THIS WEEK IN MINNESOTA WRESTLING No. 3 Minnesota Wrestling welcomes No. 12 Northwestern and No. 15 Oregon State to the Sports Pavilion this weekend. First, the Gophers will battle the Wildcats on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. CT in their second Big Ten Conference match of the season. The next day, they will square off against the Beavers at 6:00 p.m. CT.
SCOUTING NORTHWESTERN The Wildcats, coached by Drew Pariano, come into the weekend with a 3-0 overall record, defeating Stanford, Stevens Tech, and Duke earlier in the year.
Heavyweight Mike McMullan anchors the team and will be one of three marquee matches of the weekend. McMullan was knocked out of title contention at the 2012 NCAA Championship by the Gophers’ Tony Nelson, settling for third.
SCOUTING OREGON STATE Led by head coach Jim Zalesky, Oregon State enters the weekend with a No. 13 team ranking and a 1-1 overall record (1-0 Pac-12). The Beavers are coming off a successful showing at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invite where one champion was crowned and four others claimed top-five finishes.
The Beavers boast six nationally-ranked wrestlers, including senior Mike Mangrum who sits at No. 4 in the 141-pound weight class. Another bout to pay attention to is at heavyweight, where OSU’s No. 6 Chad Hanke will challenge No. 1 Tony Nelson.
ROBINSON MAKES HISTORY Head Coach J Robinson has developed an environment of excellence that has seen Minnesota rise to elite status in college wrestling. He now has the school record to prove it. With three victories at the Bison Quad, Robinson has surpassed Wally Johnson as Minnesota’s all-time winningest coach. In 27 years with the Gophers, Robinson holds an overall record of 394-130-4.
THE 900 CLUB With a win over North Dakota State at the Bison Quad this past weekend, Minnesota Wrestling marked its 900th program win. The Gophers join an elite club, becoming only the sixth collegiate program in the nation to reach the magic number. Minnesota joins the ranks of Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Oregon State, Springfield College (Mass.) and the University of Iowa.
NELSON ON A STREAK In 2012-13, Nelson posted a largely impressive record of 32-2, including an undefeated 8-0 conference run. With both losses stemming from the first half of the season, Nelson was able to build to a 25-match win streak which he has extended to 35 after a 10-0 run to begin the season.
THORN MAKES HIS MOVE To fill the void left by the graduated Zach Sanders, redshirt junior David Thorn has dropped to the 125-pound weight class for this season. After spending last season at 133 lbs., Thorn has already proven to be a formidable opponent on the mat at the lighter weight.
Thorn made his debut with a thrilling upset victory over No. 4 Steve Bonanno, pinning the Hofstra starter at in the final seconds of the first period. So far this season, he has tallied a 4-1 overall record, 3-0 in duals, with his only loss coming to No. 2 Justin Chamberlain of NDSU.
MINNESOTA INKS THREE During the early signing period, the No. 1 Golden Gophers announced the addition of three in-state wrestlers for the 2013-14 season. Jake Short, Nick Wanzek, and Nate Thomas all signed National Letters of Intent to join the squad next fall.
BIG TEN CHAMPIONS NAMED CAPTAINS Juniors Tony Nelson and Kevin Steinhaus have been named team captains for the current season, each receiving the honor for the second year in a row. Nelson and Steinhaus were voted to guide the team after proving leadership and excellence both on and off the mat last season.
LIVE ON BIG TEN NETWORK Fans will get the opportunity to watch the Gophers on the Big Ten Network twice this season. The first comes against Illinois on Jan. 21 and the second is on Jan. 26 against rival Iowa.
Four additional matches will be broadcast on the Big Ten Digital Network, including this Saturday’s dual against Oregon State. Away meets against Ohio State and Indiana, and the home dual against Michigan State, will receive air-time as well. Throughout the season, go to the BTN/BTN2Go/BTDN TV schedule page for the most up-to-date information.
AMONG THE NATION’S BEST After the dual loss to the Cowboys last weekend, the Maroon and Gold have dropped to No. 3 in the USA Today/NWCA/Amateur Wrestling News Division I Coaches Poll. However, the team remains among the nation’s best, receiving 377 total points. Defending national champions Penn State have moved to No. 1 with nine first-place votes, while Oklahoma State also moved ahead of Minnesota and now sits at No.2. Ohio State and Iowa rounded out the top five, at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.
InterMat’s Tournament-Strength Rankings placed the Gophers at No. 3, trailing Oklahoma State (No. 2) and Penn State (No. 1).
DUAL DAY LIVE Fans will be able to follow all the action this year through the Dual Day Live. GopherSports will be running a blog and streaming live video (available with subscription) for each home event this season. Former Gophers Mack Reiter and Gordon Bierschenk will be providing audio commentary for the live video stream on Gopher All-Access, entertaining fans with play-by-play and insight into the competition bouts.
IOWA DUAL TICKETS AVAILABLE NOW The Minnesota wrestling team will host its annual Gopher/Hawkeye dual in Williams Arena this year on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 3:00 p.m. Don’t miss your chance to see the epic rivalry in person! Tickets are available now online at www.mygophersports.com