The University of Minnesota wrestling program is ranked 12th nationally in the USA Today/InterMat/NWCA preseason poll released Thursday. Iowa received all 11 first-place votes and is ranked first overall in the poll. Returning Minnesota All-Americans Jayson Ness and Dustin Schlatter are ranked as top wrestlers in their respective weight classes.
Ness, the 2007 NCAA runner-up at 125 lbs., will wrestle at 133 lbs. this season for Minnesota. He is tabbed second behind Iowa’s Joey Slaton in the preseason poll. Schlatter, who took home All-American honors at 149 lbs. a year ago, is ranked sixth in the 157 lb. class.
The Gophers, who finished second at the Big Ten Championships a year ago, are among nine Big Ten programs listed among the top 25 in the poll. Ohio State (4th), Penn State (t-7th), Illinois (9th), Michigan (10th), Northwestern (11th), Wisconsin (13th) and Indiana (16th) are also ranked.
Minnesota sophomore Ben Berhow (Hwt. 18th) and redshirt freshman Zach Sanders (125 lbs. 19th) are also named in the preseason listing.
Minnesota opens its season at the Bison Open on Nov. 15 in Fargo, N.D. The team’s first home meet is a New Year’s Day dual with Oklahoma State at the Sports Pavilion. For ticket information, call 1-800-U-GOPHER or contact the Gopher Ticket Office at 612-624-8080.