No. 2 Oklahoma State poses early season test

by Derek Wetmore

For the past 22 years, three wrestling programs have reigned king in the sport, capturing every single national title in that span. Two of those juggernauts will meet up in an early season dual this weekend, offering a barometer for where each team stands after soft early-season schedules. The No. 3 Gophers will host No. 2 Oklahoma State on Sunday at the Sports Pavilion. The two teams own seven of the past 10 national titles, with Iowa winning the other three. âÄúItâÄôs going to be a good opportunity for us to prove that weâÄôre a better team than what weâÄôre ranked,âÄù Sonny Yohn said. âÄúHopefully everyone is healthy because thatâÄôs what weâÄôre battling right now.âÄù There are certainly plenty of injury questions. Alec Ortiz (157) suffered an injury against Central Michigan at last weekendâÄôs Northern Quad and missed the third and final dual. Scott Glasser (174) was in the exact same situation. Glasser is a more established starter âÄî he earned a national qualifier last year âÄî so his absence could be more of a detriment. Glasser is practicing with the team and hopes to return in time for Saturday. âÄúAt some of the weights if guys are banged up, youâÄôre put in a bit of a hole,âÄù assistant coach Brandon Eggum said. âÄúYou want a guy out there competing at 90 percent if you can, but if not, heâÄôs just got to go out and wrestle against the odds.âÄù Glasser faced Oklahoma StateâÄôs 174-pounder Mike Benefiel at the Kaufman-Brand Open, dropping a tie-breaker in the finals, 2-1. Cody Yohn (165) also faced, and was pinned by, his likely opponent at the Kaufman-Brand Open. But Eggum said he was dominating the match prior to the surprise pin and he thinks Yohn could earn major decision Sunday. Turning tides like that will be essential, because with as tight as the teams are on paper, the match will likely come down to bonus points. âÄúWe have to wrestle a perfect dual,âÄù Eggum said. âÄúIn my mind, we have to win the ones that weâÄôre supposed to, get an upset here or there, and score bonus points when we can.âÄù Sonny Yohn (197) lost 7-3 to his likely opponent, Clayton Foster, at the All-Star Classic. Yohn said he feels he can beat him, but he estimated that heâÄôs lost the past five times theyâÄôve wrestled. âÄúI put so much stress on myself last time; IâÄôm just going to go out there more relaxed,âÄù Yohn said. âÄúIf IâÄôm the one deciding the dual, thatâÄôs where I want to be.âÄù The heavyweight class will also be notable, with Oklahoma StateâÄôs usual dealing with an injury, Eggum said. Whether the Gophers will wrestle Ben Berhow, fresh off an injury, or Tony Nelson, now ranked No. 9 in the country, Eggum said the team is comfortable at heavyweight. âÄúWeâÄôve got two great heavyweights, and at that weight we really need bonus points this weekend,âÄù Eggum said. The dual will likely be close by the time heavyweight rolls around, so it could decide the match. âÄúThis is great for wrestling fans,âÄù Eggum said. âÄúYou know the tradition Oklahoma State has had so itâÄôs a great rival for our fans. ItâÄôll be a fun one to have here at home.âÄù