The top-ranked Golden Gopher wrestling team won its fifth Big Ten title in the last eight years thanks in part to four individual champions today in Bloomington, Ind. Minnesota finished with 138 points, followed by Illinois with 125 points. Dustin Schlatter, C.P. Schlatter, Roger Kish and Cole Konrad claimed Big Ten titles, while Mack Reiter and Matt Nagel earned runner-up finishes.
“We told our guys what they needed to do to win today and they took care of business,” head coach J Robinson. “This is just one more step along the journey we started in the fall. Our guys are excited to head to nationals in two weeks and they’ll go there with a lot of confidence. We challenged our team before this tournament and they came through today.”
Robinson was named Big Ten Coach of the Year for the sixth time in his career. He last earned the honor in 2002. Konrad became the sixth Golden Gopher to be named Big Ten Wrestler of the Year after he rolled through the conference with an unblemished record. Dustin Schlatter became the school’s fourth Big Ten Freshman of the Year as he improved to 37-1 on the season with his title today.
Behind Minnesota and Illinois, Michigan placed third with 115 points, followed by Penn State in fourth, Northwestern in fifth, Iowa in sixth, Wisconsin in seventh, Michigan State in eighth, Purdue in ninth, Indiana in 10th and Ohio State in 11th.
Minnesota entered the day with a 3.5-point lead over Illinois, but trailed early on in the final session. The Golden Gophers turned the tide with a perfect 4-0 record against Illinois in head-to-head matchups, including three wins in championship matches. In all, Illinois lost all five of its championship matches, while Minnesota finished 4-2. The Schlatter brothers claimed their first Big Ten titles in back-to-back wins over the Tirapelle brothers at 149 and 157 pounds.
Dustin Schlatter claimed the 149-pound title with a dominating 13-0 major decision against fellow freshman Troy Tirapelle of Illinois. Schlatter scored the first takedown just 33 seconds into the match and then tacked on four near falls in the first period alone. Schlatter racked up more than two minutes of riding time.
C.P. Schlatter followed with a 5-2 upset of two-time Big Ten Champion Alex Tirapelle of Illinois at 157 pounds. Leading 2-0 in the second, Schlatter took a 4-0 lead with a near fall early in the period. He rode Tirapelle the entire two minutes. In the third, Tirapelle was unable to generate any offense as Schlatter took home the title.
Kish rounded out the Minnesota-Illinois matchups with a 3-1 decision over defending Big Ten Champion Pete Friedl at 184 pounds. Kish took a 2-0 lead two minutes into the first period and then rode Friedl most of the second. Kish increased the lead to 3-1 with an escape in the third period and then held Friedl off to claim the conference title.
Konrad needed overtime to claim this second straight heavyweight championship. Tied at one, Konrad scored a takedown and a three-point near fall against second-seeded Greg Wagner of Michigan just as time expired in the first overtime.
Reiter finished second at 133 pounds following an epic match against third-seeded Tom Clum of Wisconsin. Clum earned his third career win against Reiter with a 6-4 decision in three overtimes. The pair remained tied through two overtime periods and two tiebreakers before Clum claimed the win with a takedown midway through the third overtime.
Michigan’s Ryan Churella won his third Big Ten Championship with a 7-0 decision over Nagel at 165 pounds. Churella earned his fifth career win against Nagel. Churella took a 2-0 lead with a takedown with 12 seconds to go in the first period.
In the third-place match at 174 pounds, Gabriel Dretsch gave up a takedown in the final 10 seconds in a 3-1 loss to third-seeded R.J. Boudro of Michigan State. Dretsch advanced to the third-place match with a thrilling 6-4 overtime decision against sixth-seeded Donny Reynolds of Illinois. With the match tied at four, Dretsch scored the winning takedown with two seconds left in the first overtime.
Sophomore Manuel Rivera finished in fifth place following his 6-3 decision against eighth- seeded Ed Gutnik of Wisconsin at 141 pounds. Rivera took control of a tied match with a two-point near fall to start the third period. Rivera was defeated by top-seeded Josh Churella of Michigan, 6-1, in the consolation semifinals.
The Golden Gophers’ four individual champions are the most since the team won five titles en route to the 2002 Big Ten Championship. Minnesota now has 23 individual titles in the last eight years. The Golden Gophers claimed their ninth Big Ten title overall, good for fifth all-time.
Minnesota will send eight wrestlers to the NCAA Championships in Oklahoma City, Okla., in two weeks. The tournament at the Ford Center will run from March 16-18.
2006 Big Ten Championships
March 5, 2006
Final Team Standings
1. Minnesota, 138.0
2. Illinois, 125.0
3. Michigan, 115.0
4. Penn State, 91.0
5. Northwestern, 87.5
6. Iowa, 86.0
7. Wisconsin, 76.5
8. Michigan State, 68.0
9. Purdue, 45.5
10. Indiana, 43.5
11. Ohio State, 40.0
Golden Gopher Placewinners
1st Dustin Schlatter (149)
1st C.P. Schlatter (157)
1st Roger Kish (184)
1st Cole Konrad (HWT)
2nd Mack Reiter (133)
2nd Matt Nagel (165)
4th Gabriel Dretsch (174)
5th Manuel Rivera (141)
133 - No. 3 Tom Clum (UW) dec. No. 1 Mack Reiter (MN), 6-4 SV3
149 - No. 1 Dustin Schlatter (MN) maj. dec. Troy Tirapelle (ILL), 13-0
157 - No. 3 C.P. Schlatter (MN) dec. No. 1 Alex Tirapelle (ILL), 5-2
165 - No. 1 Ryan Churella (MICH) dec. No. 3 Matt Nagel (MN), 7-0
184 - No. 3 Roger Kish (MN) dec. No. 2 Pete Friedl (ILL), 3-1
HWT - No. 1 Cole Konrad (MN) dec. No. 2 Greg Wagner (MICH), 6-1
174 - No. 3 R.J. Boudro (MSU) dec. No. 8 Gabriel Dretsch (MN), 3-1
141 - No. 7 Manuel Rivera (MN) dec. No. 8 Ed Gutnik (UW), 6-3
141 - No. 1 Josh Churella (MICH) dec. No. 7 Manuel Rivera (MN), 6-1
174 - No. 8 Gabriel Dretsch (MN) dec. No. 6 Donny Reynolds (ILL), 6-4 OT