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Although the wrestling season is one of the longest in collegiate sports, the Minnesota Golden Gophers wrestling team, after three strong November performances, has become an early national championship contender.
Minnesota entered the season ranked third overall with the daunting task of facing no. 5 Cornell followed by Penn State, the reigning champions. After being upset by Cornell, the Golden Gophers jumped out to an early 14-3 lead against the Nittany Lions. Wins by Penn State's David Taylor and Ed Ruth evened the score at 14-14; but in the biggest upset of the night, Minnesota's sixth-ranked Kevin Steinhaus earned a 6-1 decision over reigning national champion Quentin Wright to reverse the momentum and lead his team to a 23-14 victory.
Last night, the Golden Gophers earned their second consecutive victory with an easy 29-9 victory over North Dakota State; and next week, Minnesota faces Central Michigan before taking on second-ranked Oklahoma State on Dec. 4, in perhaps their biggest challenge of the season.