Gophers blank Northern Colorado in dual

It’s Minnesota’s first shutout since Jan. 27, 2002, against Michigan State.

Tyler Rushmeyer

The Minnesota wrestling team didn’t exactly roll out the red carpet for Northern Colorado on Friday.

The Bears, wrestling in their first Division I dual meet, got a rude welcome from the Gophers, who handed Northern Colorado a 45-0 beat down.

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Oklahoma State
WHEN: 7 p.m. Wednesday
WHERE: Sports Pavilion

The shutout was the first for Minnesota (No. 3) in nearly four years, the last coming Jan. 27, 2002.

Minnesota (4-1) took all 10 matches, recording two pins, two tech falls and two major decisions.

Four Gophers starters, including No. 6 Manuel Rivera (141), No. 1 Dustin Schlatter (149), No. 2 Roger Kish (184), and No. 1 Cole Konrad (Hwt) remained perfect on the season.

Konrad said although Minnesota faced off against a weaker opponent, the team never let up.

“We put pressure on them the entire meet,” he said. “Guys were aggressive early and as the day went on, picking up the shutout became the focus.”

The top-ranked heavyweight said the meet was important for the home team and the university itself, which saw its biggest crowd in school history.

“I think the meet was valuable because it showed them where they’re at and where they need to be,” he said. “Hopefully the interest level in wrestling was raised.”

The Gophers’ younger wrestlers began the day on a high note, with redshirt freshman Jayson Ness (125), ranked No. 9, picking up a 21-6 tech fall while true freshman Mike Thorn (133) picked up an 8-0 decision in his match.

Ness said the biggest factor in the convincing victory was Minnesota’s early aggression in matches.

“It was important for me to set the tone early,” he said. “That’s what I did and it’s something I need to do every meet.”

Schlatter followed two matches later with his fourth shutout of the season, 15-0, for his 39th consecutive victory. The streak tied assistant coach Marty Morgan for the third-longest in school history.

The Gophers had just two matches that were tight on the day, with Rivera (141) picking up an 8-6 decision and Tyler Safratowich (157) recording a 5-4 decision.

Kish and Jeremy Larson (165) notched pins on the day in 3:39 and 4:40, respectively.

Larson, whose pin was the ninth of his career, said the shutout was a powerful statement.

“It doesn’t matter who you’re up against, a shutout is impressive,” he said. “It adds to the team’s camaraderie and confidence heading into Wednesday’s meet.”

Junior college transfer Yura Malamura (197) recorded his first major decision on the season with a 20-8 victory, while junior Gabe Dretsch (174) improved his record to 10-3.

Konrad finished the day off with a pin against the Bears’ only ranked wrestler, No. 15 Reece Hopkin, in 2:55.

With the pin, Konrad picked up his 45th consecutive victory, leaving him just 13 wins short of a new school record. The pin was also the 40th of his career, which is tied for fourth all-time in Minnesota history.

The satisfaction of the dominating performance will be short-lived, as the Gophers face a much tougher opponent Wednesday in top-ranked Oklahoma State, which knocked them out of the NCAA Tournament a year ago.

“It’s big,” Konrad said about the home meet. “We’re ready to wrestle in Minnesota again.”