Wrestlers drop close match to No. 3 Iowa State

by Allison Younge

Anticipation surrounded Williams Arena on Saturday as Minnesota heavyweight wrestler Shelton Benjamin stepped up to meet his opponent in the final match of the night against Iowa State.
With the score tied 16-16, Benjamin would be the Gophers’ last hope of defeating No. 3 Iowa State, moving up in the national rankings and continuing their season undefeated.
After three regular periods the wrestlers were deadlocked 10-10.
Forty-three seconds later, ISU’s Trent Hynek took down Benjamin and was pronounced the winner by decision, 12-10. Iowa State defeated No. 6 Minnesota 19-16.
Gophers coach J Robinson was disappointed with the overall performance of his team. “We have to decide to wrestle hard,” Robinson said. “We were afraid of getting tired, so we didn’t do anything offensively.”
The feature bout of the night was the 150-pound match between Iowa State’s second-ranked 1995 National Champion Chris Bono and Minnesota’s fourth-ranked Chad Kraft.
Bono broke Kraft’s 11-win undefeated streak in the third period of the match, winning by decision, 8-4. “Bono’s whole tactic is to wear his opponent out and that’s what he did,” Robinson said.
The biggest upset of the night came in the 167-pound match. Gophers junior Zac Taylor (No. 4) was defeated by No. 12 Bart Horton, who won 9-3.
Despite the heartbreaking outcome of the match, three Gophers who rallied impressive individual wins were Brandon Paulson, Jason Davids and Tim Hartung.
Paulson gave Minnesota an early lead in the 118-pound match defeating Iowa State’s Cody Sanderson by major decision, 15-2.
“Paulson was tired, but he wrestled through it,” Robinson said. “He probably cut more weight than anybody for this match”.
Davids (142) scored six points for the Gophers and recaptured a 10-7 Minnesota lead by pinning David Maldonado in 38 seconds.
“I knew I had to carry a little extra weight and get some big points,” Davids said. “When I go out there, I want to be on fire right away and catch my opponent off guard.”
Davids (16-1) has recorded nine pins so far this season.
Hartung (No.7) continued his undefeated 13-0 record at 190 by downing No. 9 Matt Mulvihill 8-3, which tied the team scores at 16.
Even though losing to Iowa State was disheartening for Coach Robinson and the Gophers, the match has little significance at this point in the season.
“The loss doesn’t concern me at this time,” Robinson said. “It’s something I don’t like, but it depends on what we do now.”
Minnesota (6-1) will travel to Nebraska on Tuesday to continue its dual meet schedule.

Over the break
Minnesota posted a 3-0 mark at the Clarion Duals in Clarion, Pa., on Dec. 15. The Gophers defeated Ohio University, 39-4, Clarion, 34-9 and Rider, 27-12.
On Dec. 17, Davids and Kraft registered consecutive pins at 142 and 150 pounds to lead Minnesota to a 46-6 win over Southern Connecticut State in New Haven, Conn.