By finishing first at the National Dual Meet Championships in Iowa City on Sunday, the Gophers wrestling team was recognized as the top dual meet team in the nation. Even so, the Gophers are still ranked No. 2 behind Oklahoma State in the latest poll.
The top-ranked Cowboys did not attend the National Duals, making their ranking virtually untouchable. A media relations representative from Oklahoma State said the team did not attend the tournament because they did not want to make two trips to Iowa City this year, but Gophers coach J Robinson is skeptical.
“It was their choice not to be here, so I don’t know how you can rank them in that category,” Robinson said. “It’s not fair to the people that are here. If someone can be ranked No. 1 and not come, then why would you come?”
At the beginning of the season, Oklahoma State also cancelled a dual meet that was scheduled against Minnesota. While the Gophers won’t have a chance to dual the Cowboys, they are likely to meet them at the end of March at the NCAA Championships in Cleveland.
After Minnesota’s one-point victory over Iowa Sunday, Hawkeyes coach Jim Zalesky threw out on inadvertent yet painful homonym. Commenting on Iowa’s Lee Fullhart’s double overtime win over Minnesota’s Tim Hartung, Zalesky said:
“That was a tough match. You could see that both guys weren’t going to quit. Both of them were dead tired but sucked it up and went after each other. You could see that both of them have a lot of heart.”
Immediately after the Gophers’ 18-17 win at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Minnesota’s 150-pounder Chad Kraft began to advertise the Gophers-Hawkeyes dual meet rematch Friday at Williams Arena.
“We’re going to need a lot of people up there for that meet,” Kraft said. “If they come, they’re going to see something they’ve never seen before. It’s going to be a battle right again.”
Seven thousand tickets have already been sold for the match. It’s unknown how many of those have been purchased by Iowa fans.
Moving on up
Six Gophers starters hit the 20-win mark at the National Dual Meet Championships last weekend. Senior Jason Davids added four wins to his perfect record at the National Duals. Ranked No. 1 at 142 pounds, Davids currently leads the team in wins at 23-0. In addition, Zac Taylor (22-2), Troy Marr (20-4), Brandon Eggum (21-0), Tim Hartung (20-1) and Shelton Benjamin (21-3) also boast 20 or more victories.
The Gophers have eight dual meets remaining in addition to the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments in March.