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Wrestling

Wrestling

It was a disappointing Friday morning for the defending national champion Golden Gopher wrestling team at the 2008 NCAA Championships in St. Louis, Mo. Minnesota sent five wrestlers to the championship quarterfinals, but saw just one (125-pound Running Shoes Horizon Mizuno Wave Yellow Safety Directoire Peacoat Men's Blue F1xOxnBwq) advance to Friday night’s semifinals. Ness tied the Gophers’ single-season pin mark with his 20th of the season and second of the tournament.

Four Gophers Mack Reiter, Manuel Rivera, Dustin Schlatter and Dress Girl Sandal Beella Madden Women's Patent White t7A6q6Pxw were defeated in their quarterfinal matches and will be forced to climb back up the bracket through wrestleback competition. Senior and fifth-seeded C.P. Schlatter saw his collegiate career come to an end early Friday afternoon, as he was unable to follow up on his All-American finish last season. Senior Gabe Dretsch (174 pounds) won his first consolation match but saw his career come to an end in Friday’s second consolation round. Redshirt freshman Ben Berhow (heavyweight) was also eliminated in wrestlebacks.

After finishing Thursday night’s action tied for fourth and within shouting distance of first-place Iowa, the Gophers dropped down to eighth place after Friday’s early session. Minnesota and Central Michigan head to the semifinal round with 34.5 team points, with the Hawkeyes (67 points) comfortably in front of the rest of the field. They finished the third NCAA session a whopping 19.5 points ahead of second-place Nebraska and Oklahoma State.

The session’s high point came early for the Gopher faithful in attendance at the Scottrade Center. Ness, who entered the Friday’s action 37-1 on the season, squared off with Old Dominion’s James Nicholson in the quarterfinals. Ness was aggressive from the opening whistle and opened up a commanding 9-1 lead before pinning Nicholson at the 4:04 mark. He advances to the national semifinals for the second consecutive year, where he will take on defending national champion and third-seeded Paul Donahue of Nebraska.

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Ness and Donahue have met four times during their collegiate career (including an exhibition match at the 2007 NWCA All-Star Classic). The Bloomington, Minn. native has won three of those matches, including a dramatic 6-4 overtime win at this year’s National Duals.

Two Bloomington Kennedy High School (Minn.) graduates now share the Gophers’ all-time single-season fall record. His Friday morning pin finally pulled Ness even with current Gopher head assistant coach Marty Morgan, who pinned 20 in 1989-90 en route to an All-American finish at 167 pounds.

Unfortunately for Minnesota, other highlights were hard to come by during Friday’s quarterfinal action. Reiter tangled with top-seeded Franklin Gomez (Michigan State) for the second time this year, but like their dual meet match-up earlier in the season, Reiter simply could not muster any offense against the 2008 Big Ten Champion. The senior and two-time All-American recorded three escapes but could not take Gomez down in a 5-3 loss.
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The most discouraging loss of the session came at 149 pounds, where two-time All-American and former NCAA Champion Dustin Schlatter was defeated by seventh-seeded Darrion Caldwell of North Carolina State 4-1. Caldwell, the only wrestler this season to defeat Iowa’s Brent Metcalf, jumped in front with a first-period takedown and never looked back. Down 3-1, Schlatter desperately attempted to shoot during the third period but could not get in on Caldwell. Schlatter misses the championship semifinals for the first time in his career and must advance through the wrestlebacks to gain his third All-American award.

Fifth-seeded Rivera never really got going in his quarterfinal match with fourth-ranked Nathan Morgan of Oklahoma State at 141 pounds. Rivera’s second straight NCAA quarterfinal loss was a tough one, as Morgan (who defeated Rivera earlier this season in a dual meet) scored single takedowns in all three periods for the 8-1 win. Rivera needs to win one more match for his first career All-American honor.

Injury-plagued senior Dress Girl Sandal Beella Madden Women's Patent White t7A6q6Pxw battled in his quarterfinal with top-ranked and undefeated Jake Varner of Iowa State, but did not pose much of an offensive threat to the Cyclone grappler. Kish allowed just an escape and bonus riding time point to Varner but spent the entire third period underneath as he lost to Varner for the fourth straight time. Since defeating Varner twice during the 2006-07 regular season, Kish has been topped by Varner at last year’s NCAA Championships, the 2007 NWCA All-Star Classic and a dual meet last December.

Consolation wrestling went little better for the Gophers during Friday’s early session. Dretsch won his first wrestleback match of the day, a dominating 10-2 major decision over Maryland’s Mike Letts, but blew an early lead against Northern Iowa’s Alex Dolly and fell 10-6, ending his collegiate carer.

Fifth-seeded 157-pound C.P. Schlatter and heavyweight Ben Berhow were also eliminated during Friday wrestlebacks. Schlatter appeared slowed by his hamstring injury in a 4-0 loss to Iowa’s Ryan Morningstar, and redshirt freshman Berhow put up a strong effort but came up short in a 7-4 loss to Dustin Rogers of West Virginia.

Friday’s final session is set to get underway at approximately 6 p.m. It will be televised live on ESPNU, with special web-only coverage also available on ESPN360.com.

Team Scores After Three Sessions (Friday afternoon):

1. Iowa (67 points)
2. Nebraska/Oklahoma State (47.5)
4. Ohio State (45.5)
5. Central Michigan (43)
6. Penn State (42)
7. Missouri (38.5)
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Day Two Results 2008 NCAA Wrestling Championships:

125 No. 2 Running Shoes Horizon Mizuno Wave Yellow Safety Directoire Peacoat Men's Blue F1xOxnBwqShoes Slippers Halloween Flannel nbsp;JESSI House Paw Animal Costume MAIERNISI Unisex Cosplay Giraffe Claw nRPqTH, Second Seed
Quarterfinals: Ness pinned #10 James Nicholson (Old Dominion), 4:04

133 No. 8 Mack Reiter, Eighth Seed
Quarterfinals: #1 Franklin Gomez (Michigan State) dec. Reiter, 5-3
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141 No. 5 Manuel Rivera, Fifth Seed
Quarterfinals: #4 Nathan Morgan (Oklahoma State) dec. Rivera, 8-1

149 No. 2 Dustin Schlatter, Second Seed
Quarterfinals: #7 Darrion Caldwell (N.C. State) dec. Schlatter, 4-1

157 No. 5 C.P. Schlatter, Fifth Seed
Consolation: Ryan Morningstar (Iowa) dec. Schlatter, 4-0
Schlatter eliminated (1-2 record)

174 No. 8 Gabriel Dretsch, Eighth Seed
Consolation: Dretsch maj. dec. Mike Letts (Maryland), 10-2
Consolation: Alex Dolly (Northern Iowa) dec. Dretsch, 10-6
Dretsch eliminated (2-2 record)

184 No. 8 Dress Girl Sandal Beella Madden Women's Patent White t7A6q6Pxw, Eighth Seed
Quarterfinals: Jake Varner (Iowa State) dec. Kish, 2-0

Hwt Ben Berhow, Unseeded
Consolation: Dustin Rogers (West Virginia) dec. Berhow, 7-4
Berhow eliminated (1-2 record)

Complete NCAA Championship Results:

125 No. 2 Running Shoes Horizon Mizuno Wave Yellow Safety Directoire Peacoat Men's Blue F1xOxnBwq, Second Seed
Mushroom Dark Sneaker Clipper Chocolate Lugz Bone Men's wqptEwWIFirst Round: Ness pinned Marcos Orozco (UC Davis), 1:17
Second Round: Ness maj. dec. Luke Smith (Central Michigan), 9-0
Quarterfinals: Ness pinned #10 James Nicholson (Old Dominion), 4:04

133 No. 8 Mack Reiter, Eighth Seed
First Round: Reiter pinned Jeffery Schell (Brown), 2:13
Second Round: Reiter maj. dec. Conor Beebe, 15-6
Quarterfinals: #1 Franklin Gomez (Michigan State) dec. Reiter, 5-3

141 No. 5 Manuel Rivera, Fifth Seed
First Round: Rivera tech fall Torsten Gillespie (Edinboro), 16-0 (4:44)
Second Round: Rivera dec. #12 Garrett Scott (Penn State), 8-5
Quarterfinals: #4 Nathan Morgan (Oklahoma State) dec. Rivera, 8-1

149 No. 2 Dustin Schlatter, Second Seed
First Round: Schlatter dec. Adam Hall (Boise State), 5-3
Second Round: Schlatter dec. Mitch Mueller (Iowa State), 6-2
Quarterfinals: #7 Darrion Caldwell (N.C. State) dec. Schlatter, 4-1

157 No. 5 C.P. Schlatter, Fifth Seed
First Round: Schlatter dec. Tyson Reiner (Northern Iowa), 4-2
Second Round: #12 Josh Zupancic (Stanford) dec. Schlatter, 5-4
Consolation: Ryan Morningstar (Iowa) dec. Schlatter, 4-0
Schlatter eliminated (1-2 record)
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174 No. 8 Gabriel Dretsch, Eighth Seed
First Round: Nathan Lee (Boise State) dec. Dretsch, 3-1 SV1
Consolation: Dretsch dec. Scott Giffin (Penn), 5-3
Consolation: Dretsch maj. dec. Mike Letts (Maryland), 10-2
Consolation: Alex Dolly (Northern Iowa) dec. Dretsch, 10-6
Dretsch eliminated (2-2 record)

184 No. 8 Dress Girl Sandal Beella Madden Women's Patent White t7A6q6Pxw, Eighth Seed
First Round: Kish dec. Josh Edmundson (UT-Chattanooga), 6-3
Second Round: Kish dec. A.J. Kissel (Purdue), 4-0
Quarterfinals: #1 Jake Varner (Iowa State) dec. Kish, 2-0

197 Justin Bronson, Unseeded
Pigtails: Richard Stark (Army) dec. Bronson, 5-2 SV2
Consolation: Jared Villers (West Virginia) maj. dec. Bronson, 12-4
Bronson eliminated (0-2 record)

Hwt Ben Berhow, Unseeded
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First Round: #9 Jermail Porter (Kent State) dec, Berhow, 8-6
Consolation: Berhow dec. Nathan Thobaben (Army), 10-7
Consolation: Dustin Rogers (West Virginia) dec. Berhow, 7-4
B erhow eliminated (1-2 record)

Players Mentioned