Secret awaits U wrestler on TV

Sarah Mitchell

While the 2nd-ranked Gophers wrestling team crushed its Big Ten foes over the weekend, en route to winning the program’s first conference title since 1959, redshirt freshman Jacob Clark was busy preparing to meet a crush of his own.
Late last week, Clark was invited to appear on the Jenny Jones show. He will be featured in an episode in which secret crushes will be revealed.
The South St. Paul native left for Chicago on Monday and might be joined by Gophers assistant coach Joe Russell.
“Technically, my title is chaperone-coach,” Russell said. “In practical terms, I’m just curious. I’d get backstage passes and get to hang out with Jenny Jones. This is big league.”
The show is scheduled to be taped on Wednesday and aired within the next three weeks. As a late-night “Love Connection” and “Change of Heart” faithful, the 165-pounder said he has been waiting for a chance like this. Clark even went through a bit of a makeover for his unexpected television appearance.
“I just went and dyed my hair,” Clark said. “They call me ‘Wild Thing’ after Ricky Vaughn in (the movie) ‘Major League.’ I’m planning on wearing a sleeveless shirt like he does, and I have some shades.”
Clark said he has no idea who the secret crush could be, but for now he’s just looking forward to an expenses-paid trip to the Windy City.
“This has been a dream of mine. She is fulfilling a dream of mine,” Clark said. “The coolest thing is that when I get there, the producers told me to go to the baggage claim and there will be a chauffeur waiting with a sign with my name on it.”

Kudos for coaches
Prior to accepting Minnesota’s first conference championship plaque since 1959, Gophers coach J Robinson was honored with the Big Ten coach of the year award.
Under Robinson’s direction, No. 2 Minnesota went undefeated through the Big Ten regular season schedule and lost only two dual meets all season — both to top-ranked Oklahoma State.
But Robinson wasn’t willing to accept all the credit. Gophers assistant coaches Marty Morgan, Joe Russell and Doug Schwab were a part of Robinson’s post-tournament praise.
“These three guys are the back bone of what is going on here,” Robinson said. “It ain’t me.”
Cowboys knocked off high horse
Unlike the Gophers’ first-place finish at their conference tournament, top-ranked Oklahoma State failed to finish above the rest of the Big XII.
The Cowboys settled for second on Saturday, as No. 5 Oklahoma won the title with 82.5 points, a 6.5 point edge over Oklahoma State. With the exception of senior All-American Jimmy Arias (157), all of the Cowboys earned an NCAA berth.
Oklahoma State has been the only team to defeat Minnesota this season, once in the Gophers’ home opener and again at the National Duals in mid-January. The Cowboys and Minnesota, which also qualified nine wrestlers, could meet again in two weeks — this time for the national title.
“All year and since I’ve been here, the one thing we do really well is focus on ourselves,” said senior Tim Hartung, who won his third straight title at 197 pounds. “Take care of yourself and that will take care of the team.”