Gophers wrestling rolls to big wins

Minnesota crushed the Vikings Sunday afternoon.
How? Think wrestling, not football. The two teams are the Minnesota Gophers and the Portland State Vikings, that’s how.
Minnesota and Portland State squared off on the mats at the Sports Pavilion yesterday, with the Gophers winning the meet in easy fashion, 48-0.
It didn’t take long for Minnesota (5-0) to show Portland State which team is ranked fourth in the country.
The Gophers’ Leroy Vega had a quick technical fall win over the Vikings’ Zac Enoch to start things off for Minnesota and the Gophers never looked back.
Minnesota won all 10 events against the Vikings, highlighted by pins by Brett Lawrence (133), Jared Lawrence (149), Delaney Berger (184) and heavyweight Brock Lesnar.
For each wrestling meet, a starting point is randomly determined. Sunday, the lightweights started things right for Minnesota. Coach J Robinson said he was happy to see the smaller wrestlers come out strong, and the bigger ones finish the job. “That momen
tum was good,” Robinson said. “It’s important for whoever starts to come out strong, this time it was the little guys.”
Minnesota’s Brandon Eggum, who wrestled ninth for the Gophers and won by a technical fall, said he was able to feed off his teammates’ early success.
“I was excited to go out there and wrestle, especially after our beginning,” Eggum said. “It was going quick and they were all wrestling well. That really motivated me.”
The Gophers’ momentum Sunday actually started Friday in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The Gophers got their weekend started right, slamming No. 17 Northern Iowa 27-6.
Lesnar started the meet for Minnesota with a major decision win over Panthers heavyweight Paul Hynek.
Ninth-ranked Owen Elzen (197) finished strong for the Gophers with a 2-0 decision over Northern Iowa’s No. 8 Tony Wieland.
“It was a good weekend,” Robinson said. “We wrestled real intense on Friday night and we kept it going (Sunday). We’re seeing improvement in every match.”
Minnesota will now take a three week break from the mats. The Gophers don’t compete again until they head to Evanston, Illinois, for the Midlands tournament in late December.
Robinson said this weekend’s wins will help carry the momentum into the break.
“It was a good way to get the preseason done as we go into Christmas break,” Robinson said. “We know where we are now.”

Freshman honored
At the intermission of Minnesota’s meet with Portland State, Gophers freshman Damion Hahn was the recipient of the Junior Hodge award.
The award honors the best high school wrestler in the country from the previous year.
Hahn was a three-time New Jersey state champion, compiling a career high school mark of 131-3.
This season, Hahn is 13-1, with wins at the Bison Open and Northern Iowa Open. He has competed unattached at 184 and is redshirted this season.
Hahn will likely take Brandon Eggum’s spot on the roster at 184 next year.

John R. Carter covers wrestling and welcomes comments at [email protected]