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Gopher Wrestling Team Gearing Up to Host Top-Ranked Oklahoma State



Two of the most storied programs in college wrestling will face off on Wednesday, Dec. 6 as the third-ranked Golden Gophers host No. 1 Oklahoma State at 7 p.m., at the Sports Pavilion.

Minnesota began the year as the top-ranked team in the nation, but a season-opening loss to No. 11 Hofstra knocked the Gophers out of the top spot. The Maroon and Gold will look to regain the No. 1 ranking by beating the defending national champion Cowboys.

The Gophers return eight starters and seven NCAA qualifiers from a team that finished second to Oklahoma State at last year's national meet. Minnesota is led by defending national champions Dustin Schlatter (149) and Cole Konrad (Hwt).

The Cowboys lose a lot of firepower, with the graduation of three All-Americans and five NCAA qualifiers from last year's national championship team. OSU does return three other All-Americans, including two-time defending national champion Johny Hendricks (165).

Minnesota's 21-14 victory over Oklahoma State in the championship match at the 2006 National Duals ended a streak of 30 consecutive victories for the Cowboys. The Gophers also defeated OSU, 19-16, in a dual meet in Stillwater, Okla., on Feb. 12. However, after the Gophers ended the regular season as the top-ranked team in the nation, OSU got the upper hand at the NCAA Championships by claiming its fourth straight national title.

For tickets to Wednesday's match, call 1-800-UGOPHER.

FSN North will air the meet on tape delay on Monday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. Highlights will be available on Gophersports.com following the match. The meet will be available in its entirety in the Gold Zone, the premium content site for Golden Gopher athletics, no earlier than 24 hours after the FSN broadcast on Dec. 11.

Home Sweet Home

Wednesday's match will be Minnesota's 2006-07 home opener. Since 1998, Minnesota holds a 48-13-0 (.787) record at home. The Golden Gophers have called the Sports Pavilion, Williams Arena, Target Center, the Xcel Energy Center, Rochester, Minn., and Jackson, Minn., home during that span.

The Golden Gophers finished the 2005-06 season unbeaten at home (8-0) for the fifth time during J Robinson's tenure. The last time Minnesota finished perfect in its home schedule was in 2001-02 (8-0). The Golden Gophers were also perfect in 1998-99 (4-0) and 1993-94 (8-0).

A Thorn In The Side

Not many teams other than Minnesota can boast a lot of success against Oklahoma State in recent years. Since the 1999-2000 season, the Cowboys have compiled a 123-13-1 dual meet record (Minnesota is 118-25). During that span, the Golden Gophers have gone 7-3 against Oklahoma State, including handing OSU its last three dual meet defeats. Here are the 13 Cowboy losses in the last seven seasons:

Tough to Defend

Since 1998, neither Minnesota nor Oklahoma State has been successful in defending its home arena when facing each other. The last time either team was able to defend its home arena when the other was in town was a 26-10 OSU victory in Stillwater on Jan. 31, 1997. The last time the Gophers defeated the Cowboys at home was a 23-16 victory on Feb. 5, 1994. The Gophers will try to reverse that trend on Wednesday night.

U.S. Navy SEALs and Minnesota Wrestling to Launch Unique Event

In conjunction with Minnesota's wrestling match Oklahoma State, the U.S. Navy SEALs will be holding a unique event with an overriding goal of promoting physical fitness. The Navy SEALs will conduct a Trident Challenge on Sunday, Dec. 10 from 12 p.m.-5 p.m., at the University Aquatic Center and Field House.

The Trident Challenge is an athletic competition consisting of running, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups and a swim. The Navy SEALs have the military's most successful physical training program, and it's a training program they want to introduce nationally to coaches as an athletic standard of excellence. While only men can be Navy SEALs, the Trident Challenge is open to everyone, not just those interested in joining the military. The competition is an opportunity for civilian to put themselves to the test and see how they stack up against the Navy's best.

Representatives from the Navy SEALs will be at the Minnesota-Oklahoma State wrestling match on Dec. 6 to answer questions and kick off the event.
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