After two big wins team takes to New York for four duals

The Gophers will wrestle four teams, including No. 15 Central Michigan.

by David McCoy

Two members of Minnesota’s wrestling team pulled off big upsets against the nation’s best Monday night when Oklahoma State’s heavyweight Steve Mocco and 165-pounder Johnny Hendricks fell at the hands of Cole Konrad and Matt Nagel.

The matches were huge for building confidence, but not much else.

“I couldn’t go out there and start trying a whole lot of new things,” Nagel said. “I had to be conservative.”

On Saturday, Nagel, Konrad and the rest of the fifth-ranked Gophers travel to Albany, N.Y., for the Northeast Duals where they will wrestle Virginia Tech, No. 25 Tennessee-Chattanooga, No. 15 Central Michigan and American University.

It’s the first time Minnesota will wrestle four teams in one day since 1994.

The tournament is Minnesota’s first dual meet of the season.

And while Monday served as an opportunity to build some confidence, the strength of Saturday’s competition ” or lack thereof ” will serve as an opportunity to build some skills.

“I definitely think that we will win this weekend, which might be a strong statement, but I honestly think that we will,” Konrad said. “But we’ll have to work for it. It’s not just going to happen because I think it.”

That will provide the Gophers with the opportunity to take more chances and be more aggressive, and try out moves in a lower-risk environment.

Nagel said he’ll be trying to work a little more offense into his style.

“(I’ll be) working on leg attacks and shooting to score and stuff,” he said. “Not sitting back.”

Of its opponents this weekend, Minnesota wrestled only Central Michigan last season.

The Gophers beat the Chippewas both times they wrestled last year, and the focus this weekend will be on building skills.

But that leaves just one more goal to accomplish this weekend ” making it look good while they’re at it.

“We definitely have some work to do,” Konrad said. “But I think as a team we’re moving in the right direction right now. When we go into this tournament this weekend the teams aren’t our caliber of teams. But we need to walk out there and prove it. When we go out there we’re going to really need to make a statement.”

All-Big Ten team

Minnesota’s football team had five players honored with All-Big Ten selections Tuesday.

Senior offensive linemen Greg Eslinger and Mark Setterstrom were named to the first team by both media members and coaches. Junior running back Laurence Maroney and junior tight end Matt Spaeth were also named to both first-teams.

Senior defensive tackle Anthony Montgomery was named second-team by the coaches and received honorable mention from the media.

Eslinger was also named the Big Ten’s Offensive Lineman of the Year on Tuesday, and was named a finalist for the Outland Trophy.