Gophers want payback against Michigan

Tyler Rushmeyer

Dual meet perfection was dashed last season when Michigan, then ranked No. 3, knocked off top-ranked Minnesota – its only dual loss of the season.

Flash forward nearly a year and Minnesota is again No. 1, and while the Wolverines find themselves further down the rankings at No. 17, the Gophers said they haven’t forgotten what transpired last February.

Junior C.P. Schlatter, ranked No. 3 in the country at 157 pounds and 5-0 since his return to the lineup from an injury, said the team has been looking forward to the match all season.

“Doesn’t matter where they’re seeded this year,” he said. “We owe them one.”

Michigan comes to the Sports Pavilion on Friday carrying a No. 17 ranking despite its 1-3-1 record, which includes losses to Central Michigan, Iowa State, Nebraska and a tie with Hofstra, all of which are ranked in the top 20.

Sophomore Dustin Schlatter, the top-ranked wrestler at 149 pounds, will be part of the featured match when he faces off against Wolverines senior captain Josh Churella, ranked No. 3.

Dustin Schlatter said last season’s meet against Michigan was a rude awakening.

“We’re definitely not going to let that happen again,” he said. “We’re ready to get out there and give them a beating.”

The Gophers (12-1) are on a roll, rattling off 12-straight dual meet victories, including triumphs over Oklahoma State and Missouri, which were both top-ranked at the time.

Minnesota coach J Robinson said the Wolverines marring the Gophers’ perfect season last year will be a motivational tool.

“They’ll definitely be some emotion out here,” he said, “and that’s good because as the season goes on, emotion plays a big part.”

Gophers battle Purdue

Minnesota’s weekend will also include a dual meet with unranked Purdue on Sunday at the Sports Pavilion.

The Boilermakers (10-2) bring just one ranked wrestler to do battle with the Gophers – No. 14 Nathan Moore at 197 pounds.

Minnesota is not overlooking any opponents and will be careful to not let its guard down against Purdue, Dustin Schlatter said.

“A match like this can be a dangerous one. When you don’t wrestle with emotion, that’s when you get into trouble,” he said. “It’s the Big Ten, we got to be ready.”

Wrestling coach passes

Wally Johnson, Minnesota’s head wrestling coach from 1952 to 1986, died Wednesday from complications of Parkinson’s disease at age 91.

The longtime coach compiled a 392-209-11 record during his tenure, which included Big Ten titles in 1957 and 1959.

Johnson, who holds the record for most coaching wins at the University, also co-founded the U.S. Wrestling Federation in 1968.

Robinson, Johnson’s successor, said the coach was a pioneer for wrestling and brought Minnesota’s wrestling program to another level.

“After he retired, he reveled in the fact that we took a next step,” Robinson said in a press release. “The true measurement of a coach when he leaves is that he wants the program to continue to build and to get better, and Wally epitomized all of those things.”