Middleweights key Minnesota win over Iowa

David McCoy

Iowa was supposed to get nine points out of Alex Tsirtsis, Ty Eustice and Joe Johnston.

Instead, it got only nine points in the entire dual.

Though outranked in back-to-back-to-back matches at 141, 149 and 157 pounds, Minnesota’s Manuel Rivera, Dustin Schlatter and C.P. Schlatter couldn’t be beaten.

Led by those three early upsets, No. 1 Minnesota (14-0, 2-0 Big Ten) remained undefeated by crushing No. 7 Iowa 25-9 on Saturday at Williams Arena.

“Those three wins broke them and propelled us to win the dual,” C.P. Schlatter said. “You know, same thing with Oklahoma State, same thing with Iowa. We were supposed to lose on paper, but we came out on top.”

It was the most lopsided Gophers win over the Hawkeyes since 1941.

No. 19 Rivera got things going with a tense 4-3 win over 12th-ranked Tsirtsis. Rivera scored a decisive takedown 39 seconds into the third period and held off several advances by Tsirtsis to capture the upset.

No. 2 Dustin Schlatter said he fed off Rivera’s momentum as he took on top-ranked Eustice. After a scoreless first period, he rode Eustice for the entire second before escaping and then taking him down with a leg trip that ignited the announced crowd of 6,695.

“Whenever the person in front of you does something great, knocks off a top-ranked guy or something, you know, that’s always going to get you fired up,” Dustin Schlatter said. “Manny’s been wrestling awesome the last couple of weeks and he’s been getting the ball rolling for me.”

It was only the latest big win for the younger Schlatter. He knocked off the first-, second- and fifth-ranked wrestlers last weekend at National Duals.

Then C.P. Schlatter beat Johnston 12-7. Schlatter, who took down Johnston just seven seconds into the match, said his younger brother’s win inspired him to succeed.

“Before he wrestles, I try not to think about him, and I try to just think about my match,” C.P. Schlatter said. “But you know, he’s doing awesome right now, and he just upset the No. 1 guy in the nation, and I couldn’t help but (have) that fire me up. So I’m going to give him sole authority over that first takedown I got.”

It didn’t last, however, as the elder Schlatter fell behind 7-5 going into the third. But seven points later, he provided Minnesota with another critical win.

“That was huge because (Johnston’s) big thing is coming back in the third period,” C.P. Schlatter said. “But this time, I did that. I came back in the third period and got the win.”

After Iowa’s Lucas Magnani defeated Travis Lang 9-5 at 125-pounds to give the Hawkeyes an early 3-0 advantage, third-ranked 133-pounder Mack Reiter put the Gophers ahead 4-3 with a 10-2 major decision over Daniel Dennis.

Reiter’s win was the first of five straight, as Rivera, both Schlatters and No. 10 Matt Nagel built a comfortable 16-3 advantage for Minnesota.

Iowa’s fourth-ranked 174-pounder Mark Perry beat No. 8 Gabe Dretsch 6-2, and 197-pounder Dan Erekson scored a takedown over Mitch Kuhlman with only seconds remaining to win 6-3.

Minnesota’s other two wins came when ninth-ranked 184-pounder Roger Kish upset No. 6 Paul Bradley, and top-ranked heavyweight Cole Konrad beat No. 6 Matt Fields by injury default after Fields injured his knee on a takedown.

“Manny, he’s a little sparkplug for us,” coach J Robinson said. “He’s kind of an unassuming guy, but he gets out there, and he finds a way to win. And that gets Dustin going, and I think Dustin got C.P. going, and that kind of put the icing on the cake right there.”

Gophers tame ‘Cats too

The Gophers beat No. 16 Northwestern 24-11 Friday night at the Sports Pavilion to kick off the Big Ten season, and Dustin Schlatter keyed that win as well.

The younger brother led 11-0 after one period with Jimmy Kim after scoring three near-falls, finishing him off 16-1 by technical fall at 4:41.

Minnesota won the same weight classes Friday night as Sunday, but Andrew Domingues wrestled at 125 for Minnesota and Justin Bronson went at 197, with both losing.

Robinson said having Lang and Kuhlman wrestle against Iowa indicated that those two are the frontrunners for the starting jobs at 125 and 197.

“We’re probably leaning with those guys right now,” Robinson said. “That’s probably where we’d go if we had to make a choice.”