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College Wrestling Update for January 18: Gophers take No. 1 by force



jbryant@intermatwrestle.com
NWCA/InterMat

There's a new No. 1 in the land of collegiate wrestling and it's J Robinson's Minnesota Golden Gophers. By now, you already knew that, and by the number of threads and posts on thematforums.com, it's pretty common knowledge that Oklahoma State heavyweight Steve Mocco's 85-match winning streak came to an end against Minnesota's Cole Konrad.

Konrad did beat Mocco in Stillwater, Okla. at the NWCA All-Star Match, but contrary to public opinion, those matches aren't deemed official and do not affect the InterMat/NWCA/NWMA Individual Rankings.

But now, Konrad's proven the doubters and made his fans look like geniuses with his fall over the previously immovable Mocco.

Had Konrad not won, most of the emphasis would be on Minnesota freshman Dustin Schlatter. Rather than redshirt like older brother C.P. did when he joined the Gophers, Dustin is starting as a true freshman at 149 pounds. He has just one loss on the year, to Central Michigan's Mark DiSalvo.

The younger Schlatter avenged the loss to DiSalvo in the semifinals of the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals and then knocked off defending National Champion Zack Esposito of Oklahoma State in a wild 8-7 match in the finals.

Not to be overlooked, Gabriel Dretsch continued to be inconsistent, but this time in a positive light, beating Brandon Mason at 174 pounds in another swing match. Dretsch is on again, off again and completely cardiac - but he did score just as important of a win in the dual than the Schlatterses and Konrad.

Movin' on up
Apparently Nebraska coach Mark Manning and his team took offense to being dissed in the seedings at the National Duals. So what do the Huskers do? Only beat Iowa and Michigan back-to-back to reach the semifinals against Big 12 rival Oklahoma State.

The Huskers started things off against Iowa with some serious firepower, getting up 12-0 on the Hawkeyes with falls by Paul Donahoe and Patrick Aleksanyan.Iowa recovered until Jacob Klein's momentum-shifting victory over Division I runner-up Mark Perry followed by Vince Jones' first varsity match out of redshirt.Jones made the most of it, beating second-ranked Paul Bradley 5-4. B.J. Padden iced it with a win over Dan Erekson.

Against Michigan, the power of the pin lifted the Huskers, picking up falls from Donahoe, Chris Oliver and Jones.

Close one
While the National Duals were rolling right along, Indiana was battling Penn for the championship at the Virginia Duals at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Va. Things didn't exactly start out right for the Hoosiers, who did end up beating the Quakers 18-15, as defending National Champion Joe Dubuque of Indiana rallied from a one-point deficit in the final 10 seconds to force overtime and then in the extra period, knock off Mike Silengo 12-10.

Which set of Mavericks would it be?
One of the more unique aspects of Division II's top wrestling programs is that Nebraska-Omaha and Minnesota State-Mankato share a common nickname - the Mavericks. While MSU-Mankato recently redesigned its Maverick logo to a slick, intimidating purple and black design, UNO has stuck an intimidating logo itself. Then again, this is wrestling and the only real fun in looking at logos is how slick one might be.

Then again, it is wrestling and it's not the design that wins you the match. UNO beat Minnesota State 20-10 to claim its second straight National Duals championship. The Mavericks (from UNO) beat Central Oklahoma, Augustana (S.D.), and Fort Hays State on the way to the championship.

Rough go
First-year NAIA program King College in Bristol, Tenn., got a rude welcome to national competition, winning just two individual bouts at the National Duals. The Tornado fell to Southern Oregon 50-3 and Montana State-Northern 43-3.

Taking a vacation
Illinois, last year's National Duals runner-up, didn't attend the Duals this season. Instead, Mark Johnson elected to take his team out west for duals with Stanford, San Francisco State and Fresno State. The individual results: Illinois had 39 wins, the opponents had one win.

Tidbits
A second-period reversal was all there was to the Sam Hazewinkel-Troy Nickerson match at the NWCA National Duals as the OU junior, Hazewinkel, edged the Cornell freshman in the tournament's opening round at 125 pounds…

Central Michigan's Wynn Michalak remains No. 1 at 197 pounds despite a 2-1 loss to Oklahoma's Joel Flaggert. The main reason? A 15-3 pounding of Nebraska's B.J. Padden, who beat second-ranked Jake Rosholt in the event…

In Division III, it was Wartburg taking the National Duals title away from rival Augsburg 24-6. The win gives the Knights a 17-0 dual meet record. A semifinal win over Luther College gave Wartburg its 99th consecutive win over Iowa Conference opponents. The title was Wartburg's third National Duals championship and third in the last four years after Augsburg won last year. …
Dana College came from the third-seeded position in the bracket to win the NAIA portion of the National Duals, beating the University of the Cumberlands (formerly Cumberland College) 22-13 in the final…

Ironically, the NAIA rankings came out on January 18 and Dana sits in fourth, while Dickinson State, which beat second-ranked Great Falls last week, finished seventh and still comes in at No. 2 in the NAIA. I guess coach Steve Costanzo's team gets no respect, but they still can take home the big trophy …

While SUNY-Brockport is one of the toughest Division III programs in the East, they still haven't been able to claim that elusive second Virginia Duals American College Division championship. The tournament winners in 2002, the Golden Eagles have had competitive teams come down to Hampton but end up short against marginal Division I foes. This year, it was Duquesne that ousted Brockport 19-18 in the final. …

Coming up
Former high school teammates will face off as second-ranked Nathan Morgan of Oklahoma State will take on fourth-ranked Darrell Vasquez of Cal Poly when the Mustangs visit Stillwater this weekend. Vasquez was California's first four-time high school state champion while Morgan won three titles at Bakersfield H.S. The pair did not meet last season as Vasquez missed nearly the entire season suffering from the Epstein-Barr virus, a mono-like condition.

Minnesota will also host Iowa in a Border Brawl matchup, although we're not quite sure if J Robinson's still calling it the Border Brawl or not.

The heart of the dual meet season is here, with many of the Big 10 schools like Minnesota and Iowa hitting this weekend.

The entire Colonial Athletic Association will be at George Mason for the CAA Duals with many teams getting five conference matches in a non-advancement format.

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