Calif. friendly to Minnesota

The Gophers are used to Jayson Ness getting them off on the right foot.

The sophomore scored a pin and a major decision on Saturday as the No. 2 Gophers wrestling team beat Cal State Fullerton 32-9 and Cal Poly 23-12 in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

up next

southern scuffle
what: Wrestling
when: 9 a.m., Thu., Dec. 20
where: Greensboro, N.C.

The Gophers (6-1, 0-0 Big Ten) usually start off meets with third-ranked Ness’ 125-pound division, and he has averaged a team-leading 5.0 points per meet for them.

“Jayson starts us off, so for him to go out and wrestle the way he does really sparks us,” assistant coach Joe Russell said. “For the guys to see him go out and compete like that sets an example for the rest of us.”

It took Ness just 2 minutes and 30 seconds to pin Cal State Fullerton’s Sean Roman-Marin in his first match, while he dominated Cal Poly’s No. 16 Boris Novachkov 10-1 in his second.

Ness has scored bonus points in six of the Gophers’ seven dual meets this year. Bonus points come from pinning an opponent, having an opponent forfeit (six team points each) or winning a match by more than eight points (four team points).

“Every time I go out there, I’m looking to get that pin and put six points up on the board for us,” he said. “I want to set the tone right away.”

Five Gophers had pins or technical falls – both are worth six points – against Cal State Fullerton (1-2, 0-0 Pac Ten), despite being without two of their top wrestlers in C.P. and Dustin Schlatter.

Both Schlatter brothers are All-Americans, and the younger, Dustin, a junior, was the 2006 NCAA champion in the 149-pound division.

Dustin was feeling ill and missed both meets, while C.P. was benched so that Tyler Safratowich could weigh in at 157 pounds for a match. No. 7 C.P. returned for the Cal Poly (1-1, 0-0 Big West) meet, but was upset by No. 18 Chase Pami.

Safratowich, who typically backs up Scott Glasser in the 165-pound division, proved to be a quality replacement for Schlatter. The junior beat Devin Velasquez 16-1, a technical fall worth six points for the Gophers.

“Tyler’s a great wrestler, and we know that if he’s needed, he’ll come up big,” said senior Mack Reiter, who won both of his matches, including a technical fall. “That’s the great thing about Gopher wrestling. Even if we lose a guy, we know that there’s a really good wrestler waiting to take his place.”

Along with C.P. Schlatter, second-ranked Manuel Rivera was upset by No. 8 Chad Mendes of Cal Poly. Rivera was pinned for just the second time in his four-year career.

“It’s tough for those guys, but those kinds of things happen,” Reiter said. “It just shows us that we still have work to do, but we’re definitely headed in the right direction.”