Wrestlers to change venues when Iowa State comes to town

Minnesota will move to Williams Arena to accommodate volleyball, which hosts the NCAA regional this weekend.

Minnesota's Zach Sanders North Dakota State's Trent Sprenkle

Mark Vancleave, Daily File Photo

Minnesota’s Zach Sanders North Dakota State’s Trent Sprenkle

Drew Claussen

After wrestling four of their first five duals on the road, the No. 3 Gophers wrestling team will finally get some home cooking.

Minnesota will return home to face unranked Iowa State at Williams Arena on Friday.

âÄú[ISU] has some weights that theyâÄôre competitive at,âÄù head assistant coach Brandon Eggum said. âÄúI donâÄôt think thereâÄôs anything really tricky about them âÄî strategic-wise weâÄôre not changing anything.âÄù

The dual will be held at Williams Arena because the NCAA Volleyball Tournament will occupy the Sports Pavilion.

Jake Deitchler (157) will not be in the lineup for the Gophers, according to Eggum. Instead, redshirt sophomore Alec Ortiz will wrestle in his spot. The versatile Ortiz has filled in for both Deitchler at 157 and freshman Logan Storley at 174 pounds this season.

âÄúItâÄôs just an opportunity to represent the team, and IâÄôll take any opportunity I can get,âÄù Ortiz said of his fill-in roll. âÄúI didnâÄôt get a chance to make an actual starting spot this year but anytime you get to go in the lineup, itâÄôs a privilege.âÄù

Eggum said DeitchlerâÄôs situation is âÄúweek-to-week,âÄù adding that there is no chance of him wrestling this week and there is no timetable for his return.

Storley is expected to return from his sprained ankle this weekend, according to Eggum.

âÄúStorley will wrestle this week,âÄù Eggum said. âÄúWeâÄôre just debating right now if heâÄôs going to wrestle on Friday in a dual or if weâÄôre going to send him to an open.âÄù

Storley was expected to make his college dual debut last weekend but the coaches said they didnâÄôt think he was 100 percent.

The Cyclones have struggled to a 0-6 record this season and have lost to top-tier opponents Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Iowa in the past two weekends.

The Cyclones lead the all-time series with the Gophers 37-18-2. Minnesota defeated ISU last season in Ames, Iowa, 26-13.

The Gophers have had mixed results during the first month of the season. They recorded a big conference win against then-No. 2 Penn State but suffered nonconference losses to top-five ranked Cornell and Oklahoma State.

âÄúI have mixed emotions I guess, [on the first couple weeks]. Sometimes we wrestle good, sometimes we donâÄôt,âÄù Zach Sanders said. âÄúWeâÄôre trying to be consistent here, it shows that we have a lot of work to do and that guys got to step up when the big matches are there.âÄù

Sanders (125) jumped to the No. 1 ranking for his weight this week in InterMatâÄôs rankings.

Eggum reiterated, as he has all season, that wrestling a strong schedule can only help the team.

âÄúWeâÄôve had some great competition as a team,âÄù Eggum said. âÄúNo team in the country has even come close to our schedule, and weâÄôre in the Big Ten on top of it. ItâÄôs been great for us because weâÄôve seen early the things that these guys need to work on and itâÄôs put them in a situation against good competition where theyâÄôre getting into some scrambles and theyâÄôre getting into some situations where they have to come back and all those things are great testing situations for them.âÄù

The Big Ten is considered one of the toughest wrestling conferences in the country with eight of the conferenceâÄôs 12 teams ranked in the top-25.

FridayâÄôs dual against ISU will be the GophersâÄô last action for more than three weeks. The teamâÄôs next event is the Southern Scuffle on Jan. 1-2 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

âÄúYou really hope that before you go into Christmas break that the guys wrestle really well,âÄù Eggum said. âÄúItâÄôs something to build off of confidence-wise before we hit the Southern Scuffle.âÄù