Omaha tournament a much tougher test for Gophers

After cruising last weekend at the Bison Open, Minnesota faces a challenge.

Mark Remme

The Bison Open proved to be a strong start to the new season for the Minnesota wrestling team, but it was fairly clear from the beginning the meet wouldn’t harbor the same top-notch competition the Gophers would face throughout the campaign.

That will change Saturday as top-ranked Minnesota competes at the Kaufman-Brand Open in Omaha, Neb. The meet is slated to start at 9 a.m.

The Gophers generally get a sneak peek at who they’ll be facing later on in the season in Omaha, and Saturday will be no different. The likes of Iowa, Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Illinois will be on hand at the event.

Coming off a weekend where Minnesota brought the mentality of absolutely dominating anyone who steps on the mat in opposition, this weekend will allow team members to compete at the next level.

“We go out there to dominate,” senior Mack Reiter said. “It should help us down the road. We’re always looking to score.”

It will be the second trial run for the Gophers to experiment with their young heavyweight division.

Assistant coach Marty Morgan said Joe Nord has the slight advantage over fellow freshman Ben Berhow in earning more time on the mat.

“Nord had a much better tourney; he’s turning the corner a bit,” Morgan said.

Still, Reiter said he has confidence in either guy facing stiff competition this weekend due to the rigorous training everyone on the team’s been through over the offseason.

“I’m excited,” he said. “They’ve got Marty coaching and he’s one of the best big guy coaches.”

After notching several wins at the Bison Open, the team might not express that same level of dominance this weekend in Omaha.

But as sophomore Jayson Ness put it, that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to try.

“We all have the same mindset,” Ness said. “We want to make a statement why we’re on top.”

Reiter to join Classic

Reiter, a two-time All-America selection and senior captain at 133 pounds, was selected to join the NWCA All-Star Classic on Nov. 19 in Eugene, Ore.

Reiter will replace Missouri’s Tyler McCormick on the roster that already includes Minnesota’s Ness (125), Dustin Schlatter (149) and Roger Kish (184).

“We want to go out there and set a statement that Minnesota will be a force all year round,” Reiter said.

Reiter said he was expected to face Oklahoma State’s Coleman Scott once he got out there, but he said he received a text message around 2 p.m. Thursday telling him Scott will not be part of the competition.

Hofstra sophomore Lou Ruggirello will be Reiter’s first matchup, Reiter said.