In an attempt to follow in GopherNation's footsteps to get more nugs up, here is an update on several Gopher sports stories, and awards that have been handed out to Gopher athletes this week!
- The Gopher Wrestling Team is now ranked #1 in the country in the latest USA Today/NWCA poll. The team they defeated last Sunday 18-17 to share the Big Ten Duel Meet Championship, Penn State is now #2. The Gophers are the #1 seed in Columbus this weekend for the NWCA National Duels Tournament. The Gophers have a first round bye, and will face the winner of Chattanooga and North Dakota State in the quarterfinals Sunday night.
- Gopher redshirt Junior Dylan Ness had the big pin that gave the Gophers enough points to defeat Penn State on Sunday. For his efforts he was named both the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week and the USA Wrestling Athlete of the Week!
- To bounce off of GopherNation's Gopher Baseball Preview he published earlier in the week, the Big Ten named its list of 2014 Players to watch. Three Gophers were named: Senior Starting Pitcher Alec Crawford, Senior Catcher Matt Halloran, and Junior Starting Pitcher Ben Meyer. The conference coaches also voted their top six teams in the Pre-season poll, and the Gophers were not included in the top six. Indiana was the unanimous #1 selection followed by Nebraska, Ohio State, Michigan State, and atie for fifth between Michigan and Illinois.
- The Gopher softball team, off to a great 5-0 start was rewarded with entry into both of the national polls this week. The Gophers are ranked #22 in the USA Today/NFCA poll and #24 in the ESPN/USA Softball Poll. Sarah Moulton, the Gophers starting pitcher was named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week for her performance.
- I'm sure Dark516Knight will have more on this in his hockey preview this week, but the only Gopher Hockey player to have his number retired, John Mayasich, will be honored this Friday night before the Gophers and Michigan game. Mayasich will drop a ceremonial puck before the start of the game. From the Gophersports.com story linked above:
"The salute to Mayasich is part of Minnesota's Olympic celebration, honoring the university's long-standing history at the Winter Games including six Gopher Hockey alums in Sochi this year (the University of Minnesota has a total of 14 representatives at this year's competition). Mayasich's eight U.S. national team appearances are a U.S. record while the forward earned an Olympic silver medal in 1956 and a gold medal in 1960.
- As you should be aware by now, the University of Minnesota has several players playing on the US Olympic Women's Hockey team. The USA team finished pool play with a 2-1 record after losing to Canada 3-2 this morning. (If this is a spoiler, sorry but it was on live this AM so too bad). Former Gopher Anne Schleper had a goal and an assist for the US squad this morning. She also had another assist on one of the earlier games to give her three points for the tournament so far. Amanda Kessel has two goals and two assists for four points, Megan Bozek has two assists for two points, Lee Stecklein has one assist, and Gigi Marvin has so far been kept off of the score sheet. The US has a bye into the semi-finals where they may once again see the Finish team lead in goal by former Gopher Nora Raty. The US squad beat Finland 3-1 earlier in pool play.
- The US Men's Hockey team gets their tournament started tomorrow morning at 6:30 AM against Slovakia. Former Gophers on that squad include defenseman Paul Martin, and forwards Phil Kessel and Blake Wheeler. Former Gopher Thomas Vanek is also playing for Austria.
- Lastly, Raise the Barn Episode 5 came out as well and is about the emergence of Elliot Eliason and Mo Walker as two of the better big men in the Big Ten. Watch it Below: