U wrestlers earn win at Wisconsin

by Allison Younge

An uninspiring opponent, a grueling week of two-a-day practices, a pair of sidelined starters and even a weight class shuffle couldn’t stop the third-ranked Gophers wrestling team from capturing a 25-11 victory over Wisconsin Saturday in Madison, Wis.
Although the adverse factors didn’t stop the Gophers from adding to the win column, that’s not to say they didn’t affect the match.
“It was pretty hard to get motivated,” Gophers junior Chad Kraft said. “Coming from a match with 12,000 people up here to 500 down there it made for a different atmosphere.”
Facing second-ranked Iowa on Jan. 23 in front of a record-breaking home crowd proved to be the climax of the Gophers’ season so far. That meant Saturday’s bout with unranked Wisconsin in Madison could only pale in comparison.
Following the loss to Iowa, the Gophers’ practice intensity shifted into overdrive. By Saturday, Gopher’s assistant coach Marty Morgan said that mental and physical fatigue were apparent.
“I think the past two weeks of dual meets have been pretty stressful,” Morgan said. “I think they went in — even the coaches — I think we all went in kind of overlooking them, and it showed in the way we wrestled.”
Senior Zac Taylor suffered his third straight loss this season to Wisconsin’s Kole Clauson at 167 pounds. Clauson, ranked ninth at 167 pounds, upset fifth-ranked Taylor by landing a takedown in the final period to claim the 5-4 victory.
“That was a pretty big upset,” Morgan said. “Zac gave up a takedown in the third period — he looked like he just didn’t have the energy out there.”
After the seventh bout of the night, the Gophers held a slight 14-11 advantage over the Badgers. It wasn’t until the last three matches that the Gophers gained more than a six-point lead.
Brandon Eggum (177 pounds), Tim Hartung (190 pounds) and Shelton Benjamin (Hwt) secured the win by combining for 11 straight team points to complete the match.
Gophers regular starters Pat Connors and Josh Holiday did not take the mat against the Badgers.
“Connors’ knee has been bugging him a little bit and Holiday is trying to get caught up with school, and he hasn’t been feeling real well — we figured we’d give them a break,” Morgan said.
Connors, ranked No. 11 at 126 pounds, was replaced by sophomore Bart Golyer. Holiday, ranked No. 10 at 158 pounds, was replaced by two-time All-American Chad Kraft. Kraft’s usual position at 150 pounds, was filled by Gopher’s freshman Brad Pike. With the 158-pound bout open, Kraft moved up in hopes of a tougher match from Wisconsin.
“I thought it would be good for me to get a test right now so at the end of the year I’ve already had some good competition,” Kraft said.
Kraft easily defeated the Badger’s Cory Wallman by a score of 10-5.
All-Americans Hartung and Jason Davids highlighted the match by downing their opponents by technical fall, each earning five team points for the Gophers. Hartung didn’t allow Wisconsin’s Joe Terrill any extra space in the 190-pound match. The Gophers sturdy junior held Terrill scoreless until the match was called 39 seconds into the third period. Hartung scored 17 straight points with 4:30 of riding time to earn a 18-0 technical fall victory.
After losing for the first time this season to Iowa’s Jeff McGinniss on Jan. 23, Davids bounced back into his offensive mode against Wisconsin’s Dusty Coufal.
Minnesota’s aggressive 142-pounder landed two takedowns and three nearfalls in the first period to claim control of the match. After three more takedowns just thirty-eight seconds into the second period, the match was called. Davids was awarded the 19-3 technical fall victory.
“Davids looked really good out there,” Morgan said. “He did everything right. He went after his guy and continued until the match was over.”
The win over Wisconsin evened the Gophers’ Big Ten record at 1-1. Minnesota holds a 14-1 dual meet record this season with seven Big Ten matches remaining.

Saturday’s match summary

No. 3 Minnesota — 25
Wisconsin — 11

118 pounds — Brett Lawrence (Minn.) dec. Brian Slater (Wisc.) 4-1
126 pounds — Eric Jetton (Wisc.) tech. fall Bart Golyer (Minn.) 23-7, 6:54
134 pounds — Troy Marr (Minn.) dec. Grant Hoerr (Wisc.) 8-6
142 pounds — Jason Davids (Minn.) tech. fall Dusty Coufal (Wisc.) 19-3, 3:38
150 pounds — Don Pritzlaff (Wisc.) dec. Brad Pike (Minn.) 6-3
158 pounds — Chad Kraft (Minn.) dec. Cory Wallman (Wisc.) 10-5
167 pounds — Kole Clauson (Wisc.) dec Zac Taylor (Minn.) 5-4
177 pounds — Brandon Eggum (Minn.) dec. Steve Alf (Wisc.) 8-2
190 pounds — Tim Hartung tech. fall Joe Terrill (Wisc.) 18-0, 5:39
Hwt — Shelton Benjamin (Minn.) dec. Aaron Stark (Wisc.) 9-4