Super Kipp’ sparks U win

Allison Younge

In a stunning display of heroism, junior Kipp Williamson leapt back into the Gophers lineup Sunday, sparking a 28-7 Minnesota triumph over Penn State at the Sports Pavilion.
The No. 3 Gophers (13-4) defeated the No. 4 Lions (12-4) for the third time this season, snapping their midseason slump.
Returning to the mat for his first match in 11 months, Williamson broke out to an impressive 11-3 lead after one period, recording four takedowns and a nearfall. Forty-two seconds later, with the entire Minnesota bench on their feet, Williamson pinned Penn State’s Arturo Cabanas in just 3 minutes, 42 seconds.
“We call him Super Kipp’,” assistant coach Marty Morgan said. “In the first 30 seconds, he usually scores on everybody. Today he was Super Kipp for three minutes — it was great.”
Five straight Minnesota wins followed Williamson’s standout performance, giving the Gophers a commanding 22-0 lead before Penn State even made it on the board.
Williamson, who left the Gophers team earlier this season to concentrate on academics, returned to the practice room last week in hopes to fill in for Brandon Paulson at 118 pounds. Paulson, the Gophers veteran crowd pleaser, injured his ankle at the National Duals Tournament three weeks ago. He underwent corrective ankle surgery on Jan. 29 and may not return until Big Tens.
With Paulson out, the No. 3 Gophers found themselves in desperate need of a temporary replacement at 118. Last week Williamson came to the rescue of his former coach and teammates.
“I’m really close to the guys on this team,” Williamson said. “I missed working out with them and I wanted to do what I could to help them out.”
There were doubts about whether Williamson would be able to make the 118-pound weight requirement before this weekend. After days of dieting and training, last week he managed to drop fifteen pounds and earn the starting spot at 118.
“It was really tough,” Williamson said. “The day we weighed in, I started (cutting weight) at about 3:30 in the afternoon, and I finally made weight at midnight.”
Gophers coach J Robinson gave Williamson credit for allowing Minnesota the opportunity to have an excellent performance against Penn State.
“It’s one of those times where everything worked out perfectly,” Robinson said. “He cut the weight, made it back and gave the team the momentum they needed.”
Pat Connors used Williamson’s spark to upset Penn State’s 10th-ranked Jason Betz, 6-4, in the 126-pound match. When it was over, the Gophers claimed victories in seven of 10 matches.
In the 167 pound bout between Penn State’s Glenn Pritzlaff (No. 2) and Minnesota’s Zac Taylor (No. 3), the Lions put an end to the Gophers’ perfect streak.
With 19 seconds remaining and Pritzlaff ahead 3-1, Minnesota fans rose to their feet in an attempt to give Taylor an extra boost to victory. It wasn’t enough for Taylor as Pritzlaff held on to down Taylor for the second time this season, 3-1.
“Zac’s match came down to one move,” Robinson said. “It’s evident that he’s coming out of his slump. He’s going in the right direction.”
Penn State’s only other productive match came at heavyweight. The Lions’ Kerry McCoy (No. 1) won a major decision victory over Minnesota’s Shelton Benjamin, 17-3.
McCoy, a senior, was disappointed with the lopsided team results of the match, but gave all credit to the Gophers.
“We didn’t even wrestle that bad,” McCoy said. “Minnesota just has a great team with a lot of heart. They come out ready to win. They’re going to do well this year.”
Note: Five Gophers reserves won titles Saturday at the Iowa Central Open in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Brett Lawrence (118 pounds), Bart Golyer (126), Josh Krebs (142), Brad Pike (150) and Josh Dodd (190) placed first in their respective weight classes.

MATCH SUMMARY
##4 Penn State — 7
##3 Minnesota — 28

118 — Kipp Williamson (Minn.) pinned Arturo Cabanas (PSU), 6-4
126 — Pat Conners (Minn.) dec. Jason Betz (PSU), 6-4
134 — No. 11 Troy Marr (Minn.) dec. Biff Walizer (PSU), 8-2
142 — No. 2 Jason Davids (Minn.) dec. No. 9 Clint Musser (PSU), 5-3 (OT, 7:23)
150 — No. 4 Chad Kraft (Minn.) dec. Shad Benton (PSU), 14-3
158 — Josh Holiday (Minn.) dec. John Lange (PSU), 9-6
167 — No. 2 Glenn Pritzlaff (PSU) dec. No. 5 Zac Taylor (Minn.), 3-1
177 — Brandon Eggum (Minn.) dec. Frank Morici (PSU), 5-3
190 — No. 3 Tim Hartung (Minn.) dec. Tov Neidlinger (PSU), 7-4
HWT — No. 1 Kerry McCoy (PSU) maj. dec. Shelton Benjamin (Minn.), 17-3