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Gopher Wrestlers Open Season With Eight Titles at Bison Open

November 15, 2008

The No. 12 ranked Minnesota Golden Gopher wrestling team enjoyed a successful opening to their 2008-09 season Saturday, winning eight of 10 weight classes at the 39th annual Bison Open in Fargo, N.D. Six Gophers captured individual crowns while four more Minnesota wrestlers shared co-champion status at the all-day event, held at the Fargo Sports Arena.

“There were a lot of guys who had dominant performances and we love to see that early on,” Head Assistant Coach Joe Russell. “You can see the hard work they put in and it paid off. This is the first step in a journey. To get the guy’s back competing on the mat is fun for them and a good gauge to see where the team is at. It’s early, but we feel good about the effort we put in today.”

Two-time All-American Jayson Ness took home his third straight first-place finish at the Bison Open, but his first at 133 pounds. After competing in his previous two seasons at 125 pounds, Ness opened the day with a bye before winning each of his decisions by fall (1:50, 3:48, 3:57 and 4:03).

At 125 pounds, Zach Sanders successfully defended his 2007 Bison Open crown Saturday. Sanders went a perfect 5-0 with two pins, two major decisions and one technical fall.

Junior Mike Thorn picked up his first Bison Open title at 141 pounds, after winning at 133 pounds in 2007. Thorn cruised to a perfect 5-0 record with four falls (1:13, 2:31, 4:04 and 2:22) and one major decision. On his way towards the title, Thorn defeated fellow Gopher Matt Mincey, who claimed third place.

Freshman Mario Mason and redshirt freshman Brian Peterson were declared co-champions at 149 pounds, with Mason and Peterson taking home their first Bison Open crowns. Mason started the day with a bye before recording a 3-0 record by two major decisions and one decision. Peterson recorded a 4-0 record by two decisions, one major decision and one fall.

Three-time All-American Dustin Schlatter took home his fourth straight first-place mention as a co-champion with Senior Tyler Safratowich at 157 pounds. Both Gopher wrestlers started the day with byes before posting perfect 3-0 records. Schlatter recorded his decisions from one technical fall and two falls (3:59 and 1:12), while Safratowich won his decisions from two technical falls and one fall.

At 165 pounds, Scott Glasser successfully defended his Bison Open title for a third straight year with a perfect 5-0 record, with three major decisions and two falls.

Freshman Ryland Geiger won his first Bison Open crown at 197 pounds, defeating fellow Gopher Gordon Bierschink in a 3-2 decision in the championship match. Fellow Gopher Chris McPhail also placed third at 197 pounds.

In heavyweight competition, Ben Berhow earned his first Bison Open first-place mention, defeating fellow Minnesota wrestler Atticus Disney in a 4-2 decision in the championship match. On his way to his first Bison Open title, Berhow went 4-0 with one fall, two major decisions and one decision, while Disney went 4-1 with 3 fall wins and one major decision victory.

Minnesota has now accumulated 167 individual champions over the course of the Bison Open’s 39-year history.

The Gophers will compete in another tournament on Saturday, Nov. 22, traveling to Omaha, Neb. for the Nebraska-Omaha Open.

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