Gophers run opening win streak to seven

Robert Mews

Minnesota’s wrestling team continued its season-opening winning streak that parallels the one accomplished by the 2001-2002 NCAA Championship squad.

The fifth-ranked Gophers beat No. 19 Nebraska at home Sunday, 27-11. They defeated No. 7 Iowa State 21-13 on Friday night.

Minnesota is off to a 7-0 start. The 2001-2002 team went 19-0 in duals for the entire season.

“I think it was great,” coach J Robinson said of the match. “I think that from even Friday night to today that some guys picked it up another step.”

Two guys that perhaps stepped it up most in the match are 125-pound freshman Travis Lan and 174-pound sophomore and No. 14 nationally ranked wrestler in his weight class, Gabriel Dretsch.

Lang started the dual meet with a pin in 3:34 against Paul Donahoe.

On paper, both looked overmatched, but both won and helped the Gophers to a win.

Dretsch won against a higher-ranked opponent in No. 5 Jacob Klein.

“I’ve been doing a few things different,” Dretsch said.

Dretsch said he has changed his pregame preparation. He also said that a large crowd from his hometown of Frazee, helped “motivate” him for his match.

“I think Dretsch wrestled a great match today,” Robinson said.

Minnesota also gained points from No. 3 Mack Reiter in the 133 weight class, Dustin Schlatter in the 149 weight class, No. 8 C.P. Schlatter in the 157 weight class, No. 6 Roger Kish in the 184 weight class, and No. 2 Cole Konrad in the heavyweight class.

“It’s great,” Konrad said. “Because we’re going into a little break here, and it’s good that we have the ball rolling a little bit.”

Minnesota wrestled even better Friday.

Against an even stronger opponent in No. 7 Iowa State, the Gophers put on their best performance at home in years.

And that’s a fact.

Minnesota went all of last season without beating a ranked opponent at home, the last time being?Feb. 15, 2004, against Iowa.

But it only took the Gophers one match this season. In its home opener Friday night at Williams Arena, Minnesota won six weight classes and earned several bonus points to top the Cyclones 21-13.

“Oh, it feels real sweet,” Lang said. “It’s a nice victory, you know. It’s our first home dual of the year, and to start it off by beating these guys is real sweet and it felt good winning.”

Minnesota won several key matchups, the biggest of which came at 157 pounds when Minnesota’s No. 8 C.P. Schlatter upset No. 2 Trent Paulson to provide the turning point in the match.

Schlatter scored on a takedown just 30 seconds into the match. He scored on another takedown in the second period and an escape in the third. Schlatter also held Paulson without an offensive point, as he scored on a pair of escapes and a stall against Schlatter.

“After that second takedown, I knew I had him,” Schlatter said. “Second takedown, I felt him break a little bit, and it felt real good.”

Lang,?wrestling his first career dual-meet start, was deadlocked with Iowa State’s Ben Hanisch until only five seconds remained in the second period. Hanisch was riding Lang when the Gophers redshirt freshman stunned Hanisch with a reversal. Lang then added two near-falls to major Hanisch 8-0.

“I had to get some of the spider webs out of me first,” Lang said. “First time out the chute. I was a little nervous out there but once I got out there I got comfortable and put it on.”

Minnesota gained two other majors as well. Heavyweight Cole Konrad and 149-pounder Dustin Schlatter handled their respective opponents, both winning 19-6.

174-pounder Gabe Dretsch and 133-pounder Mack Reiter won their matches as well with scores of 8-4 and 14-8, respectively. Mitch Kuhlman wrestled for Minnesota at 197 and lost 4-1. Also coming up short?for Minnesota was Matt Nagel at 165, Roger Kish at 184 and Manuel Rivera at 141. Rivera was majored by No. 2 Nate Gallick.

But those losses certainly didn’t hold Minnesota back on this weekend.

“We have a ways before the Big Ten, but we have a lot of time to improve,” Robinson said. “And that’s with this team a good thing. If we keep improving, we’re going to be pretty good by the end.

David McCoy contributed to this story