The 2007 National Champion University of Minnesota wrestling team will visit Washington, D.C. on Friday, Sept. 21 to commemorate their third NCAA title since 2001. Head coach J Robinson, University athletics director Joel Maturi, Minnesota’s championship squad and several team staff and administration members will be making stops at the Capitol, Pentagon and the White House, where they will meet President George W. Bush.
Friday morning, the team will enjoy tours at both the Capitol and Pentagon buildings before their afternoon appointment at the White House with the President. In 2001, the then-national champion Gophers became the first collegiate wrestling team to ever visit the White House, spending 25 minutes with President Bush and receiving a personal tour of the Oval Office from our country’s chief executive.
During Coach Robinson’s tenure at Minnesota, the Gophers wrestling team has become one of the most successful programs in collegiate athletic history. The Gophers have captured three national championships since 2001, boast 10 NCAA individual champions since 1998, 62 All-Americans in the last decade and six Big Ten titles in nine years.
Minnesota stormed through the 2006-2007 season, going 20-1 in dual meets and gaining team titles at the National Duals and Big Ten Championships before taking home their third NCAA Championship on March 18. Five Gophers Jayson Ness (125 lbs.), Dustin Schlatter (149), C.P. Schlatter (157), Roger Kish (184) and Cole Konrad (Hwt.) finished in the top eight at nationals and earned All-American status.
The Gophers’ second Washington visit also marks the return of 2007 national heavyweight champion Konrad, the only Gopher All-American to graduate last spring. Konrad cemented his place alongside Golden Gopher legends Verne Gagne, Tim Hartung and Damion Hahn by winning his second straight national championship in 2007. Konrad finished his career with 76 wins in a row and a 154-13-0-career record, just five wins behind the all-time mark of 159 held by Ed Giese. He also had 50 pins, which rank second in school history.
Cole Konrad also became Minnesota's fifth four-time All-American, joining Chad Kraft, Luke Becker, Jared Lawrence and Hahn.
An official send-off ceremony for the team has been preliminarily planned for Thursday afternoon at the Bierman Athletic Building on the University of Minnesota campus. More information will be released when it becomes available.
The 2007-08 Gopher wrestling season opens on Nov. 10 when Minnesota partakes in the 2007 Bison Open, hosted by North Dakota State. The defending national champions return to Williams Arena for their home opener Dec. 2.