It takes a special kind of dominance to safely rest three starters in a matchup against a top-20 team.
No. 1 Minnesota did just that against No. 17 Iowa State over the weekend.
And the Gophers still cruised to a 27-12 win over the Cyclones to move their record to 14-1 this season.
“We’re the best dual-meet team in the country,” head assistant coach Brandon Eggum said. “There isn’t anybody out there who can match our intensity up and down the lineup.”
The dual Sunday started in favor of the Cyclones when 125-pounder Earl Hall pinned Sam Brancale in the third period.
Minnesota responded as No. 7 133-pounder David Thorn answered with a pin of his own. That leveled the score at 6-6.
Thorn said he wasn’t focusing on a pin going in, though.
“I just knew I had to go score as many points as possible,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking pin — that just kind of happened.”
After that, back-to-back major decisions at 141 and 149 pounds and a minor decision at 157 pounds gave the Gophers a lead they never relinquished.
While most of the lower weights handled their business, Eggum praised Thorn’s pin in particular, calling it a game-changer.
“[That pin] helped shift the momentum back in our favor after Brancale’s loss,” he said. “And Thorn is an aggressive wrestler who believes he can pick up a major victory over anybody in his weight class.”
The Gophers kept the momentum rolling at 174 pounds as No. 6 Logan Storley defeated No. 11 Tanner Weatherman.
Eggum said Storley showed good versatility on the mat.
“He works hard and is great in every position on the mat,” Eggum said.
Storley said he strives to be good in every position.
“At one point [in the match], there was a scramble, and I was able to catch him on his back and get a five-point move out of it,” he said. “I try to be great in every position on the mat for situations like those.”
Still, the Gophers weren’t perfect Sunday afternoon.
No. 5 197-pounder Scott Schiller lost his second match in as many weeks after starting the season 24-0. His loss came at the hands of top-ranked Kyven Gadson, whom Schiller had defeated twice earlier in the season.
Eggum said he isn’t too concerned about Schiller moving forward, though.
“He just needed to be a little more patient in a few situations,” Eggum said. “He rushed some things and got out of position.
“When he’s wrestling well, I don’t think there’s a guy in the country that can take him down.”
This was the Gophers’ last dual meet of the season. They will be off next weekend before traveling to Madison, Wis., for the Big Ten meet March 8-9.
“At this point, it’s all about building up momentum towards the Big Tens and the NCAAs,” Eggum said. “We’re healthy, we’re rested and we’ll be ready.”