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Hawkeyes narrowly defeat Gophers wrestling as regular season winds down

The Gophers were dominated in the early parts of the dual match against Iowa on Friday, ultimately costing them the match.
Image by Emily Urfer
An Iowa State wrestler takes down Gopher Wrestler Boo Dryden at Maturi Pavilion on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021.

After winning four consecutive matches, the No. 11 ranked Gophers took on the No. 2 ranked Hawkeyes in front of a sold out crowd at Maturi Pavilion Friday.

The Gophers had a tough start to Big Ten play, losing their first two matches to Northwestern and Nebraska in early January. Since then, they have been more successful; their last win was against No. 21 ranked Illinois on Jan. 28.

The Gophers’ match against Iowa was a battle of streaks for both teams. Iowa would come out to secure each of the first six matches of the night to put the dual in their control, but the Gophers fought to the end to claim the final four.

After Iowa had taken an 18-0 lead, 174-pound wrestler Bailee O’Reilly put the Gophers on the board with a 4-1 decision win against Iowa’s Aiden Riggins. O’Reilly’s opening-period takedown gave him the lead he would need to secure the match.

Gophers sophomore Isaiah Salazar won the next match with a 13-5 major decision over Iowa’s Drake Rhodes. Salazar took an early 10-1 lead, securing the first score before rolling up Rhodes for two four-point turns. Rhodes put up a fight in the third period and looked to have eliminated the bonus-point win, but Salazar managed to get an escape just before the horn sounded.

Redshirt Senior Michial Foy, 197 pounds, had one of the best performances of the night with a match-winning takedown as time expired to knock off returning NCAA finalist Jacob Warner, 2-1. After neither of them found points in the first period, Warner rode out Foy for the entirety of the second. During the third period, Foy stayed on top long enough to eliminate the advantage time, and he elected to cut Warner and go for the takedown instead.

The Gophers ended up losing the match 18-13 but put up a strong fight against one of the best wrestling programs in the country. With 24 national championships, Iowa has the second most NCAA titles in the nation (just 10 behind Oklahoma State), their most recent being in 2021.

The Gophers’ final regular season match of the season will take place in Madison, Wisconsin, against the Badgers on Saturday.

The Badgers have had a roller coaster of a season with a 7-7 overall record. Nebraska defeated them soundly 24-11 in their most recent match.

Once the regular season wraps up, the Gophers will head east to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for the 109th Big Ten Wrestling Championships set to take place March 4-5.

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