Gophers remain unbeaten with pair of dual meet wins

by David McCoy

At least Indiana made it interesting.

The Hoosiers wrestling team won three of four matches in the middle of Sunday’s match with Minnesota to tie the score 13-13.

Then came the major decision and technical fall.

Minnesota’s Manny Rivera majored Scott Kelley 21-8 to spark a dominant finish by the Gophers, which featured a 17-0 win by technical fall for Dustin Schlatter and a 7-6 win for C.P. Schlatter over Brandon Becker.

“It was close,” Rivera said. “But beforehand, (assistant coach) Marty (Morgan) came in the back (hallway) and told me, “You’ve got to push it out there because the momentum had swung a little bit to their side ” and you’ve got to switch it up to our side and get us going again.’ “

The three-straight wins gave No. 1 Minnesota a 25-13 win Sunday at the Sports Pavilion and pushed its undefeated record to 18-0 (6-0 Big Ten).

“With a guy like (All-American 133-pounder) Mack (Reiter) out, we’re going to have to make up a weight in some areas and I think it was a good three people to end with,” Dustin Schlatter said. “We couldn’t be more confident. I really wasn’t too worried.”

Three-straight wins early in the match gave the Gophers a comfortable cushion on which to withstand Indiana’s surge.

Senior Matt Nagel, in his last home meet with the Gophers, kicked things off with a 10-6 win over Max Dean at 165 pounds.

Gabe Dretsch’s takedown of Marc Bennett in overtime, followed by Roger Kish’s 22-8 major decision over Justin Curran gave Minnesota a 10-0 lead.

Then the momentum shifted Indiana’s way, as three ranked Hoosiers dominated three unranked Gophers. Ninth-ranked Brady Richardson beat Mitch Kuhlman 10-3 at 197 pounds, and after Gophers heavyweight Cole Konrad beat Dave Herman 8-3 to offset the trend, Indiana won the next two decisively.

Top-ranked 125-pounder Joe Dubuque majored Minnesota’s Travis Lang 10-2. Then 18th-ranked 133-pounder Andrae Hernandez pinned Minnesota’s Daniel Jackson in 3:48 to knot the score at 13.

Jackson also wrestled against Wisconsin on Friday in place of Mack Reiter, who sat out the weekend with a skin infection on his right thigh.

Reiter spent most of Tuesday in the hospital, but expects to be ready to go again Sunday at Oklahoma State.

Even without Reiter, Minnesota had little trouble Friday night against the Badgers.

After jumping out to a 16-0 lead thanks to a Kish major, decisions by Mitch Kuhlman and Travis Lang and a Konrad win by forfeit, the Gophers cruised to a 26-12 win.

Dustin Schlatter, Nagel and Dretsch won Friday as well.

Wisconsin also forfeited last year’s heavyweight match after falling too far behind ” a decision that angered Robinson.

But because Badgers coach Barry Davis called Robinson ahead of time this year, Robinson said he understood the decision.

“A lot of people came to watch Cole wrestle, parents drive down, and so coaches kind of have an obligation to fans that if you’re not going to wrestle somebody, let them know,” Robinson said. “I commend Barry, he’s not going to wrestle his small heavyweight (Lee Kraemer) against Konrad and he called us ahead of time, so it was good. Cole and his parents didn’t have to worry about it.”

And even though things got a little tense for a moment, Robinson said he knew all along he didn’t have much to worry about Sunday either.

“You had the number one guy, the number four guy,

and Manny, who’s had some big wins,” Robinson said. “I mean, you’re always nervous because anything can happen, but we were pretty confident going into those last three weights.”