THIS WEEK IN MINNESOTA WRESTLING
Minnesota heads back to Fargo, N.D. this weekend to participate in the Bison Quad. The Golden Gophers will go head-to-head with Eastern Michigan, Itasca Community College and host school North Dakota State throughout the single-day competition. The opening duals are scheduled for 1 p.m., with the second and third duals set for approximately 3 and 5 p.m.
Eastern Michigan (0-2, 0-0 MAC) returns three NCAA qualifiers from last season's team that posted a record of 15-6 and finished third in the Mid-American Conference.
With a No. 24 ranking in the USA Today/NWCA/AWN Poll, North Dakota State is ranked in the Top 25 for the first time in the school's Division I era. The Bison are anchored by senior Trent Sprenkle who recently recorded his 80th career win with a pin of Boise Stateâs Rami Haddadin on Nov. 16.
SCOUTINGâITASCA COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Itasca (1-0, 0-0 MCAC) finished the highest of any Minnesota junior college at last year's NJCAA national tournament, taking sixth place. The Vikings have 2 returning NJCAA national qualifiers in 157-pounder David Booth and 133-pounder Justin Valhuerdi.
TOP OF THE NATION
For the third week in a row, the Maroon and Gold have been named the No. 1 team in the nation, receiving 397 total points,Â including seven first-place votes, in the USAâToday/NWCA/Amateur Wrestling News Division I Coaches Preseason Poll. Defending national champions Penn State received three first-place votes to rank at No. 2, while Oklahoma State came in at No. 3. Iowa and Ohio State rounded out the top five, at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.
InterMatâs Tournament-Strength Rankings placed the Gophers at No. 3, trailing Iowa (No. 2) and Penn Stateâ(No. 1).
Head Coach J Robinson has developed an environment of excellence that has seen Minnesota rise to elite status in college wrestling. Over 27 years with the Golden Gophers, Robinson has compiled a record of 391-129-4, placing him second behind Wally Johnson (head coach, 1952-86) for most wins in program history. With just four more victories, Robinson will surpass Johnson as the all-time winngingest coach (Johnson ended his career 392-209-11).
With an 898-429-25 overall record in the history of Gopher Wrestling, Minnesota is closing in on an incredible feat that limited number have achieved before. The Gophers have the potential to eclipse 900 wins this season, becoming only the sixth collegiate program in the nation to do so. Minnesota will join the ranks of Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Oregon State, Springfield College (Mass.) and the University of Iowa.
Since its inaugural season in 1910, the Gophers have established a .673 winning percentage with help from 66 winning seasons. In that time, the Maroon and Gold have garnered 34 NCAAâTop 10 finishes, collected 10 Big Ten Championships, and claimed three national championship titles (2001, 2002, 2007).
In 2012-13, Nelson posted a largely impressive record of 32-2, including an undefeated 8-0 conference run. With both losses stemming from the first half of the season, Nelson was able to build to a 25-match win streak which he has extended to 31âafter a 3-0 showing to start the season.
Sophomore Tony Nelson and junior Kevin Steinhaus have been named team captains for the current season, each receiving the honor for the second year in a row. Nelson and Steinhaus were voted to guide the team after proving leadership and excellence both on and off the mat last season. Â
Wrestling fans will be able to follow all the live action this year through Gopher All-Access, now a part of the Big Ten Digital Network. Monthly and yearly subscriptions for live and on-demand content are available atÂ http://www.gophersports.com/allaccess/
The Minnesota wrestling team will host its annual Gopher/Hawkeye dual in Williams Arena this year on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 3:00 p.m. Donât miss your chance to see the epic rivalry in person! Tickets are available now online at www.mygophersports.com
THIS WEEK IN MINNESOTA WRESTLING