The Minnnesota Golden Gopher wrestling team will travel to southern California Saturday evening for dual meets with Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly at Mott Gymnasium in San Luis Obispo, Calif. The first match-up with the Titans will get underway at 5 p.m. Pacific (7 p.m. Central) with second meet against the Mustangs to follow shortly thereafter at 7 p.m. Pacific (9 p.m. Central).
Fans can watch the Minnesota Cal Poly meet live via CSTV.com’s all-access video service. Click here to watch the video.
The Gophers bounced back from a loss to Iowa State last Sunday to top the No. 12 Nebraska Cornhuskers 25-13 Thursday night at the Sports Pavilion. Minnesota won six of 10 matches, including two Husker forfeits, to earn their 11 win in 12 tries against Nebraska. Jayson Ness (11-0), Manny Rivera (12-0) and Dustin Schlatter (9-0) earned wins to remain undefeated, with Mack Reiter, C.P. Schlatter and Roger Kish also picking up individual wins. Ness and C.P. Schlatter won by forfeit.
The Gophers have limited history against either of the two teams they will face on their West Coast swing. Minnesota has wrestled against Cal State Fullerton just four times, the last instance coming in 1991 (J Robinson’s sixth year with the program). Minnesota has won all four dual meets (which took place each season from 1988-89 through 1991-92) with the Titans, including 25-point victories in both 1990 and 1991.
Cal State Fullerton was the preseason pick to win the Pac-10 this season and returned nine starters (including four NCAA qualifiers) from a team that finished 31st at last year’s national championships. The Titans currently boast four ranked wrestlers in the latest NWCA/Intermat/USA Today poll T.J. Dillashaw is No. 14 at 133 pounds, senior Morgan Atkinson is No. 10 at 149 pounds, senior Ian Murphy is No. 14 at 184 pounds and heavyweight Wade Sauer is ranked fifth nationally.
According to records, the Gophers have wrestled against Cal Poly three times, posting a 1-1 all-time mark. The two teams have not met since 1983. The Mustangs will be hosting both dual meets and send out five ranked wrestlers to meet the Gophers Bulgarian brothers Boris (No. 16 at 125 pounds) and Fillip Novachkov (No. 16 at 133 pounds), senior Chad Mendes (No. 8 at 141 pounds) and Chase Pami (No. 19 at 157 pounds).
The Mustangs return eight starters from a year ago and finished 27th at last year’s NCAA Championships. They also defeated Cal State Fullerton 18-17 Wednesday in Fullerton to earn their first dual meet of the season.
After Saturday’s two duals, the Gophers will have three weeks off for finals and the holidays before traveling to Greensboro, S.C. for the 2007 Southern Scuffle Dec. 29-30. The Gophers finished second to Missouri at last year’s Scuffle and were first of 32 teams at the 2005 event, the first time Minnesota had participated.
Minnesota will then seek to defend its 2007 National Duals title Jan. 12-13 at the annual event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Gophers return home Jan. 20 to take on South Dakota State.