Gophers Take on No. 3 Huskers in Lincoln
Golden Gopher wrestling is back in action this weekend after nearly two weeks off. The seventh-ranked Gophers travel to Lincoln, Neb. to take on the Cornhuskers in a Sunday dual which will feature several marquee matchups.
The two teams met twice during the 2007-08 season in dual meet competition. The Gophers won the first meeting by a 25-13 score at the Sports Pavilion on Dec. 6. Nebraska was able to rebound and upend Minnesota by a 24-13 tally in the semifinal round of the National Duals in Cedar Falls, Iowa on Jan. 13. The Gophers hold a 45-17 lead in the all-time dual meet series.
Last Time Out
The Gophers put together a solid showing at the prestigious Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Dec. 5-6 in Las Vegas, Nev. The Gophersâ€™ third place performance was highlighted by a runner-up finish by redshirt freshman Zach Sanders at 125 pounds. In spite of suffering his first loss of the season, junior Jayson Ness recorded three pins and a pair of major decision victories on his way to a third place finish.
Also finishing on the podium for the Gophers in Las Vegas were Mike Thorn (6th, 141 pounds), Scott Glasser (8th, 165 pounds) and Ben Berhow (8th, Hwt). Nebraska won the meet with 124.5 points, while the Gophers finished third with 89.0 points.
Sundayâ€™s meet against the Huskers will mark the third time this season that the teams have seen one another. Each team had entrants in the Kaufman-Brand Open held in Omaha, Neb. on Nov. 22. In addition, both teams performed well at the Cliff Keen, which was held Dec. 5-6 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Two-time All-American Jayson Ness has lived up to his reputation for piling up pins again this season. A year after tying former head assistant coach Marty Morganâ€™s school record with 20 pins, the Bloomington, Minn. native has picked up right where he left off.
In spite of moving up a weight class from 125 pounds to 133 this season, Ness has stuck 11 of his 15 opponents thus far this season.
In The Rankings
Both the Gophers and the Huskers boast mutliple wrestlers in their respective starting lineups ranked among the nationâ€™s top-20 in a major poll. The Gophers will run out ranked wrestlers in each of the three lightest weights while the Huskersâ€™ six ranked grapplers are at the six heaviest weight classes.
Although each team features multiple ranked wrestlers, indications are that Sundayâ€™s dual meet will feature just one bout between ranked foes. The Gophersâ€™ #13 Tyler Safratowich is slated to take on #2 Jordan Burroughs at 157 pounds.
Early Reviews Prove Positive
After inking the nationâ€™s top recruiting class prior to the 2008-09 season, the Gophersâ€™ 2009 class is already drawing acclaim. Minnesota announced the signing of Jake Kettler (Ramsey, Minn.), Alec Ortiz (Newberg Ore.), Bart Reiter (Gilbertville, Iowa), Pat Smith (Chaska, Minn.), Kevin Steinhaus (Pennock, Minn.), David Thorn (St. Michael, Minn.) and Danny Zilverberg (Wayzata, Minn.) during the early signing period that culminated with National Signing Day on Nov. 20.
In the issue released Dec. 8, W.I.N. Magazine ranks Minnesotaâ€™s early signing class tops in the Big Ten Conference and sixth nationally.