Gophers beat No. 9 Central Michigan, sweep Northern Quad tournament

Derek Wetmore

Contributing to what became a thrilling weekend for Gophers sports fans, the wrestling team beat No. 9 Central Michigan en route to a weekend sweep. No. 3 Minnesota traveled to Rochester to face Appalachian State, Central Michigan and North Dakota State in the Northern Quad and cruised to victories against Appalachian State (30-6) and NDSU (35-9), but the real test on the weekend was Central Michigan. After key wins by Danny Zilverberg (149 pounds) and Kevin Steinhaus (184), Minnesota hung on for a 21-17 team victory. Zilverberg tied the match with a late point and scored a takedown in extra time for a 7-5 win. âÄúItâÄôs good to see the freshmen get their first dual in a GophersâÄô singlet in,âÄù head assistant coach Joe Russell said. âÄúIt was huge to see Danny get the win in extra time. You could say that won the dual for us.âÄù Tony Nelson, who wrestled all three matches at heavyweight, dropped a 3-2 decision to the nationâÄôs fourth-ranked wrestler in the final match, but it wasnâÄôt enough for Central Michigan to overcome the deficit. âÄúI think Tony proved he can wrestle with the best guys in the country,âÄù Russell said. âÄúHeâÄôs just going to have to find a way to beat those guys.âÄù Ben Berhow (heavyweight) did not wrestle in any of the duals, though Russell said the team had planned to get each of his heavyweights a match. NDSU forfeited at heavyweight in the final dual, robbing Berhow of an opportunity Saturday. Since each team won five matches, the meet came down to bonus points. Zach SandersâÄô major decision, Mike ThornâÄôs pin and SteinhausâÄô technical fall all added team points for the Gophers. Scott Glasser (174) was injured in the Central Michigan dual and sat out the final dual. Joel Hill wrestled in his place, but Russell said the team was simply protecting Glasser for next weekendâÄôs matchup with Oklahoma State. Alec Ortiz (157) wrestled the first two duals for Minnesota but was hurt in the Central Michigan dual, giving redshirt freshman Pat Smith a chance against NDSU. He lost 3-0 but the win was all but secured by the time 157 came around. Russell said either Ortiz or Joe Grygelko will get the starting nod next weekend, depending on health. The team is currently in the midst of a bout with the infamous âÄúinjury bug,âÄù Russell said. Part of the reason is because itâÄôs still early in the season, so the team can rest guys who would normally endure and compete. Also, with so many wrestlers still searching for starting spots, the list of relevant names is much longer than it will be midway through the season, when that list is whittled down to 10 starters and some key backups. Still, the number of wrestlers with even minor injuries is striking, and Russell said itâÄôs even more than in years past. âÄúWeâÄôre still training real hard so thatâÄôll happen, but weâÄôre just trying to get guys back out there,âÄù he said. âÄúIf this were a Big Ten meet or Nationals, theyâÄôd be wrestling, but weâÄôre thinking more long term as opposed to the immediacy of Northern Duals this weekend.âÄù