Wrestlers ready for tough challenge

The Gophers will take on Oklahoma State, a top-10 opponent, at home.

Danny Chen

The Gophers defeated Oklahoma State last year by one point on the road.

They’ll have a chance to replicate that performance on Saturday at home.

Head assistant coach Brandon Eggum said the Gophers will be facing a very good program when they take on the No. 8 team in the nation.

“We expect a hard-fought battle this Saturday,” Eggum said. “They are a bigger team, and there is no question that our guys are excited about the opportunity to wrestle [Oklahoma State]. There [will] be some good matchups … and some fun battles to watch.”

The 165-pound weight class will be especially notable.

Redshirt freshman Nick Wanzek, who is ranked No. 15 in the nation, will be facing No. 1 Alex Dieringer.

Wanzek said he is ready to take the mat and battle Dieringer.

“I can’t be more excited,” Wanzek said. “[To] get Oklahoma State at home this year as a redshirt freshman … and to be competing against the No. 1 guy in the nation, it does not get better than that.”

Dieringer won the NCAA championships last year in the 157-pound weight class against the Gophers’ Dylan Ness.

Eggum said this upcoming match will be unlike any other Wanzek has competed in.

“Dieringer is a great opponent, so it will be an exciting match for sure,” Eggum said. “[But] just like any meet, Nick knows that he has to be ready for battle and be ready to go.”

Another notable matchup in the meet is No. 3 Josh Kindig of Oklahoma State against redshirt freshman Jake Short.

Eggum said Short didn’t compete against Michigan State last week because of an injury he suffered in practice. But Short will likely participate Saturday.

The 149-pound Kindig is a three-time NCAA qualifier. He made it to the NCAA finals before losing in a sudden victory.

“I am going to let my wrestling do the talking,” Short said. “Whether he is ranked No. 1 or not ranked at all, I am going to take this match as serious as I take all my matches. I have been extremely pumped up and excited for this [matchup]. I know that I will be ready when the time comes.”

Eggum said his team knows how to prepare for opponents like Oklahoma State, even without a reminder.

“The big duals are the ones that they get excited for,” Eggum said. ‘You really don’t even have to talk about it much. When good teams come in, we know that our team is ready. It’s still November, but it is a good opportunity to see where we are so far [in the season].”