The Golden Gophers add seven student-athletes for the 2014-15 season.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The No. 2 University of Minnesota Golden Gopher wrestling team has announced that Will Balow, Jack Bass, Ethan Lizak, Skyler Petry, Stephen Polakowski, Nathan Rose and Thomas Thorn have signed National Letters of Intent and will join the Maroon and Gold for the 2014-15 season.
“We think we are getting some great new Gophers,” said Head Coach J Robinson. “All have the character and skills that have made Gopher Wrestling great in the past. This group has the desire and work ethic that has been the backbone of our program for years and we are looking forward to the future.”
Hailing from Lake City, Minn., Balow has shown that he has what it takes to wrestle at the collegiate level with three state appearances and two placements, including being named the 182-pound Class A Champion as a junior last season. In 2013, Balow placed 7th at the USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals. Due to an injury sustained this fall while playing, Balow is likely to sit out his senior wrestling season at Lake City High School before heading to the University of Minnesota.
Bass, a Clifton, Virginia native, will join the Gophers from Robinson Secondary School. Bass is a three-time state runner up, two in Virginia (125 in 2011 and 152 in 2013) and one in Texas (138 in 2012). Bass has been a staple in the success of the Robinson wrestling program. Other than his success with his high school wrestling teams, Bass has also accomplished feats of his own. He was the FILA Cadet National Champion in 2012 and was named to the 2012 FILA Cadet World Team where he traveled to Baku, Azerbaijan and placed 11th in his weight class. He is currently ranked 13th by Flowrestling in his weight class going into his senior season.
Parkland High School senior and Schnecksville, Penn. Native, Lizak, will join the Gophers after his senior season. Lizak, a two-time PIAA state champion who only started freestyle wrestling his freshman year of high school is projected to wrestle at 125-pounds for the Maroon and Gold. He traveled to his first international competition in Sofia, Bulgaria to represent the United States in the FILA Junior World Championships this past summer after dominating the 110-pound freestyle field during the trials in Stillwater, Okla.
Petry, a Waterville, Minn. native and Waterville-Elysian-Morristown/Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton senior, will join the hometown team. Petry is a three-time state place winner as well as the Junior Greco-Roman National Championships runner up in the 113-pound weight class which was held in Fargo, North Dakota in July.
Libertyville High School senior and Libertyville, Ill. native, Polakowski will join the Gophers after being named the 2013 WSAW/Cliff Keen Preseason National Champion in the 126-pound weight class. Polakowski was also the 2013 IHSA Class 3A Barrington Individual Sectional Wrestling Champion at 120. In 2013, he had a record of 40-5 and Libertyville finished with a 20-2 overall record. He qualified for the state tournament in 2012 and 2013. He also was the sectional champion in 2012 at 103.
Rose, an Arlington, Minn. native and Sibley East High School senior, is a two-time state champion as well as a High School National Champion. He is a three-time state entrant (freshman season at 189-pounds and two seasons at 195-pounds). Rose is a two-time NHSCA Nationals Folkstyle Champion and is ranked 53rd overall recruit in the nation by InterMat. He goes into his senior season at Sibley East boasting a 176-27 high school record.
St. Michael-Albertville High School senior and St. Michael, Minn. native, Thorn, will follow in the footsteps of his two brothers, David and Mike Thorn, who were All-Americans at Minnesota by joining the Gophers in 2014. Thorn is a three-time state champion (103, 113 and 120). Beyond the high school mat, Thorn has also a Junior Freestyle National Championship under his belt and was a two-time member of the FILA Cadet World Team.