Iowa State upsets top-ranked Gopher grapplers
Iowa State scored a pair of upsets early, then dominated the upper weight classes, knocking off the defending national champion Minnesota wrestlers by an 18-13 margin. The Williams Arena showdown between the top two squads in the country wasn't decided until the heavyweight bought.
It was an afternoon of low-scoring, gritty encounters. There were no pins and only one major decision. In fact not a single back point was scored by either team.
The key matches for the Cyclones came early. After Gopher 125-pounder Jayson Ness pounded out a 10-0 victory to open the proceedings, the squad ran into trouble. Third-ranked Minnesota 133-pounder Mack Reiter gave up a third-period reversal and lost 3-1 to eighth-ranked Nick Fanthorpe.
Manuel Rivera and Dustin Schlatter temporarily righted things for the Gophers with methodical victories. But then C.P. Schlatter ran into Cyler Sanderson. Wearing a Jason-esque face mask, the younger brother of the most dominant collegiate wrestler ever (and now coach of the Cyclones) scored a takedown with one minute left in the match for a 3-2 victory.
Halfway through the contest, the Gophers held a 10-6 lead. But with two of the team's big guns going down, its prospects were not looking good.
In the most highly anticipated matchup of the afternoon top-ranked Iowa State 184-pounder Jake Varner faced off against second ranked Gopher Roger Kish. The rivals had split four previous encounters. Kish nearly secured a takedown in the dying seconds of the first period. But then Varner succeeded in taking his opponent to the mat in the second round, sufficient for a 3-0 victory.
Minnesota was down just two points heading into the heavyweight bout. Redshirt freshman Ben Berhow, trying to fill the large shoes of King Cole Konrad, had the chance to be a hero. The unranked Hayward product certainly gave it a game effort, repeatedly shooting in on David Zabriskie much to the delight of the 4,000-plus crowd at The Barn. But the fifth-ranked Cyclone punished Berhow for his aggression, scoring three defensive takedowns and a 7-2 victory.
The Gophers might get a shot at revenge quite quickly. The squads could face off again at the National Duals in mid-January.