Third-ranked Gophers wrestlers beat Ohio State with eazzzzz

Allison Younge

Sophomore Pat Connors jump-started the No. 3 Gophers wrestling team to a 22-16 win over unranked Ohio State on Sunday at the Sports Pavilion in Minnesota’s final match of the regular season.
Connors took control quickly in the first period of the 126 pound match against Ohio State’s Mike Glain, scoring seven points with two takedowns, a nearfall and an escape. In the second period, Connors rallied another quick takedown, flipped Glain on his back and was immediately awarded the pin.
“I feel good about finishing the regular season on a high before Big Tens,” Connors said.
With the victory, Minnesota finishes its regular season with an overall record of 16-4, and 6-1 in the Big Ten.
Without injured Brandon Paulson, Minnesota forfeited the 118 pound match, giving Ohio State a 6-0 advantage. Paulson’s one-match replacement, Kipp Williamson, could not compete because of illness.
Connors’ flame of excitement, however, was drowned out by the sleepy performances of the Gophers in the remainder of the match.
Minnesota’s change of pace, however, did not appear to be intentional. But Gophers coach J Robinson said it was part of his plan throughout the week.
“I didn’t want the team to get up for a match like this,” Robinson said. “You can only pull that emotion out of a team so much. We didn’t need to waste it on this meet.”
The Gophers were expected to handle the Buckeyes (10-12) with ease. And even though the match was unimportant, Minnesota’s goal of a victory was met.
Jason Davids (No. 3 at 142 with a 28-2 record) and Chad Kraft (No. 4 at 150 with a 22-3 record) exemplified Robinson’s unemotional intentions by recording close decision wins. Davids, a confident and aggressive All-American known for his large-margin victories, crept past Ohio State freshman Brian Roskovich 6-4. Kraft, also an All-American marked by his dominating style, edged the Buckeyes’ Dan DiCesare, 5-2.
“I expected the team to be flat today,” Robinson said. “I’m not worried, they’re right where we want them to be.”
Sophomore Josh Holiday scored five takedowns and a near fall to claim a commanding 13-5 major decision at 158 pounds but admitted the match against Ohio State was less than exciting.
“They are a boring team,” Holiday said of Ohio State. “Some of their guys are just rocks that slow you down, and they’ve got some like Gumby, all bendy and flexible.”
Sophomore Tim Hartung took the mat for the featured match at 190 with a little more drive than some of his teammates. Hartung (No. 3) knew he had to be extra-prepared to go up against Ohio State’s seventh-ranked Anthony Gary.
“I didn’t want to take a step back,” Hartung said. “It helped me that I was wrestling a ranked guy because I knew I couldn’t overlook my match — I had to show up.”
Hartung made his presence known in the first period, scoring a takedown. He continued his offensive run with three more takedowns, a nearfall and an escape to capture a 14-5 major decision.
Even though the Gophers didn’t display their usual opponent-attacking methods, Hartung (25-1) was confident that the team will come back intensified for the Big Ten tournament.
“Nothing that we’ve done so far this season matters anymore,” Hartung said. “It’s what we do now that matters. I’m looking forward to totally focusing on the Big Tens.”
Records and rankings are thrown out at tournament time, and Robinson agrees that the next two weeks of training are critical.

MATCH SUMMARY
Ohio State — 23
No. 3 Minnesota — 16

118 — Minnesota forfeit Matt Fratta (OSU), 6-0
126 — No. 11 Pat Connors (Minn.) pinned Mike Glain (OSU), 6-0
134 — Jeff Bucher (OSU) dec. No. 11 Troy Marr (Minn.), 9-2
142 — No. 3 Jason Davids (Minn.) dec. Brian Roskovich (OSU), 6-4
150 — No. 4 Chad Kraft (Minn.) dec. Dan DiCesare (OSU), 5-2
158 — Josh Holiday (Minn.) maj. dec. Peter Rogers (OSU), 13-5
167 — No. 6 Zac Taylor (Minn.) dec. Scott Overholt (OSU), 14-8
177 — No. 7 Mitch Clark maj. dec. Brandon Eggum (Minn.), 12-0
190 — No. 3 Tim Hartung (Minn.) maj. dec. No. 7 Anthony Gary (OSU) 14-5
HWT — Nick Nutter (OSU) dec. Shelton Benjamin (Minn.), 2-1