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Minnesota's NCAA Tournament History

The Golden Gopher wrestling team was unable to hold onto its opening day lead at the 2008 Big Ten Championships at Williams Arena, relinquishing the Big Ten team title to the Iowa Hawkeyes 127 – 112.5. Minnesota did qualify nine wrestlers for the the 2008 NCAA Championships in two weeks, but saw its four finalists come up short their championship matches.

Jayson Ness, Manuel Rivera, Dustin Schlatter and Gabe Dretsch all finished in second place after losing during the March 9 championship round. Minnesota’s Mack Reiter (fourth), C.P. Schlatter (sixth), Roger Kish (sixth), Justin Bronson (seventh) and Ben Berhow (sixth) will also make the trip to St. Louis March 20-22.

The disappointing final day performance came on the heels of an excellent Saturday effort by the former two-time defending conference champions. The Gophers held a 106-93.5 lead over Iowa after two sessions, but were also hurt by losing Kish and C.P. Schlatter to injuries during their semifinal matches.

The top-ranked University of Minnesota wrestling team won its third NCAA Championship since 2001 on March 17, 2007 at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Mich. The Golden Gophers clinched the team race following back-to-back losses by Iowa State wrestlers in the 184- and 197-pound title matches. In the final bout of the tournament, heavyweight Cole Konrad concluded his stellar collegiate career with a pin of Penn State's Aaron Anspach in the finals. Konrad became the fourth two-time national champion in school history. Minnesota finished with 98.0 points, while Iowa State finished second with 88.5.

During the morning medal round, Kish and Dustin Schlatter earned third place at 184 and 149 pounds, respectively. Jayson Ness claimed fifth place at 125 pounds with his third pin of the tournament. C.P. Schlatter finished his first All-American season with a sixth-place finish at 157 pounds.

Head Coach J Robinson has built Minnesota into a powerhouse in the world of collegiate wrestling during his tenure in Gold Country. In his 21 full seasons, Robinson has led the Golden Gophers to a top-10 finish at the NCAA Championships 15 times, including each of the past 11 seasons. Minnesota has won three national titles in the last seven seasons, including the 2007 championship and back-to-back titles in 2001 and ’02, and also has four runner-up finishes since 1997.
Under Robinson, the Maroon and Gold have earned 85 All-America honors, including a school-record 10 All-Americans in 2001. In 2006, Dustin Schlatter and Cole Konrad became the seventh and eighth Golden Gophers under Robinson to win an NCAA individual title, with Konrad winning again last year. Other national champions during the Robinson era include: Damian Hahn in 2003 and ’04, Jared Lawrence and Luke Becker in 2002, Brock Lesnar in 2000, Tim Hartung in 1998 and ’99 and Marty Morgan in 1991.

Minnesota will have five returning All-Americans competing in this week’s NCAA Championships. Jayson Ness and C.P. Schlatter picked up their first career All-American awards last season at 125 and 157 pounds, respectively, while Dustin Schlatter (149) and Roger Kish (184) also finished in the top eight nationally a year ago. Mack Reiter earned All-America status as a freshman in 2005 and sophomore in 2006, taking fourth both instances.

Minnesota, Oklahoma State and Iowa have combined to win the last 19 NCAA Championships. The Golden Gophers (2007, ‘01-02) and Cowboys (2003-06) have won the last seven titles. The last team outside of those three to win a national title was Arizona State in 1988.

Since snapping Iowa’s run of 25 consecutive conference titles at the 1999 Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor, Mich., the Golden Gophers have claimed six of the last 10 Big Ten Conference crowns to overtake the Hawkeyes as the class of the conference.
After their runner-up finish at the 2008 Big Ten Championships, Minnesota has finished either first or second at the Big Ten Championships 10 straight seasons and has placed in the top three each of the past 12 years.