The defending national champion Minnesota Golden Gopher wrestling team will officially begin its hunt for a second straight national title when they open the 2007-08 season at the Bison Open in Fargo, N.D. Saturday. The first round of competition is scheduled to get underway at 10 a.m. at the Fargo Sports Arena. The meet will be hosted by North Dakota State University.
Minnesota has experienced plenty of prior success at the annual early season event, now in its 38th year. At last year’s Bison Open, the Gophers had eight wrestlers take home titles and garnered 15 placewinners. Minnesota wrestlers looking to defend their Bison Open crowns will be Manuel Rivera (141), Dustin Schlatter (149), C.P. Schlatter (157), Scott Glasser (165), Gabe Dretsch (174), Roger Kish (184) and co-champion heavyweights Ben Berhow and Joe Nord. Jayson Ness (125) and Brent Eidenschink (197) were runners-up a year ago.
The Bison Open will feature many teams from around the area, including NDSU, MSU-Moorhead, St. John’s (Minn.), Dickinson State, Jamestown, Concordia-Moorhead, Mary and Manitoba.
Following their season debut this Saturday, the Gophers will travel to Omaha, Neb. next Saturday for the Kaufman-Brand Open Nov. 17. Minnesota will open the dual meet season Nov. 24 at the Northern Quad in Rochester, Minn. The Gophers will compete in dual meets against Northern Colorado, Northern Illinois and NDSU in the first annual event at the UCR Regional Sports Center in Rochester.
In addition, returning All-Americans Dustin Schlatter, Kish and Ness will compete in the 2007 NWCA All-Star Classic, the premier one-day collegiate wrestling event in the country. The 43-year old competition will take place on Monday, Nov. 19 at the University of Oregon’s McArthur Court in Eugene, Ore
Minnesota will open their home dual meet season Dec. 2 at Williams Arena against 2007 NCAA runner-up Iowa State. That meet will be televised via tape delay on the Big Ten Network.
2006 Golden Gopher Bison Open Placewinners
1st Manuel Rivera, 141
1st Dustin Schlatter, 149
1st C.P. Schlatter, 157
1st Scott Glasser, 165
1st Gabe Dretsch, 174
1st Roger Kish, 184
1st Ben Berhow and Joe Nord, Hwt (co-champions)
2nd Jayson Ness, 125
2nd Brent Eidenschink, 197
3rd Jake Mellmer, 133
3rd Juan Martinez, 149
3rd Tyler Safratowich, 157
3rd Justin Bronson, 197
4th Chris McPhail, 197