U wrestler looks for shot at No. 1 rank

Allison Younge

When Gophers wrestler Jason Davids eyes his competition Friday in Madison, Wisc., at the Northern Open, he hopes to see a face from his past. Indiana’s No.1-ranked Roger Chandler may compete, and if he does, Davids wants a rematch.
Chandler downed Davids in the NCAA Championships last year and now holds the top ranking at 142 pounds — Davids is ranked No. 2 and is 6-0 so far this season. A victory for Davids over Chandler would put him on top.
“I’d like to win the Northern Open again, but if Chandler is there, my goal is to beat him and take over the No. 1 ranking,” Davids said.
Teams such as Iowa, Indiana, Iowa State, Michigan, Nebraska, Northern Iowa and Wisconsin will compete, giving the Minnesota a chance to preview its upcoming competition.
“The Northern Open gives us a chance to see a lot of other kids in the country,” said Gophers coach J Robinson.
The one-day tournament will bring out some of the best wrestlers in the nation and showcases the top teams in the Midwest.
“The Northern Open is the gauge that the coaches use to see where their teams are,” Robinson said. “It will give a good indication of where we are nationally.”
Twenty-three Minnesota wrestlers will compete, several at each of the 10 weight classes. Davids, as well as four of his teammates, are scheduled to wrestle at 142.
“At the Bison Open, five Minnesota guys competed at 142,” Davids said. “But because the Northern Open is a larger tournament, I probably won’t have to compete against any of my teammates.”
Besides Davids, Robinson looks for several other Gophers to excel at Friday’s meet.
“We’re looking for good performances from Brandon (Paulson), as well as Chad Kraft and Tim Hartung,” he said.
“We want to see where we are at in a number of weight classes. We have three talented kids at the 158 weight (Delaney Berger, Tim Kinsella and Josh Holiday), and we want to see how they’ll stack up nationally.”
Robinson added, however, that Berger will sit out this weekend because of injury. He will be joined on the sideline by Zac Taylor (167) and Brandon Eggum (177), who are also hurt.
Friday’s meet will conclude Minnesota’s unattached season, where athletes compete individually and no team points are calculated. The Gophers will resume their dual meet schedule with their home-opener against Northwestern on Dec. 6 at Williams Arena.
Notes: Joe Calavitta, Mike Cuperus and Matt Kraft have signed National Letters of Intent to attend Minnesota.
Calavitta is a three-time place winner in the California state wrestling meet at 134 and 142. Cuperus, a Worthington, Minn., native, has placed third and first in the state meet at 167 and 177. He also is a Junior National All-American and Cadet National Champion. Kraft is a three-time Minnesota state place-winner out of Lakefield, Minn., at 158 and 167. He is the younger brother of current Gophers All-American Chad Kraft.