. Minnesota was an undefeated 8-0 in the Big Ten last year en route to their national championship, and last lost in the conference on Feb. 19, 2006 (19-15 at Michigan. The Gophers’ last home Big Ten loss came on February 20, 2005 vs. Illinois (24-13).
BOYS TOP CHAMPS IN OK
Despite picking up key upsets from Tyler Safratowich (165 pounds) and No. 11 Gabriel Dretsch (174 pounds), the defending national champion Golden Gopher wrestling team could not pull off the dual meet victory Sunday afternoon in Stillwater, Okla., falling to the third-ranked Cowboys 18-14. The Gophers won four of six matches, but close losses at 133, 141 and 184 pounds doomed the reigning Big Ten champions to their second loss of the weekend.
In a heated battle between the two programs that have combined to win the past seven NCAA team titles, the Cowboys got the better of J Robinson’s Gophers for the first time in the last four meetings between the schools. The victory was the Cowboys’ first home win over Minnesota since a 1997, and the home school has won just two dual meets between these two programs since 1998 (the other instance being Minnesota’s 21-15 win over OSU last season in Williams Arena). The Gophers have still won eight of their last 12 dual meets with the Cowboys.
THE SERIES VS. NORTHWESTERN
Minnesota has been the toast of the Big Ten for most of this millennium, as the Gophers have won three national and five conference titles since the year 2000. They have owned a distinct advantage in the series with the Wildcats during that time Minnesota has won the last eight meetings between the programs and 12 of the last 14 dating back to 1991. The two teams tied (18-18) in 1993. The Gophers are 37-13-1 all-time vs. Northwestern.
LAST TIME VS. NORTHWESTERN (1/20/06)
The top-ranked Golden Gopher wrestling team won seven of 10 matches in a 24-11 victory against No. 16 Northwestern in the Big Ten opener for both teams on Jan. 20, 2006. The Wildcats jumped ahead 3-0 after eighth-ranked John Velez earned a 6-0 decision against Andrew Domingues at 125 pounds. Minnesota responded with five straight victories, including third-ranked Mack Reiter’s 5-2 decision over Daniel Quintela at 133 pounds. The Golden Gophers led 7-3 after Manuel Rivera scored a 14-3 major decision against Marty Gould at 141 pounds. No. 2 Dustin Schlatter put on a clinic with a 17-1 technical fall against Jimmy Kim at 149 pounds, and C.P. Schlatter followed with a 9-4 decision against Greg Hagel at 157 pounds/ Matt Nagel made the score 18-3 with a 3-1 decision against 17th-ranked Will Durkee at 165 pounds. Ninth-ranked Roger Kish defeated 10th-ranked Mike Tamillow, 6-2 at 184 pounds, and top-ranked heavyweight Cole Konrad defeated ninth-ranked Dustin Fox 4-0 to end the meet. Konrad improved his record to 25-0 on the year.
THE SERIES VS. PURDUE
The Boilermaker wrestling program has not ranked amongst the nation’s elite in quite some time (Purdue last finished in the top-five at the Big Ten Championships in 1992), and the J Robinson-led Minnesota Gophers have taken full advantage during that span. The Gophers are 42-17-2 vs. Purdue all-time, and have won nine of the last 10 meetings between the schools.
LAST TIME VS. PURDUE (1/28/07)
The top-ranked Golden Gopher wrestling team improved to 14-1 on the season and 3-0 in the Big Ten with a convincing 32-9 victory over Purdue on Jan. 28, 2007 at the Sports Pavilion. Minnesota won seven of 10 matches on the day, earning bonus points in six, to hand the Boilermakers their fourth straight loss.
Then-fourth ranked Jayson Ness earned a major decision over Brandon Tucker at 125 pounds, and Roger Kish also picked up a 23-8 technical fall. The closest match of the day was top-ranked Dustin Schlatter’s 3-2 win over No. 11 Jake Patacsil at 149 pounds.
NESS CONTINUES TO SHINE
Although the Gophers endured a rough weekend, it was anything but for top-ranked 125-pound sophomore Jayson Ness. The Bloomington, Minn. native continued to establish himself as one of the nation’s top overall wrestlers with dominating wins over No. 3 Charlie Falck of Iowa and No. 16 Tyler Shinn of OSU last weekend. Ness is still just three pins shy of the Gophers’ single-season mark (he has 17 entering this weekend) and has scored bonus points in an amazing 82 percent of his matches this weekend (23 of 28). His streak of 29 consecutive wins is the second-longest active streak in Division I.
Ness has beaten six ranked wrestlers already this season, including two top-five opponents (Falck and then-No. 1 Paul Donahoe of Nebraska).
THE GIANT KILLER RETURNS
Last season, Tyler Safratowich earned the reputation of being a giant killer after being inserted into the starting lineup at 165 pounds at Indiana on Feb. 2, 2007. Safratowich picked up the first two Big Ten wins of his career with a pair of impressive upsets over ranked opponents, knocking off No. 16 Max Dean of Indiana and No. 13 Roger Smith-Bergsrud of Illinois in his first two starts at 165.
While wrestling at 157 pounds earlier that year, Safratowich also upset No. 2 Brian Stith of Arizona State on Jan. 2. Safratowich eventually earned the first NCAA qualification of his career and was just one win shy of earning All-American status, going 2-2 at nationals.
This season, Safratowich began the season platooning with redshirt freshman Scott Glasser at 165 pounds, but took over the job after the start of the new year due to a Glasser injury. Since that time, the junior has been a bright spot in the Gopher lineup and broke through with a big win over No. 5 Jake Dieffenbach of Oklahoma State Sunday. Safratowich is 8-9 over the last two seasons against ranked wrestlers and has two wins over top-five opponents.
Safratowich’s Ranked Victories:
|Date ||Opponent (School) ||Result |
|11/18/06 ||#2 Trent Paulson (Iowa State) ||Med. For |
|1/2/07 ||#2 Brian Stith (Arizona State) ||D, 4-3 |
|2/2/07 ||#16 Max Dean (Indiana) ||D, 10-4 |
|2/4/07 ||#13 Roger Smith-Bergstrund (Ill.) ||D, 4-0 |
|3/3/07 ||#17 Chris Vondruska (Ohio State) ||D, 6-3|
|3/15/07 ||#15 Steve Anceravage (Cornell) ||D, 8-4|
|12/30/07 ||#17 Chris Brown (Old Dominion) ||Med. For.|
|2/3/07 ||#5 Jake Dieffenbach (Okl. State) ||D, 5-1 OT|
DRETSCH’S TOUGH STRETCH
Gopher senior Gabe Dretsch has put together a fine career at Minnesota, going 101-50 and qualifying for nationals three times. This season, the Frazee, Minn. native has gone 22-8 so far this season and is currently ranked 11th nationally at 174 pounds. While Dretsch is a solid 9-5 in dual meets this season, but the caliber of competition he has faced in recent weeks is second to none. Dretsch has faced a whopping 11 ranked wrestlers since Dec. 29, including seven in a row and six from the top 10. Below is a rundown of Dretsch’s recent matches against ranked wrestlers:
|Date ||Opponent (School) ||Result |
|12/29 ||#14 Alton Lucas (Hofstra) ||L, 3-4 |
|12/30 ||#18 Eric Decker (Virginia Tech) ||W, 5-2 |
|12/30 ||#11 Steve Anceravage (Cornell) ||L, 4-7 |
|12/30 ||#12 Phil Moricone (Edinboro) ||W, 5-3 |
|1/12 ||#3 Brandon Sinnot (C. Michigan) ||W, 6-3 |
|1/13 ||#5 Brandon Browne (Nebraska) ||L, 2-3 |
|1/13 ||#2 Steve Luke (Michigan) ||L, 3-5 |
|1/25 ||#2 Steve Luke (Michigan) ||L, 3-9 |
|1/26 ||#19 John Murphy (Mich. State) ||W, P (0:46) |
|2/1 ||#2 Jay Borschel (Iowa) ||L, 3-8 |
|2/3 ||#7 Brandon Mason (Okl. State) ||W, 5-3 |
This weekend’s pair of dual meets with Northwestern and Purdue are sure to produce plenty of memorable matches, with Friday’s meet against the Wildcats of particular interest. Tenth-ranked Northwestern currently boasts six ranked wrestlers, and that dual meet will feature three battles between ranked wrestlers:
125: #1 Jayson Ness (28-0) vs. #5 Brandon Precin (26-3)
141: #3 Manuel Rivera (25-4) vs. #17 Keith Sulzer (11-4)
174: #11 Gabe Dretsch (22-8) vs. #12 Nick Hayes (16-5)
The Wildcats will also send out #5 Ryan Lang (149 pounds), #2 Mike Tamillow (197 pounds) and top-ranked heavyweight Dustin Fox.