Koz, citing family, leaves team and school

Matt Koz started at 197 pounds last season as a redshirt freshman.

Matt Anderson

Matt Koz, last year’s 197- pound starter for Minnesota’s wrestling team as a redshirt freshman, has left the team.

Koz, who did not compete at last weekend’s season-opening Bison Open in Fargo, N.D., and has not been practicing with the team recently, said he made the decision a few days ago.

“It was nothing against the team or anything,” Koz said. “I like the guys a lot. It was just a family situation and stuff like that.”

He said he has taken an absence release from school and will return to his home in Strongsville, Ohio.

“I could come back to Minnesota if I chose to in the future as far as school,” Koz said. “I don’t know about wrestling.”

Redshirt freshman Justin Bronson was the only Gophers wrestler entered at 197 pounds in last week’s Bison Open.

Team to Omaha

Minnesota will compete Saturday at the Kaufman-Brand Open in Omaha, Neb.

No.1 Oklahoma State, No. 4 Iowa, No. 7 Iowa State and No. 18 Wisconsin are among the other teams that will send wrestlers to the daylong tournament.

The fifth-ranked Gophers will not send sophomore 133-pounder Mack Reiter, senior Matt Nagel at 165 and senior heavyweight Cole Konrad to Omaha. The three ” who will wrestle Monday at the National Wrestling Coaches’ Association All-Star Challenge ” will be entered into the Auggie-Brute Adidas Open on Saturday at Augsburg College.

Minnesota did the same thing last year when Konrad wrestled at the Auggie-Brute Open rather than the Kaufman-Brand the weekend before he wrestled Oklahoma State’s Steve Mocco at the All-Star Classic.

Class announced

The Gophers announced their early signees for the 2005-2006 recruiting class.

Brent Eidenschink, Scott Glasser, Jordan Kolbow, Yura Malamura, Jake Mellmer, Joe Nord, Brandon Sitch and Michael Thorn are the eight athletes who signed letters of intent.

Sitch is a three-time state champion in the state of Washington and is projected to wrestle at 165 for the Gophers.

Malamura won the junior college national championship at 197 last season. Joe Dunn, the athletics director at Highline Community College in Washington, said Malamura will redshirt this season and will have used just one year of eligibility when he enrolls at Minnesota.

Glasser has won four state championships in North Dakota, wrestling for Bismarck High School. He will try for a state-record fifth title this season.

Nord, a Waconia native, is ranked the second best 215-pounder in the nation by Intermat.com. A state champion last season, he is projected to wrestle heavyweight.

“We’re excited to add these eight student-athletes to our program,” coach J Robinson said in a release. “We have added talent and depth throughout our lineup. They bring impressive credentials both on and off the mat. Their outstanding talent coupled with their work ethic will be a great fit for Minnesota wrestling.”