Gophers dominate in season opener

Minnesota beat Cal State-Bakerfield 31-9 on Saturday night.

Gophers dominate in season opener

Josh Katzenstein

After two open meets, the Gophers started their dual-meet season in dominant fashion with a 31-9 victory over Cal State Bakersfield. The contest did not start how No. 4 Minnesota had hoped, with the Roadrunners taking the first two matches âÄî 197-pound and heavyweight âÄî but the Gophers stormed back to take seven of the remaining eight affairs en route to the victory. A few of the matches were close, including the three which Minnesota lost, but the Gophers controlled most matches from the first whistle. Senior Jayson Ness , who is ranked No. 2 in the nation at 133 , earned a fall just 2:20 into the match. Cal State BakersfieldâÄôs Justin Durham scored the first takedown, but Ness almost immediately escaped before a takedown of his own which he turned into a pin and six points for the Gophers. Sophomores Zach Sanders (125) and Sonny Yohn (184) both dictated the plot in their matches as well, resulting in two technical falls for Minnesota. YohnâÄôs win was all the more impressive because he had been battling the flu in the days leading up to the match. He said he was unable to practice Friday, but thought he could wrestle hard for seven minutes, which proved to be true in the 15-0 technical fall. Yohn beat the RoadrunnersâÄô Mike Larson , a redshirt freshman in the first match of his collegiate career. Yohn had surgery on his left shoulder last season and only wrestled in 16 matches. After winning titles at both the Bison Open and the Kaufman-Brand Open, Yohn said he has a lot of confidence, and head coach J Robinson is taking notice. âÄúHeâÄôs gaining more and more confidence the more and more he wrestles,âÄù Robinson said. The Gophers managed to win with four of their starters sidelined. Mario Mason (149), Jake Deitchler (157), Dustin Schlatter (165) and Scott Glasser (174) were all sidelined Saturday. Without specifying names, Robinson said three of the four had injuries while the other was sick. The lineup changes hardly hurt Minnesota as three of the replacements won, and Robinson was impressed with how his team handled the adversity. âÄúAny time your guys can come off the bench, so to speak, and do what they need to do for your team, I think thatâÄôs pretty impressive, and I think thatâÄôs what they did,âÄù he said. Sophomores Luke Mellmer (149), Joe Grygelko (157) and redshirt freshman Cody Yohn (174) all took victories. Mellmer and Cody Yohn both had major victories while Grygelko had the closest fight of the meet. Grygelko had three takedowns in the first round to jump out to an early lead. But over the next two rounds, he only managed one takedown and had to hold on to an 8-7 victory over Cal State BakersfieldâÄôs redshirt freshman Andrew Balch . When Grygelko held an 8-5 lead, he landed awkwardly and had to wrestle with a hurt left ankle. Balch scored another takedown, but Grygelko pulled out the win. The fourth replacement, sophomore Brian Peterson , wrestled in place of Schlatter at 165. Peterson is listed at 149 and weighed in at 157 for the match. Robinson said he was undersized but went with Peterson because he had some experience from last season. MinnesotaâÄôs Joe Nord (197) and Ben Berhow (heavyweight) both fell to the Roadrunners as well. Nord lost to junior Riley Orozco , who is ranked 19th nationally. Berhow, ranked 8th, fell to No. 4 Mitch Monteiro in a battle of two of the top national heavyweights. The match went pretty slowly with an end score of just 4-1. He said he will work on his conditioning this week and try to focus on keeping guys from scrambling, which helped Monteiro walk away with the win. âÄú[Berhow] waits around a little bit too long, that first takedown was everything,âÄù Robinson said. âÄúHeâÄôs got to score first, and then heâÄôs got to keep the pressure on those guys.âÄù This win surely will boost the GophersâÄô confidence as they prepare for next weekâÄôs match at No. 5 Oklahoma State. Minnesota heads to Stillwater, Okla., next Friday to meet with the Cowboys at 7 p.m.