Main event: No. 1 Gophers in town

first_imgThe Wisconsin wrestling team is having one of its best seasons ever and is staring down the No. 1 ranking this weekend. No, the Badgers aren’t the top team, but they get a chance to beat it. Wisconsin will grapple No. 1 Minnesota Friday at the Field House before wrapping up the regular season Sunday against No. 22 Indiana.”Minnesota is no doubt the best team in the nation,” UW head coach Barry Davis said. “They deserve the No. 1 ranking more than anyone.”Feeling a little envious of the Gophers’ position, Davis added, “They are who we want to be. This match is a great chance for us to see where we are at right now.”Minnesota comes into the match with all 10 of its wrestlers ranked individually; 149-pound sophomore Dustin Schlatter and heavyweight senior Cole Konrad, who won individual national championships last season, are ranked No. 1 at their respective weights.Konrad, a native of Freedom, Wis., is currently on a 65-match win streak, dating back to his sophomore year. Normally the challenge to contend with this seemingly unbeatable foe would go to Badger Kyle Massey, but Davis decided otherwise.”After thinking about it, I’m going to save Massey for Sunday,” Davis said.His replacement will likely be redshirt freshman Jordan Hein. In fact, normal starters Collin Cudd (125 pounds) and Trevor Brandvold (184 pounds) won’t be wrestling Friday either. Both Cudd and Brandvold are working on some injuries and Davis wants to hold them out until Sunday as well.Either sophomore Kyle Reeve or redshirt freshman Drew Hammen will wrestle for Cudd and sophomore Justin Peterson will replace Brandvold.The positive side to Cudd’s and Brandvold’s injuries, Davis said, is that it will give the younger guys the chance to wrestle some top-caliber competition.Although not on the match streak of his teammate Konrad, Schlatter is undefeated as well. The sophomore, however, will have his hands full with senior tri-captain Tyler Turner.”It’s going to be a touch match all around,” Turner said. “[Schlatter] is a great wrestler, obviously his record shows it. I just have to go into the match with the right mentality and the right confidence.”If wrestling against the defending national champion isn’t enough to think about, Turner has to turn around and prepare for Sunday’s match against Indiana, which will be his last home meet for the cardinal and white. Turner is the lone senior on the team, and Sunday’s Senior Day will be special.”My mom is probably going to lose it Sunday,” Turner said.The youngest of four, Turner said his parents will know what to expect after watching his three older brothers. Still, he said, they’ve been driving down for every match for the last 10 years.”Sunday will be hard for him,” Davis said. “With his three brothers having gone through and now him the last to go through … it’s going to be emotional.”Looking ahead to Sunday’s dual, Indiana comes into the match 12-4 overall and 3-3 in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers looked impressive last weekend, sweeping the Wolverines of Michigan and Wildcats of Northwestern. The latter team handed Wisconsin its first Big Ten dual loss of the season.”Indiana’s going to be tough,” Davis said. “This is the weekend to see where we stand and to prepare us for the Big Ten tournament. After Sunday, we’ve got two weeks to look at film and fix some things before we head off, and I think this is a great weekend to help us in our preparation.”last_img

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