Wrestlers take down two Michigan schools

Allison Younge

The No. 3 Gophers cruised through a two-match Big Ten weekend in Michigan, dominating Michigan State and Michigan. Minnesota’s victories, however, were bittersweet.
Saturday’s 23-12 win against the Spartans was highlighted by the 190-pound match, which featured Minnesota’s No. 3 Tim Hartung and Michigan State’s No. 4 Brian Picklo. After three periods, the match was at a standstill, tied 1-1.
The first overtime produced the same effect as more time was needed to determine a victor. Picklo won the position coin toss and opted to start out on the mat. Pressure loomed as Picklo and Hartung set their positions.
The action began and ended as quickly as the coin toss, with a one point escape by Picklo. Michigan State’s 190-pounder captured the victory and broke Hartung’s outstanding 23-match win streak by a score of 2-1.
“This loss may be better for me than a win right now,” Hartung said. “It forces me to work harder to get ready for my next matches.”
Michigan’s Frank Lodeserto felt Hartung’s resilience Sunday when Minnesota’s 190-pounder recorded his ninth pin of the season in 2:58 as the Gophers defeated the Wolverines 28-10.
“Hartung wrestled good in both of his matches,” Gophers assistant coach Marty Morgan said. “His performance isn’t up and down, he’s strong and consistent all the way through.”
Besides Hartung’s heartbreaking first loss, the Gophers faired very well individually. Junior Zac Taylor snapped a three-match losing streak with two solid wins.
Taylor, No. 5 at 167, scored a takedown on Michigan State’s Ralph Conte in sudden death overtime to secure a 12-10 win. He then went on to upset Michigan’s Jeff Catrabone (No. 3) by decision, 7-5.
“I felt good about my matches — especially my second match against Catrabone,” Taylor said. “I felt more intense and focused this weekend.”
Heavyweight Shelton Benjamin, winner of two matches, was also impressive for the Gophers. Benjamin won a commanding victory over Michigan State’s Marco Sanchez by major decision 14-4, and then went on to upset Michigan’s Airron Richardson (No. 6) by an 11-6 overtime decision.
“Shelton is starting to get the hang of Division I wrestling,” Morgan said. “If he continues to wrestle this way, he will be in contention for a national title this year.”
Gophers coach J Robinson agreed. “Shelton got some great shots in on offense, and he’s starting to look more aggressive.”
Minnesota forfeited the 118 pound matches against Michigan State and Michigan. Injured Brandon Paulson’s replacement at 118 pounds, Kipp Williamson, did not make the trip because of illness.
The Gophers didn’t miss a step, even with a 6-0 starting deficit. Minnesota only lost three individual matches this weekend, not counting the two forfeited losses.
Minnesota’s Chad Kraft, No. 4 at 150 pounds, split matches this weekend. Kraft started strong Saturday downing Michigan State’s Adam Elderkin 9-3, but lost his intensity Sunday in a 9-0 rout by Michigan’s Bill Lacure (No. 3).
“Kraft wasn’t there mentally against Lacure,” Morgan said. “He needs to focus on himself and get mentally prepared before Big Tens.”
With three weeks of practice left before the Gophers host the Big Ten championships, Minnesota has plenty of time to work out any minor difficulties. Sophomore 158-pounder Josh Holiday took home two wins this weekend, but put the Michigan matches into perspective.
“We wrestled two all-around good matches, but Michigan State and Michigan are weaker teams,” Holiday said. “It’s up to us to push ourselves to train hard in these last few weeks before the Big Tens.”

SATURDAY’S SUMMARY
No. 15 Michigan State — 12
No. 3 Gophers — 23

118 — Minn. forfeit
126 — Pat Connors (Minn.) dec. Jason Nusbaum (MSU), 10-3
134 — No. 11 Troy Marr (Minn.) dec. Issac Miller (MSU), 5-2
142 — No. 3 Jason Davids (Minn.) maj. dec. Sam Hakim (MSU), 18-8
150 — No. 4 Chad Kraft (Minn.) dec. Adam Elderkin (MSU), 9-3
158 — Josh Holiday (Minn.) dec. Greg DeGrand (MSU), 11-5
167 — No. 5 Zac Taylor (Minn.) dec. Ralph Conte (MSU), 12-10 OT
177 — No. 3 Erich Harvey (MSU) dec. Brandon Eggum (Minn.), 5-2
190 — No. 4 Brian Picklo (MSU) dec. Tim Hartung (Minn.), 2-1 2OT
HWT — Shelton Benjamin (Minn.) maj. dec. Marco Sanchez (MSU), 14-4

SUNDAY’S SUMMARY
No. 11 Michigan — 10
No. 3 Gophers — 28

118 — Minn. forfeit
126 — Pat Connors (Minn.) dec. Chris Viola (Mich.), 9-6
134 — No. 11 Troy Marr (Minn.) dec. Corey Grant (Mich.), 4-3 OT
142 — No. 3 Jason Davids maj. dec. Gyhandi Hill (Mich.), 13-4
150 — No. 3 Bill Lacure (Mich.) maj. dec. Chad Kraft (Minn.), 9-0
158 — Josh Holiday (Minn.) dec. Otto Olson (Mich.), 11-9
167 — No. 5 Zac Taylor (Minn.) dec. No. 3 Jeff Catrabone (Mich.), 7-5
177 — Brandon Eggum (Minn.) dec. Joe DeGain (Mich.), 16-9
190 — No. 3 Tim Hartung (Minn.) pinned Frank Lodeserto (Mich.) 2:59
HWT — Shelton Benjamin (Minn.) dec. No. 6 Airron Richarson (Mich.), 11-6 OT