A dramatic pin by Gopher senior Mack Reiter was the highlight of Saturday’s early session, as seven Minnesota wrestlers advanced to the semifinals of the 2008 Big Ten Championships at Williams Arena. Minnesota trailed first-place Iowa by 10 points heading into Saturday night's second session.
Reiter, who lost to Wisconsin’s Zach Tanelli 5-1 at the Feb. 17 dual meet in Williams Arena earlier this season, gained his revenge early Saturday afternoon. After falling behind 2-0 early, Reiter stormed back to take the lead in the match before pinning Tanelli at the 6:35 mark.
Also advancing to the semifinals with Reiter were Jayson Ness, Manuel Rivera, Dustin Schlatter, C.P. Schlatter, Gabe Dretsch and Roger Kish.
Eleventh-ranked and third-seeded Safratowich was the first Golden Gopher to hit the mat during Saturday’s first session, and he scored a bonus point for Minnesota with a 13-5 major decision win over Purdue’s Luke Manuel in the 165 pigtail round. But the junior fell to Indiana’s Matt Coughlin in the quarterfinals 6-4 and dropped into consolation competition.
Senior Roger Kish escaped with a close 4-2 victory over Wisconsin’s Trevor Brandvold in his 184-pound pigtail round, but eighth-seeded heavyweight Ben Berhow lost a close 9-7 decision to unseeded Nathan Everhart of Indiana in the first round. Kish then picked up a hard-fought 5-4 victory over No. 14 (and fifth-seeded) Phil Bomberger of Penn State.
A last-second takedown by top-ranked Jayson Ness gave the Gopher a 10-2 major decision win over Wisconsin’s Collin Cudd in the quarterfinals. It was the 35th consecutive victory for Ness and his fourth straight Big Ten Championships win (he went 3-0 last year en route to his first-ever conference title).
Manuel Rivera also advanced to Saturday night’s semifinal round at 141 pounds with a big 6-2 victory over third-seeded J Jaggers of Ohio State. Rivera had lost to Jaggers Feb. 24 at Williams Arena, but pulled off the mild upset Saturday afternoon. It was the first-ever opening round win for Rivera in a conference tournament. The Gopher senior had finished fifth at Big Tens each of the past two seasons.
Second-seeded and third-ranked Dustin Schlatter also took care of business in his opening-round match with Indiana’s Kurt Kinser (who upset Northwestern’s Ryan Lang in the opening round). Schlatter advances to the semifinals for the third consecutive year.
The last two Gopher seniors to hit the mat were 174-pound Dretsch and 197-pounder Justin Bronson. Dretsch advanced to Saturday night’s semifinals with an impressive 3-1 win over Indiana’s Trevor Perry, but Bronson was defeated by Illinois’ Patrick Bond 11-3 and dropped to the consolation bracket.
After one session of action at Williams Arena, Minnesota trails first-place Iowa 74-64. Session two is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
Session 1 Standings:
1. Iowa (74.0 points)
2. Minnesota (64.0)
3. Illinois (50.0)
4. Michigan (46.0)
5. Northwestern (39.5)
Session I Results
125 No. 1 Jayson Ness, First Seed
Quarterfinals: Ness maj. dec. Collin Cudd (WIS), 10-2
133 No. 9 Mack Reiter, Fifth Seed
Quarterfinals: Reiter pinned Zach Tanelli (WIS), 6:35
141 No. 8 Manuel Rivera, Sixth Seed
Quarterfinals: Rivera dec. J Jaggers (OSU), 6-2
149 No. 3 Dustin Schlatter, Third Seed
Quarterfinals: Schlatter dec. Kurt Kinser (IND), 8-1
157 No. 6 C.P. Schlatter, Fourth Seed
Quarterfinals: Schlatter dec. Craig Henning (WIS), 4-2
165 No. 11 Tyler Safratowich, Third Seed
Pigtails: Safratowich maj. dec. Luke Maneul (PUR), 13-5
Quarterfinals: Matt Coughlin (IND) dec. Safratowich, 6-4
174 No. 11 Gabriel Dretsch, Third Seed
Quarterfinals: Dretsch dec. Trevor Perry (IND), 4-1
184 No. 9 Roger Kish, Fourth Seed
Pigtails: Kish dec. Trevor Brandvold (WIS), 4-2
Quarterfinals: Kish dec. Phillip Bomberger (PSU), 5-4
197 Justin Bronson, Sixth Seed
Quarterfinals: Patrick Bond (ILL) maj. dec. Bronson, 11-3
Hwt Ben Berhow, Eighth Seed
Pigtails: Nathan Everhart (IND) dec. Berhow, 9-7