Gophers take on border rivals this weekend

Gophers wrestling hits the road against Wisconsin Friday and Iowa Sunday.

ItâÄôs a border rivalry weekend for the Minnesota wrestling team. The Gophers hit the road for duals Friday at Wisconsin and Sunday at Iowa; duals that will require all wrestlers to be in top form if Minnesota is to return home with victories. ItâÄôs been just over a month since the Gophers met both teams at the National Duals. Since the top-ranked Hawkeyes pounded Minnesota 27-7 on Jan. 10, they have continued to add to their staggering win streak, which currently sits at 34 straight duals. The Badgers, meanwhile, have struggled since falling 22-15 to the Gophers. Wisconsin has lost four of its last five duals and dropped from 9th to 18th in the polls. Despite that, however, Minnesota canâÄôt look past tonightâÄôs matchup with the Badgers. Iowa will be daunting enough without a demoralizing loss in Madison. And Wisconsin brings plenty of talent to the mat âÄì five Badgers wrestlers are ranked in the top eight in the country at their respective weight classes. Then again, all of their unranked wrestlers have losing records . ThereâÄôs no question why the Hawkeyes are undefeated and No. 1 in the land. Top-to-bottom, thereâÄôs not a team that stacks up. Seven of IowaâÄôs ten starting wrestlers are ranked in the top four individually. Sophomore Mike Thorn has arguably the toughest weekend for the Gophers at 141. HeâÄôll wrestle WisconsinâÄôs top-ranked Zach Tanelli tonight followed by the HawkeyesâÄô No. 2 Alex Tsirtsis on Sunday. Thorn, ranked 8th himself, dropped a 2-1 decision to Tanelli and a 3-2 decision to Tsirtsis at the National Duals. On Sunday, however, ThornâÄôs match wonâÄôt be the most anticipated bout. Fourth-ranked junior Jayson Ness will try to topple the nationâÄôs top-ranked 133-pounder for the third time this season when he wrestles IowaâÄôs Daniel Dennis. While Ness and Thorn battle the nationâÄôs best, senior Tyler Safratowich will be the only Minnesota grappler who doesnâÄôt wrestle a ranked opponent. In fact, both men he is slated to battle have losing records. Safratowich currently rests at 99 career wins, so chances are he will become the 35th wrestler in Gophers history to crack the century mark in career victories.