Following a weekend at the Sports Pavilion, the Gophers are on the road this weekend to take on two of their biggest rivals. Minnesota, ranked 11th in this week’s InterMat/NWCA poll, will travel to Madison to take on No. 18 Wisconsin on Friday night before heading to Iowa City to meet top-ranked Iowa on Sunday afternoon.
Both duals this weekend will mark the second time this season the Gophers have squared off with the Badgers and the Hawkeyes. Minnesota fell to Iowa by a 27-7 score and defeated Wisconsin by a 22-15 tally at last month’s National Duals in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Minnesota sophomore Mike Thorn should have his work cut out for him this weekend. Thorn is slated to face the nation’s top two 141-pounders in Wisconsin’s Zach Tanelli and Iowa’s Alex Tsirtsis. Sunday’s anticipated match between Jayson Ness and Iowa’s top-ranked Daniel Dennis at 133 pounds will also draw significant national attention.
Gophers on Big Ten Network
Minnesota fans can watch Sunday’s dual with archrival Iowa on the Big Ten Network. The meet, which begins at 2:00 p.m. (CT) will be broadcast tape-delayed at 7:00 p.m.. The meet is the first and only Minnesota dual this season to appear on BTN. The network is also set to broadcast the Big Ten Championships from State College, Pa. on March 8.
Two-time All-American Jayson Ness has lived up to his reputation for piling up pins again this season. A year after tying former head assistant coach Marty Morgan’s school record with 20 pins, the Bloomington, Minn. native has picked up right where he left off, recording 14 pins in his first 19 matches of the season.
Heading into the pair of duals this weekend, Ness needs only two more pins to tie former Golden Gopher legend Billy Pierce (1992-96) for most pins in the history of the program with 51.
Last Time Out
The Gophers split a pair of Big Ten duals last weekend at the Sports Pavilion. Minnesota dropped a 17-16 decision to No. 18 Michigan on Friday night before securing the program’s seventh consecutive dual win over Northwestern on Sunday afternoon, besting the No. 16 Wildcats by an 18-16 score.
On Friday night, the Gophers got wins in five of the dual’s 10 bouts, but Jayson Ness’ major decision at 133 pounds was the only match where Minnesota was able to collect bonus points. Wins by major decision from the Wolverines’ top-ranked Steve Luke at 174 pounds and No. 6 Tyrel Todd at 197 pounds proved to be the difference in the dual. The loss was Minnesota’s first of the Big Ten dual season.
On Sunday, Scott Glasser (165 pounds), Ben Berhow (Hwt) and Ness (133 pounds) each completed perfect weekends with big wins over their Northwestern counterparts to spark the 18-16 victory. The dual also featured a showdown between Northwestern’s No. 3 Brandon Precin and the Gophers’ seventh-ranked Zach Sanders at 125 pounds, with Precin holding on for an 8-7 win. Sanders took down the 2008 All-American in the closing seconds and recorded a three-point nearfall, but Precin was able to avoid the pin and secure the victory.
Berhow’s pair of wins over the weekend improved his season mark to 21-6, and improved his record in Big Ten duals to 5-0. The Hayward, Minn. native also currently owns a seven-match winning streak, matching a career-best.
'Saf' Closes in on Century Mark
Minnesota senior Tyler Safratowich has been a steady force for Minnesota this season at 157 pounds, piecing together a 23-10 record with seven pins. He has started each of the Gophers’ 19 duals this season and is ranked 17th nationally by the Amateur Wrestling News this week.
With a 99-43 career record, the Park Rapids, Minn. native needs just one more victory to become the 35th wrestler in school history to earn 100 career wins.