USA Wrestling

Dec 16 College Wrestling Update for January 25 Minnesota holds onto top ranking by blasting Iowa

By Jason Bryant | Jan. 26, 2006, 1:52 p.m. (ET)
By Jason Bryant
InterMat/NWCA
jbryant@intermatwrestle.com

Minnesota holds on to top ranking by blasting Iowa
On paper, it would appear that Jim Zalesky's Iowa Hawkeyes might pose a threat to the newly-appointed No. 1 team in the land, Minnesota.

With several matches that could swing the momentum the Hawkeyes' way, Minnesota made a bold statement, pounding the Hawkeyes 25-9 at Williams Arena on Sunday.

The loss stung even more when Iowa lost sophomore heavyweight Matt Fields for the season. Fields was trailing in his bout to Cole Konrad when dropping and writhing in pain late in the second period. According to Iowa City Press-Citizen wrestling beat writer Andy Hamilton, Fields tore the anterior cruciate ligament, the medial collateral ligament and sustained a bone bruise in his knee while defending a shot by Konrad.

That was just salt in the wounds as Minnesota's Manuel Rivera, Dustin Schlatter, C.P. Schlatter and Matt Nagel reeled off four straight wins from 141 to 165, giving the Gophers a sizeable advantage.

Dustin Schlatter's win over Ty Eustice vaulted the Minnesota true freshman to No. 1 in the rankings at 149 pounds. In the past two weeks, Schlatter has beaten No. 1 (Eustice), No. 2 (Oklahoma State's Zack Esposito) and then No. 3 Jon Masa (Hofstra).

Cornell upends undermanned Lehigh
In front of nearly 4,500 fans in Ithaca, Cornell won six of 10 matches to beat EIWA rival Lehigh 19-14. Notable absences from the Lehigh lineup included three-time All-American and former National Champion Troy Letters at 165 and Jeff Santo at 133. True freshman Troy Nickerson rebounded from his first loss of the season by blasting another true freshman, Lehigh's Matt Fisk 10-2 at 125.

Other matches between ranked wrestlers saw Cornell winning both, as Dustin Manotti beat Derek Zinck at 157 and Jerry Rinaldi beat Matt Cassidy 3-2 at 197.

Milestones passed, nearing for UPJ
Pat Pecora has long been a reputable coach (regardless of classification), but the head coach of the Division II Mountain Cats picked up his 400th career coaching victory with Pitt-Johnstown's 37-4 pounding of Anderson University (formerly known as Anderson College).

Pecora becomes the 18th coach in wrestling history to eclipse the 400-win plateau. The Mountain Cats are 19-4 in duals this season.

Also, two-time Division II champion Thad Benton will be going for his 100th victory on Wednesday night against Gannon.

Not quite yet
Tuesday night's tri-meet with Newberry College, King College and the University of the Cumberlands was cancelled, denying the University of the Cumberlands (formerly Cumberland College) the chance at the program's 100th lifetime victory.

According to Tuesday's Newberry College release, King College pulled out with much of its team sick, while Newberry reported that the University of the Cumberlands cancelled the trip because the guarantee of only one match.

American keeps climbing
Despite American's 29-21 loss to Nebraska in Lincoln over the weekend, Mark Cody's Eagles are starting to pick it up. Just a year ago, the Eagles were forfeiting several weight classes and found themselves behind by 18-24 points before duals even started.

The forfeits are a thing of the past and three Eagles have legitimate shots at placing at the NCAA Championships this year. Last year, Dan Waters became the school's first All-American, placing eighth at 174 pounds.

This year, Muzaffar Abdurakhmanov, Josh Glenn and Adam LoPiccolo have realistic shots at not only making the event again, but placing. Glenn's fresh off a fall over Nebraska's Vince Jones, the talented true freshman that made his presence known at the National Duals. His only loss this season came to Purdue's Ben Wissell in the semifinals at the Midlands.

Hofstra still dominating Colonial
There's only been one slip over time, a tie, but Hofstra continued its dominance of the Colonial Athletic Association by winning five duals at the CAA Duals this past weekend at George Mason University.

The Pride's unbeaten streak in conference competition dates back to 1998-99 when the Pride were still members of the East Coast Wrestling Association. The Pride joined the CAA for wrestling in 2001-02.

The last loss in conference (either CAA or ECWA) came to Rider 28-10 on February 17, 1999.

Since joining the CAA in 2001 has reached 46. The Pride's five dual wins came over Old Dominion, Drexel, George Mason, Boston University and James Madison.

Hofstra's 8-4-1 on the season.

Coming up
Iowa State heads to Oklahoma for duals with the Sooners and the Oklahoma State Cowboys in a pair of Big 12 matches, Nebraska also heads to Missouri to take on the Tigers. All five teams in the Big 12 are ranked in the Top 15. …

The Pac 10 has a busy week with many of its teams jaunting up and down the Pacific Coast. The highlighted bout of the weekend features Arizona State heading to San Luis Obispo to take on John Azevedo's Cal Poly Mustangs …

A non-qualifying conference tournament also gets underway at Slippery Rock with the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championships. The PSAC is a Division II athletic conference in all of its sports, but in wrestling, many of its members wrestle in the Eastern Wrestling League in Division I. In addition to Pennsylvania's EWL programs, host Slippery Rock, Millersville from the East Region, Shippensburg, East Stroudsburg and Kutztown will also compete. …

Highlighting the Big 10 schedule this weekend is No. 1 Minnesota heading to State College to face No. 10 Penn State.
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