Wrestlers hold on for wins in pair of tough meets

by The Minnesota Daily

Less than 48 hours after a dramatic 19-15 win over No. 15 Penn State, Minnesota’s wrestling team again eked out a close win with a 20-15 beating of No. 3 Ohio State in Columbus on Sunday.

“We’re making progress,” coach J Robinson said. “We finally got our team all together and moving in the right direction. Teams are going to come at us and sneak out some wins; it’s good for our guys to experience that.”

The fourth-ranked Gophers (13-4, 3-0 Big Ten) were worked in the middle weights. The Buckeyes (9-4, 1-1) won four-straight matches from 157-184 pounds, including second-ranked Keaton Anderson’s defeat of Minnesota’s top-ranked Luke Becker at 157 pounds.

The match started at 197 where Damion Hahn tallied a 7-3 decision over Anton Talamantes to give the Gophers the early lead. The 3-0 team advantage was brief, however, as Tommy Rowlands bested Garrett Lowney at heavyweight 9-4 to tie the bout.

Minnesota rolled from there as Bobbe Lowe earned a major decision over Nathan Costello at 125 before Ryan Lewis pinned Rob Rosenfeld at 133 to put Minnesota up by 10 points.

After Derek Phillips earned a one-point win over Jeff Ratliff at 141 for the Gophers, Jared Lawrence again notched valuable bonus points for the team. His major decision win over Josh Daugherty at 149 proved to be Minnesota’s final win on the afternoon as the team held on for victory.

Hanging on was also the name of the game Friday night in Happy Valley.

Clinging to a one-point lead entering the heavyweight bout, Lowney took care of Lions’ (9-4, 2-1) big man Pat Cummins 5-3 to seal the win.

The two teams split the 10 matches. Lewis and Lawrence paced the Gophers as the 133-pounder earned a major decision over Josh Moore and Lawrence earned his third technical fall of the year in taking care of Nate Galloway.

“We’re lacking in consistency, but we’re learning still,” Robinson said. “We’re keying for Iowa right now in two weeks.”

Minnesota returns to home competition this weekend with dual meets against No. 8 Michigan and Northwestern.

– Brian Stensaas, Staff Reporter

Men’s hockey sweeps

There was leadership and scoring by the team’s top line, there were three power-play goals and there was solid goaltending each night.

But most importantly, Minnesota’s men’s hockey team recorded a sweep of Alaska-Anchorage with 4-0 and 4-1 wins.

“We got the four points we needed,” coach Don Lucia said. “My big concern heading into the weekend was we would give away points. We had to have our two leading scorers step up and they did. We needed both Travis (Weber) and Justin (Johnson) to play well and they did.”

Weber, the starter Friday night, recorded his second career shutout with 18 saves. However, it was the Gophers second-leading scorer this season who stole the show.

Troy Riddle notched two goals and an assist to dictate the game.

“He’s the type of kid who will shut you down all night, so you have to keep coming at him,” Riddle said, referring to Seawolves goaltender Chris King.

On Saturday night, Minnesota’s leading scorer this season – Thomas Vanek – took over the game. The freshman started the scoring in the second period and finished the game with two goals and one assist.

Vanek’s play also gave breathing room to Johnson, who has not played in a non-exhibition game since Nov. 15.

Johnson recorded 20 saves while impressing Lucia. Overall, Minnesota outshot Alaska-Anchorage 83-39 for the series.

“He played very well,” the Gophers coach said. “Other than the one goal, which was on a deflection, he played well and proved we can count on him.”

In the end, Minnesota (14-6-7, 9-4-5 WCHA) earned the four points it needed to maintain fourth place in the WCHA.

But the confidence boost might go further than wins against the cellar-dwelling Seawolves (1-18-7, 0-16-6).

“Moral is very high right now,” Lucia said. “We came here (Anchorage) and accomplished the goals we set.”

– Adam Fink, Staff Reporter

Women’s hockey sweeps

This time, Bemidji State’s women’s hockey team wasn’t so lucky.

Facing Minnesota’s loaded lineup for the first time this season, the overmatched Beavers got smoked by the nation’s No. 3 team, as Minnesota rolled to victory in Bemidji by scores of 7-0 and 7-2 over the weekend.

Bemidji State (7-11-6, 5-8-5 WCHA) became the first women’s hockey team to skate off the Ridder Arena ice without a loss to show for its effort when they tied then-undefeated Minnesota 2-2 on Nov. 9.

In that game, however, the Beavers faced a Minnesota team that was without four of its top players who werecompeting with the U.S. National Team in the Four Nations Cup.

With Krissy Wendell, Natalie Darwitz, Winny Brodt and Kelly Stephens back on the ice for the rematch Saturday and Sunday at Bemidji State, the Gophers (20-3-1, 13-2-1) earned four conference points with relative ease.

The Beavers hung around briefly in Saturday’s game and trailed by just a goal after 20 minutes of play. But the Gophers scored five goals in the second period, including two from sophomore Noelle Sutton, to break the game wide open.

“That took a lot of the wind out of their sails,” Minnesota head coach Laura Halldorson said. “We wanted to score early to affect their goalies’ confidence.”

The strategy worked, as Bemidji State head coach Bruce Olson was forced to use three different goalies in the weekend’s two games.

Things didn’t get any better for the Beavers on Sunday, as they watched the visiting Gophers jump out to a 4-0 advantage in the first period.

Brodt scored her fourth goal in as many games for the Gophers, who remain six standings points behind first-place Minnesota-Duluth, who won both its games against Ohio State.

Together, Wendell, Darwitz, Brodt and Stephens tallied a total of 15 points in the series.

Jody Horak started both games in net for the Gophers and bettered her record to 17-2 this season. Brenda Reinen relieved Horak in the second period of Sunday’s game and stopped the first 11 shots she faced before allowing two goals in the game’s final five minutes.

Sunday’s win also marked the sixth time in as many seasons that Minnesota has won at least 20 games.

The Gophers return home to Ridder Arena this weekend to play games against Ohio State at 7 p.m Friday and Saturday.

– Brett Angel, Staff Reporter

Women’s track and field

Minnesota’s women’s track team’s talent shone at the Panther Classic hosted by the University of Northern Iowa on Saturday. The Gophers captured top honors in the 200-meter dash, 4×400-meter relay, 3,000-meter run and the 400-meter dash.

The 4×400-meter relay squad edged out host UNI with a time of 3 minutes, 49.25 seconds. Senior Shani Marks claimed first in the 400-meter dash clocking in at 56.20 while freshman Kou Luogan came in second with a time of 56.22. FreshmanMajik Reed placed first in the 200-meter run with a time of 25.13.

Minnesota also had two runners claim second and third place in the 600-meter run. Sophomore Melissa Steele came in with a time of 1:36.54, and senior Allyson DeVries finished with a time of 1:36.93.

The distance portion of the meet was also successful for Minnesota. Junior Darja Vasiljeva took first in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 9:51.12. In the mile race, freshman Jen Hess and sophomore Zoe Nagell claimed the third and fourth spots, respectively.

Minnesota’s next competition is on Saturday, Feb. 8, when the Gophers travel to Mankato for the Minnesota State Mankato Open.

Men’s track and field

Karl Erickson provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships in the shot put, highlighting the performance of Minnesota’s men’s track and field team in the Panther Classic at the University of Northern Iowa on Saturday. Erickson, a sophomore, won the event with a throw of 59 feet, 3 inches.

Sophomore Steffen Landgraf took home a title as well, winning the long jump with a leap of 24-1 1/2. In the weight throw, junior Lynden Reder and sophomore Curt Schoenfelder also put forth strong efforts. Reder earned second place with a throw of 58-8 and Schoenfelder came in third at 56-11 1/2.

Junior Will McComb led the runners, winning first place in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 8:27.22.

Minnesota’s next competition is on Saturday, February 8, when the Gophers travel to Lincoln, Neb., for the Adidas Classic at the University of Nebraska. The meet is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

Men’s gymnastics

Fifth-ranked Iowa downed the eighth-ranked Gophers men’s gymnastics team 210.475-206.900 in Iowa City.

The Gophers captured two of the six individual event titles as senior Clay Strother won the floor exercise with a 9.550 and sophomore Guillermo Alvarez captured the vault crown with a 9.475. Alvarez also claimed the all-around title with a 53.600.

Alvarez had one of his better meets of the season, as he not only won the vault and the all around, but finished second in floor exercise (9.250), pommel horse (8.875) and on still rings (8.700). He was also fourth on the horizontal bar with a 8.800. Strother tied Alvarez for second on still rings, was second onparallel bars (8.900) and was fourth on pommel horse (8.775).

Other key contributors for the Gophers were Ryan Fleming, who finished second to Alvarez on the vault (9.225) and fourth on floor exercise (9.150), and Mitch Griffin, who took third place on the parallel bars with a 8.800.

The Gophers fell to 2-5 and will participate in the two-day Winter Cup in Las Vegas, Nev., starting Friday, Feb. 7 at 7:00 p.m.

Berg selected

Lindsey Berg has been selected as one of 13 players to be on the 2003 USA Women’s Volleyball training team roster selected by head coach Toshi Yoshida. Berg was the Gophers setter from 1998 to 2001, and finished her career third on the Big Ten and Minnesota career assists list.

Berg was a three-time Big Ten selection (1999, 2000, 2001) at Minnesota, and was also a member of the USPV champion Minnesota Chill earning Outstanding Server, Outstanding Setter and All-USPV honors.

The team began training on Thursday, Jan. 30. The players will be vying for roster positions, on the U.S. women’s national team that will be competing at the Montreux Volley Masters, the Pan American Cup, the World Grand Prix, the Pan American Games and the NORCECA Continental Championships later in the year.

The NORCECA championship serves as a qualifier for the World Cup in Japan in November. The World Cup is the first Olympic qualifier with the top three teams earning a trip to Athens, Greece in 2004.

Nystrom honored

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Former Gophers placekicker Dan Nystrom is making a habit out of winning football games. The senior from New Hope, Minn., kicked a 44-yard field goal with four seconds remaining to give the South a 27-24 victory over the North in the 2003 Hula Bowl.

Nystrom was playing for the first time since being named the MVP of the 2002 Music City Bowl, where he kicked five field goals and scored 17 total points in the Gophers’ 29-14 victory over Arkansas. Nystrom converted on two field goal attempts in the Hula Bowl, making a 25-yard field goal prior to his game-winner.

Gopher cornerback Michael Lehan also played in the game for the South team, while Gopher head football coach Glen Mason served as an assistant on the South team.