Heavyweight spot still a question mark

Inconsistency in the spot previously held by Cole Conrad is a worry for the Gophers.

Mark Remme

The Minnesota wrestling team extended its dual-meet winning streak to 23 Saturday in Rochester at the first-ever Northern Quad meet.

up next

iowa state
what: Wrestling
when: 2 p.m., Sunday
where: Williams Arena

The top-ranked Gophers sealed victories over Northern Illinois, Northern Colorado and North Dakota State by a combined 109-21 margin of victory.

Minnesota hasn’t lost since a setback against Hofstra on Nov. 25, 2006, a one-point defeat.

But despite team dominance, senior Mack Reiter (133) said he saw a mix of strong showings with less-than-welcome performances.

He was specifically talking about the dominance of senior C.P. Schlatter and the uncharacteristic lack of authority from the heavyweight position.

Schlatter (157) went 3-0 on the day with two pin falls. Reiter said even though Schlatter was already considered a national power, he’s wrestling this season with a whole new level of competitiveness.

“He looks like a new wrestler this year,” he said. “I really think he has all the tools to win it all. He’s offensive-minded and putting his opponents on their backs.”

Junior Dustin Schlatter (149) and seniors Jayson Ness (125), Manuel Rivera (141) and Gabe Dretsch (174) also went 3-0 at the meet.

Reiter, along with two others, went 2-0.

But Reiter said he and his teammates weren’t completely pleased with the meet, especially in the heavyweight division.

Redshirt freshman Joe Nord was pinned in each of the matchups with Northern Illinois and Northern Colorado, which raised concerns about not having last year’s Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year, Cole Konrad, on the roster to close out competition with ease.

“We don’t accept getting pinned at Minnesota,” Reiter said. “We had the best heavyweight in the country for four years, and we want to finish out these duals right.”

He acknowledged there will be pressure on them to fulfill the lofty expectations put on heavyweight wrestlers at Minnesota, but he said with stiff competition from here through the NCAA Championships, they’d better learn quickly.

Nord was pinned twice, while fellow redshirt freshman Ben Berhow got the nod in the final match against North Dakota State and secured a pin of his own.

Rivera said neither heavyweight earned the upper hand heading into this week’s showdown with Iowa State.

“Nord didn’t have the showing that he would’ve liked,” Rivera said. “It’s looking pretty even right now.”

Still, with good and bad becoming evident, one thing was a constant for the Gophers. They got that pivotal first dual meet out of the way after competing in individual opens through the first two weeks of the season.

That will come in handy while meeting with the Cyclones Dec. 2.

“It’s nice to get ready for the dual meet format,” Rivera said. “We needed to get the first one out of the way.”