After finishing in second place at the 1998 NCAA wrestling championships, the Gophers will resume team practice next fall. A unanimous 4-0 vote Friday by the Minnesota coaches sealed the decision.
Wrestling analysts were shocked by the news.
“I heard it, and to tell you the truth, at first I didn’t believe it,” MSC sportscaster Mike Max said. “But then I glanced at the coaches and they were stone-faced. I knew they were serious.”
Max, host of the TV program Minnesota Wrestling Weekly, said Gophers coach J Robinson gave no forewarning for the risky move. But historically, after such a high-place finish, teams have fallen into a swamp of complacency and boredom — the dreaded rut that Minnesota is hoping to avoid.
“It is a conscious move on our part,” Robinson said. “If all goes well, this regular practice stuff will spark further improvement and keep the guys away from the Cheetos-eating habits that have plagued other teams of the past.”
Although all four of the Gophers coaches believe in regular practices, the vote was established years ago to weed out the slackers and lazies that might try to ride on the team’s success.
The Gophers’ team captains added to the media flurry Friday, announcing that weight lifting will also play a part in the team’s daily training ritual. Although weight training has always been a part of the Gophers’ workout routine, one of Minnesota’s team captains said that with a new season comes a fresh approach.
“Each team member has set a goal — to be able to lift heavier weights this year than he lifted the year before,” Gophers returning national champion Tim Hartung said.
A scientific study done by the University found that on average, heavyweight wrestlers weigh more than the 118-pounders in the Big Ten conference. The study, which cost just $20 to conduct, ironically proved true in every instance.
“It was a very beneficial and affordable survey,” an unnamed researcher said. “All we needed was a scale and a spreadsheet and we were able to gather all of our information.”
The Gophers were no exception more than 20 times during the 1997-98 season. Consistently, 220-pound senior heavyweight Shelton Benjamin weighed in at a larger number than 118-pound senior Brandon Paulson.
Still in one piece
With the sporting surge in women’s wrestling lately, the Gophers have had another issue to wrestle with — whether to retain the traditional one piece uniform, or assume a new maroon and gold two piece.
Even after viewing the latest bikini styles, the team opted for the former attire. Hence, the singlet lives on.
— A vivid imagination was used in compiling this report.