After a season that saw them go 13-7 in dual meets, place second at the Big Ten Championships and notch their 12th straight top-10 finish at the NCAA Championships, the 2007-08 Golden Gopher wrestling team officially wrapped up its season Sunday night. Minnesota held its team banquet at the Radisson University Hotel on campus and announced team awards for the recently-completed season.
Earning the Most Valuable and Most Falls awards was sophomore Jayson Ness. Ness enjoyed an outstanding year for the Gophers, finishing with a 39-2 overall record (21-0 in dual meets) and placing second at both the Big Ten and NCAA Championships. At the national tournament, Ness notched two pins to tie Marty Morgan’s single-season pins record of 20 and now has 35 falls in his two years of competition for Minnesota.
Senior Manuel Rivera was named the team’s Most Exciting Wrestler after a season that saw him go 34-9 and place second at the Big Ten Championships. Rivera was also one of four Gophers to become All-Americans at the 2008 NCAA Championships, placing seventh at 141 pounds.
Earning Verne Gagne Leadership Awards were seniors Mack Reiter and C.P. Schlatter, while seniors Roger Kish (Fraser Dean Most Courageous), Justin Bronson (Most Dedicated) and Gabe Dretsch (Chris Berglin Most Improved) also were honored.
Heavyweight Ben Berhow was named the team’s Most Outstanding Freshman of 2007-08 after a year that saw him place sixth at his first-ever Big Ten Championships to qualify for nationals in St. Louis.
Four Gophers Ness (second at 125 pounds), Reiter (fifth at 133), Rivera (seventh at 141) and Dustin Schlatter (seventh at 149) were honored for their All-American finishes at this year’s NCAA tournament.
2007-08 Minnesota Gopher Wrestling Team Awards
First Year M’ Club Letterwinners
Underclassmen Letterwinners- (3rd year winners)
Freshman Academic Award
Upperclassmen Academic Award
Most Outstanding Freshman
Chris Berglin Most Improved
Most Exciting Wrestler
Fraser Dean Most Courageous
Verne Gagne Leadership Award
Most Valuable Wrestler
Jayson Ness (125 2nd Place)
Mack Reiter (133 5th Place)
Manuel Rivera (141 7th Place)
Dustin Schlatter (149 7th Place)