Dretsch comes up big again, Gophers top Cyclones in Iowa

Tyler Rushmeyer

.AMES, Iowa – The Minnesota wrestling team heads into winter break with a full head of steam after defeating its second ranked opponent in three days.

The Gophers (6-1) again used a pivotal 174-pound match to propel them to a 19-13 victory over No. 7 Iowa State on Friday, just two nights after their 21-15 triumph over No. 1 Oklahoma State.

With under a minute to go in the match, Minnesota junior Gabe Dretsch (174) suffered a takedown at the hands of Cylcones senior Grant Turner, allowing Turner to take a 4-3 lead.

But Dretsch, ranked No. 13 in the country, recovered quickly. After an escape to tie the match, Dretsch got a takedown of his own and a near fall, both in the final five seconds, to come away with the 8-4 victory that gave the Gophers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

“I feel like it shouldn’t have been that close at the end but that happens from time to time,” he said. “I just stayed focused and never panicked. As soon as you feel down and start dragging your head, that’s when you get beat.”

Top-ranked sophomore Dustin Schlatter (149), who picked up his 41st consecutive victory on the night, said Dretsch has been making huge strides this season and came up big again Friday.

“Its huge Ö Dretsch has just been wrestling great,” he said. “It might not have been the best performance, but he did what we needed from him.”

Friday night’s match with the Cyclones (2-2) played out similar to Minnesota’s match with the Cowboys two nights earlier.

Redshirt freshman Jayson Ness (125), ranked No. 9, got things rolling early, picking up a convincing 12-5 decision.

The victory was his sixth straight, and he now sits at 13-2 on the season.

The 133 match then began a string of seven tight decisions.

Freshman Mike Thorn, who was going to be redshirted by coach J Robinson before junior Mack Reiter’s injury, dropped the 133 match 5-2.

Junior Manuel Rivera (141), ranked No. 5, and Schlatter followed with 4-1 and 9-2 decisions, respectively, to bring the score to 9-3 in favor of the Gophers.

The match was far from being in Minnesota’s hands, however, as Iowa State trotted out its elite pair of brothers in top-ranked senior Trent Paulson (157) and No. 4 Travis Paulson (165), both two-time All-Americans.

But the two Gophers sent out to face the brothers, sophomore Tyler Safratowich (157) and junior Jeremy Larson (165), fought hard to prevent the Cyclones from picking up big points.

Safratowich battled Trent Paulson and eventually dropped a 5-3 decision, while Larson, who had faced top-ranked Johny Hendricks two nights earlier, held the second Paulson brother to a 7-0 decision.

Robinson said the matches were critical to Minnesota’s chances.

“They were really big. What was important is they didn’t let it get out of hand,” he said. “I think they both wrestled with a lot of emotion.”

After Dretsch’s pivotal match, junior Roger Kish (184), ranked No. 2, defeated redshirt freshman Jake Varner, ranked No. 3, 7-2, to give Minnesota a 15-9 advantage.

Gophers sophomore Yura Malamura (197) struggled to a 14-3 major decision defeat against No. 14 Kurt Backes to bring Iowa State within two, 15-13.

But senior heavyweight Cole Konrad picked up his 47th consecutive win to put an end to any Cyclones victory aspirations.

Konrad dominated from the start, picking up the 18-5 major decision to give Minnesota a 19-13 victory.

Schlatter said the last week has been tough, but the team has responded in a big way.

“This last week was a statement,” he said. “We’re still the team to beat, and we’re still planning on winning the national title.”

Gophers wrestle at open

The Minnesota wrestling team sent five wrestlers to the Husky Open at St. Cloud State this weekend.

Freshman Scott Glasser (165) took home a third-place finish winning five of six matches on the day.

Redshirt freshman Nate Matousek (165), junior Matt Everson (165), junior Justin Bronson (197) and freshman Brent Eidenschink (197) also wrestled.