Minnesota set for top-10 matchup

Minnesota finished behind Penn State at last year’s NCAA championships.

by Danny Chen

The Gophers had the national championship in their grasps last season, leading Penn State 104 to 101.5.

But as the final session unfolded, the Nittany Lions came back and took the title from the Gophers, ending the championship performance with 109.5 points.

No. 2 Minnesota will have its shot at revenge against No. 10 Penn State this Sunday in Pennsylvania.

Head assistant coach Brandon Eggum said he is excited to see the teams face off.

“It should be a great dual,” Eggum said.  “Wrestling at the [Lorenzo Wrestling Complex] is always an exciting place to compete.  They also have a great fan base, so from a team standpoint, we are excited to dual against Penn State.  I think all Big Ten duals are exciting, but having programs like Penn State and Iowa that have been dominant for the past four or five years, it makes it … exciting to go back.”

In last year’s regular season, the Gophers trailed Penn State 17-15 before senior Tony Nelson won his heavyweight competition by a 6-0 decision, giving the Gophers three team points and an 18-17 victory.

Just before that, Penn State’s Morgan McIntosh upset Scott Schiller.

Schiller was on a 24-bout winning streak going into the dual against Penn State, but McIntosh defeated Schiller outright with a 7-1 decision.

“I was pretty upset about losing,” Schiller said.  “That was the first loss of the year, and I was disappointed about that.  I’m looking forward to [wrestling] [McIntosh] again because I did not have the opportunity to wrestle him after that last meet.”

Eggum said Schiller and some of his wrestlers have asked how they’re going to prepare for a tough Penn State team.

But his answer is the typical one that he gives for every upcoming opponent: sticking with the same routine.

“There is no doubt that we key on certain individuals as far as certain strategies,” Eggum said.  “But the most important thing is that our guys go out there and wrestle their match, and make sure they go out there and score, to get to the position that they are strong at. That’s the way that we have always taught our guys.”