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Dual meet season begins as Gophers win four in Albany

The first three weeks of competition for Minnesota’s wrestling team have yielded some promise.

The Gophers took home nine individual titles at the season-opening Bison Open. Matt Nagel and Cole Konrad both knocked off defending national champions a week later at the National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic.

And this past weekend, Minnesota finally took to the mats for dual meets, and ran off four wins in four matches at the Northeast Duals in Albany, N.Y., on Saturday.

The fifth-ranked Gophers defeated Virginia Tech, No. 25 Tennessee-Chattanooga and No. 15 Central Michigan and American in the daylong event.

“I think these tournaments are great because it puts us in situations that are really tough,” 133-pound sophomore Mack Reiter said. “Yeah, it’s rough with four matches ” it’s going to be hard on your body and you’re going to get tired ” but it’s great to experience this thing earlier on in the season.”

Four Minnesota wrestlers “Reiter, true freshman Dustin Schlatter at 149, sophomore C.P. Schlatter at 157 and Nagel at 165 ” wrestled in each dual meet.

In the Gophers’ event-closing 40-10 win, fatigue may have played into losses for Nagel and sixth-ranked Roger Kish at 184.

Nagel, ranked fourth in his weight class and coming off of a win over defending national champion Johnny Hendricks of Oklahoma State, was majored by No. 8 Muzaffar Abdurakhmanov by a score of 13-3. Kish was pinned by No. 12 Josh Glenn.

Although some of Minnesota’s opponents rested their grapplers in preparation for matches against the Gophers, assistant coach Joe Russell said Minnesota’s conditioning might have helped overcome their opponents’ rest.

“We try and not let fatigue be a factor with our guys,” he said. “We train super hard so it’s not an issue when they compete. That’s to our advantage. The longer the day is, the better off we are.”

Reiter, ranked third in the nation at his weight class, also wrestled at the All-Star Classic on Tuesday night. After a 6-3 loss to Cal Poly’s Darrell Vasquez there, Reiter was able to regain a winning touch in Albany.

He scored a pin against Sheridan Moran of Virginia Tech, won major decisions against No. 12 Matt Keller of Chattanooga and American’s Jordan Lipp and defeated No. 9 Jason Borrelli of Central Michigan.

“I wrestled two great opponents (Borrelli and Keller) and I wrestled solid matches in both matches,” Reiter said. “I think I’m definitely wrestling a lot better than I did last week.”

C.P. Schlatter also went 4-0 on the weekend.

He was beaten twice by Oklahoma State’s Kevin Ward at the Kaufman-Brand Open on Nov. 19, but he scored 2-1 in a win over No. 15 Eric Neil of Central Michigan at the Northeast Duals on Saturday.

“I think I’ve got a few things to improve on the feet and my mat wresting ” getting off the bottom,” Schlatter said. “But I think as a whole, my conditioning’s excellent right now. I just need to work on pushing people a little harder.”

And as the dual season starts in earnest, Reiter said this weekend means the Gophers are ready for it.

“I’m kind of starting to look at what we have coming up here in December,” Reiter said. “And I think we can definitely get some big wins in these upcoming duals.”

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