Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Daily Email Edition

Get MN Daily NEWS delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday!


Gophers counting on veteran leadership as freshmen get acclimated

Although youth is expected to be served in large quantities on Minnesota’s wrestling team this year, the delicacy that is experience will be more valuable than ever.

The Gophers will begin this season with half of the spots in the starting lineup being manned by redshirt freshmen.

The other five belong to guys who have been there.

“With starting five older guys and five freshmen,” said redshirt freshman and 133-pound starter Mack Reiter, “those five are good at taking us one-on-one and showing us what to do and get our feet wet.”

With preseason No. 1 Oklahoma State the opponent for Sunday’s season-opening dual meet, the five Minnesota wrestlers who have been center stage at big matches before will be extremely valuable.

“Guys that have been in the big duals before, we’re going to have to rely on,” assistant coach Joe Russell said. “Our lighter-weights need to get in there and set a tone.”

With the Cowboys meet likely starting with the 125-pound match, the Gophers will begin the match with their most experienced wrestler on the mat.

Senior Bobbe Lowe, the Gophers’ 125-pound starter, earned All-American honors in 2003, and this year is one of just a handful of seniors expected to contribute.

“Bobbe will help our younger guys out by being able to set a tone early on,” Russell said. “He’s been in big situations before for our team.”

Lowe has started the season by taking first place in all three of Minnesota’s early season tournaments and is a perfect 13-0.

Among the other wrestlers with previous experience who are expected to start, only heavyweight sophomore Cole Konrad has ever earned All-American honors.

Junior Matt Nagel, who this year is wrestling at 165 pounds, went 25-17 last season at 157, but went just 1-2 in the NCAA Championships.

That success in the regular season before falling early in the national tournament was a trend among many of the Gophers last season.

Of the returning wrestlers who qualified for nationals last season, only Konrad, Lowe and Quincy Osborn – who is battling for the starting spot at 141 pounds – won more than one match there.

Russell said that, over the last few years, coaches have entrusted their older grapplers to help with younger wrestlers.

“With the system we use at Minnesota, we rely on the older guys to teach the younger guys,” he said. “We use the older guys as a link to the younger ones.”

With the infusion of youth on this year’s team, that link becomes much more important.

Reiter said he believes the team’s inexperience will, in the end, be beneficial.

“Since there’s so many of us younger guys, we’re not singularly carrying the burden,” he said.

Still, those wrestlers who have experience will be key in helping Minnesota find its stride early on.

“Whenever we’re down, they know what we’re going through,” redshirt freshman Matt Koz said, “and they know what to do.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Accessibility Toolbar

Comments (0)

All The Minnesota Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *