Minnesota takes on Northern Colorado

The Gophers have wrestlers ranked in the top 20 in the nation in nine of their 11 weight classes.

Tyler Rushmeyer

Although the minds of many Minnesota wrestlers might be on next week’s matchup with No. 2 Oklahoma State, they’ll first need to take care of business in Colorado today.

Amid questions about the Cowboys and the challenges they’ll pose, coach J Robinson said his top-ranked team is staying focused on one match at a time.

He stressed that the team still has a lot of things to improve on if it wants to come out victorious over unranked Northern Colorado, who is in its first year of Division I wrestling.

“We have to win the close matches,” he said. “In order to be number one, you have to pull those off. That’s the key.”

Robinson also said the younger wrestlers will need to be more prepared to wrestle and to face the adversity that comes with collegiate wrestling.

After coming out slow last weekend, Minnesota (3-1) will look to start fast and finish off opponents early.

Sophomore Dustin Schlatter (149) said for that to happen, the team will need to be better prepared.

“Last week when we wrestled, it really didn’t seem like we were motivated,” he said. “We just went through the motions.”

For Northern Colorado, today marks the beginning of the dual-meet season. With Minnesota’s arrival, it will be the first time in over 44 years that a No. 1 team will wrestle in Greeley.

Bears coach Jack Maughan said his team is excited to begin the season against such a tough opponent.

“We are excited to bring the highest level of wrestling to Greeley,” Maughan said of the Gophers. “We could not have opened our first year in Division I with a tougher opponent. Minnesota is a program that we are working to emulate to the best of our ability.”

Gophers redshirt freshman Jayson Ness said he knows Northern Colorado will come out fired up to try and take down Minnesota.

“Come Friday, we know that they’re not going to fold down for us,” he said. “We just got to make sure we come out hard every time to meet the challenge.”

Ness said he is a slow starter and that is something he will look to change to set the tone for the rest of the team.

The rest of the team brings top-20 wrestlers in nine of its 10 weight classes to Greeley, but Robinson said the team realizes it’s not invincible and it will look to mend the mistakes it made last weekend.

“They realize that we made some mistakes and screwed up,” he said. “But we got plenty of time to fix them and that’s the important thing.”

Kish wins award

Junior Roger Kish (184) took home the Co-Big Ten Wrestler of the Week on Wednesday.

The LaPeer, Mich., native defeated two opponents ranked in the top seven in the nation en route to a perfect 4-0 day at the Northeast Duals in Albany, N.Y.

Kish, ranked No. 2 in the nation at 184 pounds, now sits at 8-0 on the season with four pins and two major decisions.

This is the second such award for Kish, his last came on Jan. 25, 2006.

It is also the second consecutive week a Minnesota wrestler took home the award, with junior Gabe Dretsch (174) winning the award last week.