Minnesota wrestlers face much tougher test after dominance in opener

Derek Wetmore

After dominating the Bison open last weekend, winning nine of 10 weight classes, the Gophers wrestling team will notch up the intensity this weekend as it travels to Omaha, Neb., for the Kaufman-Brand Open on Saturday. Unlike the Bison Open, which only had one other Division I school participating, Kaufman-Brand will feature multiple ranked teams, including No. 7 Iowa. âÄúItâÄôs a lot tougher tournament than last weekend, with some ranked guys,âÄù volunteer assistant coach Luke Becker said. âÄúItâÄôs a great early season test for us to see where everyone is at.âÄù The team will take 15 official wrestlers, while the rest of the team will wrestle unattached and pay for travel. Early-season open meets help coaches make roster decisions, since some feel comparing how two wrestlers do against the same opponent can be more valuable than having the two wrestle in a practice room. âÄúThe great thing about this weekend is they get to go down there and wrestle common opponents,âÄù Becker said. The team has six returning national qualifiers, but needs to fill the remaining four spots on its roster: 133 pounds, 149, 157 and 184. Thane Antczak, Bart Reiter and David Thorn are all in the mix for 133. Antczak defeated Reiter 6-1 for the title at the Bison Open, and Thorn is working his way back from injury and will not compete this weekend. Danny Zilverberg has become the front-runner for 149 after sharing the title with Dylan Ness last weekend. The team will likely redshirt Ness, Becker said. ZilverbergâÄôs older brother, David, is also in the competition, as is Matt Mincey. Mincey was academically ineligible last season but is back working with the team and hopes to have his eligibility restored at the end of the semester. Mincey took third while wrestling unattached at the Bison Open. Joe Grygelko, who is currently injured and will not compete this weekend, is the favorite at 157. Grygelko did not finish the Bison Open because of the injury, Becker said. Grygelko was the starter at 157 last year until Dustin Schlatter moved down to the weight class. Becker said Grygelko could be back as early as next weekend, but there is no timetable for his return. Kaleb Young (184) is dealing with a neck injury and will not compete this weekend. Kevin Steinhaus (184) has been impressive thus far and has another chance against several ranked opponents this weekend, Becker said. âÄúHeâÄôs been looking really good. Right now with Kaleb out, itâÄôs his spot,âÄù Becker said. âÄúWeâÄôll see when Kaleb gets back, but itâÄôs a great opportunity for him. If he goes down this weekend and does really well against some ranked opponents, it puts him in a situation where he could really seal his own fate.âÄù Ben Berhow (heavyweight) missed the Bison Open, but is now healthy and will wrestle with the team Saturday. Sonny Yohn (197) and Zach Sanders (125) will not compete with the team in Omaha, as theyâÄôll be in Fresno, Calif., for the All-Star Classic. Recruits The team announced that it signed four top high school recruits to Letters of Intent for next yearâÄôs class Monday. Steve Keogh and Logan Storley are both top-ranked wrestlers and Brad Dolezal and Jordan Kingsley are ranked inside the top-20 at their respective weights.