The defending national champion Minnesota Golden Gopher wrestling team will open its home dual meet season Sunday afternoon at Williams Arena when they take on the second-ranked Iowa State Cyclones at Williams Arena beginning at 2 p.m. The meet will feature the top two teams at last year's NCAA Championships and can be seen live on the Big Ten Network.
SOMETHING FOR THE FANS
Sunday’s match is the Gophers’ first home appearance since their national title run last season, and the team has plenty of exciting things in store for the home crowd in addition to a dual meet match-up with second-ranked Iowa State. The 2007 NCAA Championship banner will be unveiled in a special pre-meet ceremony, and the first 1.500 fans through the gates will receive a commemorative 2007 national championship cap.
LIVE ON THE BTN
Even those fans who can’t make it out to Williams Arena can still catch all the action as it goes down Sunday afternoon, as the match-up between the No. 1 Gophers and No. 2 Cyclones will be shown live on the Big Ten Network. Sunday’s telecast will be the first of 10 wrestling events the network will broadcast this season, including the 2008 Big Ten Championships that will take place March 8-9 at Williams Arena. Big Ten Network is available in Minnesota via Dish Network (channel 439) or DirecTV (channel 220). Tim Johnson, a veteran of over 150 college wrestling dual meet broadcasts for Iowa Public Television (IPTV), the Fighting Illini Wrestling Network, ESPN and Real Pro Wrestling, will be providing play-by-play. Jim Gibbons is a former All-American and national champion wrestler and coach at Iowa State and will be providing color commentary for the telecast.
KISH VS. VARNER: ROUND 5
One of the most hotly-anticipated individual match-ups of Sunday’s meet will be at 184 pounds, when Minnesota’s Roger Kish (currently ranked second in the weight class) and top-ranked Jake Varner square off. Kish got the better of the then-redshirt freshman in their first two meetings last season, but Varner has held the upper hand of late he upset Minnesota’s two-time All-American in the semifinals at the NCAA Championships last year and won a 2-0 exhibition decision in the Nov. 19 NWCA All-Star Classic in Eugene, Ore.
12/8/06 - No. 2 Kish dec. No. 3 Varner 7-2 (@ Ames, Iowa)
1/14/07 - No. 2 Kish dec. No. 9 Varner 5-2 (National Duals @ Cedar Falls, Iowa)
12/8/07 - No. 6 Varner dec. No. 2 Kish 4-2, SV1 (NCAA Semifinals)
12/8/07 - No. 1 Varner dec. No. 2 Kish 2-0 (NWCA All-Star Classic)
KNOCKING 'EM DOWN
Returning All-American Jayson Ness hardly appears to be suffering any effects of a “sophomore slump” just the opposite, in fact. The 125-pounder is a perfect 6-0 this season, including 3-0 at Saturday’s Northern Quad. Ness has already pinned five of his six opponents this season to lead the team in that category.
C.P.'s SENIOR STRENGTH
Gopher senior captain and 2007 All-American C.P. Schlatter entered Saturday’s Northern Quad event with five career pins in 111 career matches. But he picked up two quick pins against Michael Smith of Northern Illinois (2:42) and Adam Aho of NDSU (4:47). C.P.’s career high for pins in a season came in 2004-05 (three).
ISU IS BRAND NEW
The history behind the Minnesota-Iowa State match-up is one of the longest in collegiate wrestling, dating back to 1920. But despite the fact that these two schools finished first and second the national championships last year, there are very few repeat match-ups from a year ago. In fact, only Roger Kish and Jake Varner will not be seeing each other for the first time. No. 8 Nick Fanthorpe (125 to 133 pounds), Nick Gallick (133 to 141), Mitch Mueller (141 to 149) and Cyler Sanderson (149 to 157) have all moved up a weight class from last year and will be facing brand-new Gopher opponents. The Cyclones lost four NCAA qualifiers from a year ago and three All-Americans and debut four new starters this season.
GOPHERS HAVE THEIR NUMBER
The Cyclones have only lost 10 dual meets the previous two seasons combined, but Minnesota has handed Iowa State four of those losses. Even though the Cyclones lead the all-time series a whopping 41-4-2 (dating back to 1920) but the Gophers have won seven of 13 meetings between the schools during head coach J Robinson’s 21-year tenure.
A senior looking for his first All-American honor this season, Manny Rivera is off to another hot start in 2007. The 141-pounder is 10-0 so far this season in the Bison Open, Kaufman-Brand Open and last Saturday’s Northern Quad dual meet opener and has two pins and three major decisions. Rivera started last season with 35 consecutive victories before finally falling at the Big Ten Championships. It was the sixth-longest winning streak in Minnesota history.
GLASSER SHINES IN DEBUT
Redshirt Freshman Scott Glasser has grabbed the attention of the wrestling community with his impressive performance in the early going thus far in 2007. The 165-pound native of Bismark, N.D. is 10-2 this season in the Bison Open, Kaufman-Brand Open and Saturday’s Northern Quad. Glasser also went 17-2 as a true freshman last season various open tournaments and is a former five-time North Dakota State champion. In his first-ever collegiate dual meet appearances, he defeated Northern Illinois’ Bryan Deutsch 6-2 and NDSU’s Mike Quamme 11-0 on Saturday.
NORTHERN QUAD DOMINATION
The defending national champion Golden Gopher wrestling team completed a three-meet sweep Nov. 24, beating Northern Illinois, Northern Colorado and North Dakota State at the first-ever Northern Quad event at the UCR Regional Sports Center in Rochester, Minn. Minnesota outscored its opponents 109-21 and lost just four matches all day. They will enter next Sunday’s Williams Arena showdown with Iowa State a perfect 3-0 in dual meet competition.
Jayson Ness, Manuel Rivera, C.P. Schlatter, Dustin Schlatter and Gabe Dretsch all went a perfect 3-0 on the day, while Mack Reiter, Scott Glasser and Justin Bronson each won both of their matches. Tyler Safratowich, Brandon Sitch and Ben Berhow also earned single victories on the day. An estimated crowd well over 1,500 people traveled to Rochester Community Technical College campus to watch the all-day event.
BLANKING THE BISON
Minnesota’s 45-0 win over North Dakota State Saturday was their first shutout of the season and their second in the last two years. The Gophers also defeated Northern Colorado on Dec. 1 of last year, also by a score of 45-0. Prior to that, the Gophers’ last shutout came in 2001 when they blanked Boise State 42-0. Minnesota also shut out NDSU 44-0 on Nov. 18, 2000.
PREVIOUS NO. 1 VS. NO. 2 MATCH-UPS
As the No. 1-ranked team in the nation for the past 44 weeks and most of the past two years, the Golden Gophers have partaken in their fair share of No. 1 vs. No. 2 match-ups over the years. Sunday will mark the first time in recent history that the Cyclones and Gophers have each been ranked this high while competing against one another. The second-ranked Gophers beat No. 1 Missouri 20-16 at the National Duals last January. Below are the most recent No. 1 vs. No. 2 meets Minnesota has been a part of:
11/15/06 No. 2 Minnesota 21, No. 1 Oklahoma State 14 (National Duals @ Cedar Falls, Iowa)
2/12/06 No. 1 Minnesota 19, No. 2 Oklahoma State 16 (@ Oklahoma City)
1/14/07 No. 2 Minnesota 20, No. 1 Missouri 16 (National Duals @ Cedar Falls, Iowa)
THE LAST TIME: MINN VS. ISU
The second-ranked Golden Gopher wrestling team advanced to the championship match of the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals with a 24-11 victory over No. 4 Iowa State on Jan. 15, 2007. The Gophers won seven of 10 matches to advance to the finals match for the second year in a row. Just a day removed from his return from a knee injury, C.P. Schlatter provided the biggest win of the dual, defeating second-ranked Trent Paulson, 5-4. Jayson Ness continued his impressive redshirt freshman campaign with an 11-8 decision over No. 20 Nick Fanthorpe to give Minnesota an early 3-0 lead. Iowa State took its only lead of the match when Nick Gallick won a 10-0 major decision over Mike Thorn at 133 pounds, but Manuel Rivera quickly got Minnesota back on track, remaining undefeated on the season with a 5-3 decision over Mitch Mueller, who was ranked No. 11 in the country.
ISU’s Cyler Sanderson did not make things easy for top-ranked Dustin Schlatter at 149 pounds. Sanderson took a defensive approach and kept the match scoreless through the first two periods. The only points of the match came in the third, with Schlatter scoring the deciding takedown with just 15 seconds remaining, extending his winning streak to 50. Victories in the 174 and 184 pounds matches all but sealed the dual for Minnesota. In a tight match at 174, Gabriel Dretsch earned a 2-1 decision over Grant Turner. Second-ranked Roger Kish followed with a 5-2 decision over No. 9 Jake Varner to give Minnesota an 18-8 advantage in the dual. Kish scored a pair of takedowns and allowed only two escapes as he accumulated 2:16 of riding time for the bonus point. A 9-4 decision in favor of ISU at 197 pounds made the score 18-11, but with the match out of reach, ISU forfeited at heavyweight to make the final 24-11.
DUAL MEET DOMINANCE
Minnesota has posted a 173-29 (.856) dual meet winning percentage since the start of the 1997-98 season. In seven seasons during that stretch, the Gophers have lost two dual meets or fewer, including a perfect 19-0 season in 2001-02. Minnesota has won 23 consecutive dual meets dating back to Nov. 25 of last season.
MINNESOTA'S PROBABLE STARTING LINEUP
|Wt. ||Rank ||Name ||Hometown ||'07-'08 Overall ||Dual ||Pins |
|125 ||#3/3 ||Jayson Ness ||Bloomington, Minn. ||6-0 ||3-0 ||5|
|133 ||#3/3 ||Mack Reiter ||Gilbertville, Iowa ||2-0 ||2-0 ||0 |
|141 ||#6/5 ||Manny Rivera ||El Monte, Calif. ||10-0 ||3-0 ||2 |
|149 ||#1/1 ||Dustin Schlatter ||Massillon, Ohio ||7-0 ||3-0 ||2 |
|157 ||#4/4 ||C.P. Schlatter ||Massillon, Ohio ||7-0 ||3-0 ||2 |
|165 ||#13/- ||Scott Glasser ||Bismark, N.D. ||10-2 ||2-0 ||3 |
|174 ||#6/10 ||Gabe Dretsch ||Frazee, Minn. ||9-1 ||2-0 ||2 |
|184 ||#2/2 ||Roger Kish ||LaPeer, Mich. ||5-0 ||3-0 ||2 |
|197 ||- ||Justin Bronson ||Princeton, Minn. ||10-3 ||2-0 ||1 |
|Hwt ||- ||Joe Nord ||Waconia, Minn. ||3-4 ||0-2 ||3 |
| ||- ||Ben Berhow ||Hayward, Minn. ||6-4 ||1-0 ||3 |
*Rankings from NWCA/Intermat and W.I.N. Magazine