Injured All-American Mack Reiter returning to top-ranked Minnesota

The junior will wrestle individually at an open meet this weekend.

Tyler Rushmeyer

The Minnesota wrestling team is No. 1 in the country, and in a matter of weeks it could be adding a two-time All-American to a lineup that already includes six top-five wrestlers.

Mack Reiter, who has not wrestled this season due to a knee injury, is that wrestler, and aside from the national recognition he’s received in the past two years, the junior is also the 2005 133-pound Big Ten Champion.

Coupled with the return of Reiter, ranked No. 2 in the preseason poll, is the ongoing recovery and re-emergence of junior C.P. Schlatter as one of wrestling’s elite at 157 pounds. Schlatter quickly gained the No. 3 ranking after spotting a 5-0 record in his first two weeks back.

With Reiter’s return, the Gophers will have wrestlers ranked in the top five in each of their first five weight classes, a scary thought for opponents and something everyone on the team is looking forward to.

Dustin Schlatter, ranked No. 1 at 149 pounds, said getting an All-American back in the lineup is obviously a big boost to an already tough team.

“Mack brings lots of energy to the team, and we’re all excited to get him back out there,” he said. “With him back, no one in the country comes close to our first five weights.”

C.P. Schlatter agreed with the sentiment and said a healthy lineup will give Minnesota a huge advantage early and said the Gophers can be even better.

“No one wants to be ranked where they are, aside from (No. 1) Cole (Konrad) and Dustin,” he said. “So everyone on this team is going to continue to work hard to be at the top.”

Reiter will wrestle in an open meet this coming weekend in North Dakota to prepare himself for a possible return to the lineup on Feb. 2 against Indiana.

The junior said he’s ready to hit the mat for the first time this season.

“I’m real excited to get back out there,” he said. “The team has done some great things while I’ve been out, and I’m ready to be a part of it.”

Ness continues upward

Redshirt freshman Jayson Ness is continuing his quick ascent to the top in the 125-pound weight class.

The Bloomington Kennedy High School graduate and two-time high school champion began the year ranked No. 19 in the country, but has quickly risen to No. 4 in a period of just over two months.

Dustin Schlatter, Ness’ roommate, said his rise to the top five has come quicker than most expected.

“I knew he was capable. I see how hard he works and the time he puts in,” he said. “But he definitely has been surprising people, and I think he can make a run for the national title.”

Coach J Robinson said Ness is a very mature wrestler and is becoming a huge factor in the team’s success.

“He’s progressing really quickly,” he said. “He’s very diligent and he learns exceptionally well, and that has helped him improve a lot early.”

Record-breaking week

Senior heavyweight Cole Konrad and Dustin Schlatter continue to climb up the rankings in the Minnesota record book.

While Konrad picked up his 59th consecutive victory Sunday – a new school record – Dustin Schlatter picked up his 52nd straight win, which is third in Gophers history.

Aside from their career wins, both hold historic career winning percentages with Schlatter at No. 1 with a .985 (64-1) and Konrad at No. 5 with a .914 (138-13).

Both are undefeated and No. 1 in the nation this season with Konrad and Schlatter sitting at 18-0 and 22-0, respectively.

Junior Manuel Rivera is also undefeated for the Gophers at 26-0 and is ranked No. 2 in the country.