No. 3 Minnesota Shuts Out Northern Colorado Wrestlers 45-0
Dec. 1, 2006
GREELEY, Colo - A raucous crowd piled into the Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion Friday night to watch the Northern Colorado wrestling team host the powerhouse University of Minnesota program, hoping to witness an upset of historic proportions.
In the end, the Golden Gophers proved worthy of their No. 3 national ranking, taking every match en route to a 45-0 victory in the Bears' first dual meet of the season.
Despite the outcome, Northern Colorado head coach Jack Maughan was exicted about the evening.
"First of all, it was a great event," said Maughan. "It was a great way to start our first year being Division I eligible."
Several Northern Colorado grapplers were extremely competitive, with Kyle Kaiser (133) taking a lead into the third period in his match against Mike Thorn. Down 4-5, Thorn got a takedown on Kaiser with :46 remaining to salvage the 6-5 win.
Kenny Hashimoto (141) proved he was up the challenge of facing No. 6 Manuel Rivera, taking a 4-5 lead on a reversal midway through the second period. Rivera matched the score, and eventually scored a takedown in the final period to secure an 8-6 win.
Luke Salazar (156) had the closest match of the evening, tying Tyler Safratowich at 4-4 a minute into the third period, and almost scoring a crucial takedown late that might've locked up a win. He ended up dropping a 7-6 decision decided on the running time.
In what was expected to be the marquee match of the evening, Minnesota's top-ranked heavyweight Cole Konrad matched up with Northern Colorado's lone ranked wrestler, No. 15 Reece Hopkin.
Hopkin scored an early takedown, igniting the crowd. Hopkin rode Konrad for a minute, until the defending national champion got a point for an escape. Then with under a minute remaining, Konrad got over Hopkin and proceeded to press him to the mat, scoring the match-ending pin with five second remaining.
Maughan said he hopes his team came away with invaluable experience from the evening.
"You have to be in the fight and get experience, so you can perform better next time. And "I think they're going to be able to handle it better. You have to experience it to get better."