Wrestlers start home season with wins

The Minnesota wrestling team hit the mats at home for the first time since they left town for the Big Ten championships last March.
And they didn’t appear to lose a step.
Prior to their match with No. 18 Hofstra, the third-ranked Gophers were presented with their Big Ten championship rings.
Minnesota’s win last year snapped Iowa’s 25-year run as Big Ten champions and gave the Gophers their first conference title since 1959.
The excitement of the ceremony continued into the meet against Hofstra.
Minnesota jumped out to a 28-0 lead through the first seven matches, highlighted by Leroy Vega’s (125) 17-4 major decision.
“I just wanted to go out there and take my shots and keep going at the guy and get a couple of wins,” Vega said.
The Dutchmen fought back by winning the final three matches, but came up short, losing 28-9.
The only downside for the Gophers was that top-ranked heavyweight Brock Lesnar won his match before he even stepped on the mat.
Hofstra forfeited the match and Lesnar stood on the sidelines with a frustrated look. Lesnar is the top-ranked heavyweight in the nation.
But that’s not to say Lesnar wasn’t a part of the Gophers’ successful night. He got his chance to show off for the crowd in the first match.
Earlier in the day, Lesnar’s major decision over Dustin Darveaux was part of the Gophers’ easy 51-0 win over St. Cloud State.
Minnesota also used pins by Luke Becker (157), Delaney Berger (174), Brandon Eggum (184), Chad Erikson (141), and Jared Lawrence (149) to floor the Huskies.
Coach J Robinson was pleased with his team’s effort, but said Minnesota still has some things to work on.
“We’re not even close to where we want to be,” Robinson said. “We need to look at ‘What are we doing right and what are we doing wrong?'”
Robinson was especially frustrated with the final three matches against Hofstra. Brett Lawrence (133), Erikson and Jared Lawrence let their opponents get ahead early, and didn’t wrestle to Robinson’s liking.
“You can’t let somebody from the East Coast get a point ahead of you,” he said. “You can’t give a guy an easy takedown in the first period because it’s hard to come back.
“But they know that now, and I tell them ‘Lets not make the same mistakes when we get to Las Vegas (next weekend).'”

Tickets for the remaining five matches are on sale through the Gopher ticket office. Minnesota will face Big Ten rivals Iowa, Wisconsin and Indiana at home this year.
Tickets can be purchased through the Gopher ticket office at 624-8080.

John R. Carter covers wrestling and welcomes comments at [email protected]