Championship Recap: Future Gophers

Eight incoming Gopher recruits competed in four different state tournaments in recent weeks, collectively winning five state titles

As the Gopher Wrestling team prepares for the NCAA Championships later this week (March 19-21), the incoming group of Gopher recruits have been wrapping up their high school careers in several states around the country.

Minnesota GophersFive of the eight young men who will step into the Gopher wrestling room next fall are from Minnesota, which completed its state tournament at the end of February. Two future Gophers – Bobby Steveson of Apple Valley and Ben Brancale of Eden Prairie – claimed state titles at 195 and 138, respectively.

For Steveson, it was his third trip to the top of the podium at state, a place he earned with four victories in the individual tournament, including two technical falls and a pin. Steveson’s team also won the state’s team championship.

Brancale’s title was the first of his career after previously placing third and second in the state tournament. He matched Steveson’s 4-0 record, advancing to the championship match with a pin in the semifinals.

James Berg of New Prague took third at 138 after a runner-up finish as a junior. During his 5-1 run through the tournament bracket, he avenged his only defeated (a four-overtime loss in the quarterfinals) by beating that same opponent in the third-place match. Rylee Streifel of Prior Lake placed fifth at 220, pinning his opponent in two of his three victories. Carson Brolsma of Osseo did not place at 152 this season after suffering an injury during the event. He placed second last year.

Beyond Minnesota’s border, three additional recruits all won state championships for at least the second time in their respective careers.

Fredy Stroker of Bettendorf won the Iowa state championship at 145. One of Stroker’s four victories in the tournament came by major decision, the other three by fall, including a pin in less than a minute in the championship match. This year’s title was the third career state championship for Stroker.

In Montana, Gresh Jones of Sidney also pinned his championship-match opponent in less than a minute, ending the final match of his high school career with a fall at 54 seconds to win the 126 title. Jones’ championship was the fourth of his high school career.

Finally, Dalton Clark, who attends Providence Grove High School in North Carolina, claimed his second straight state title when he piled up two pins, a major decision and a technical fall to win the 152 crown in mid-February, capping a 57-1 season.

Whether you are looking for information about the next crop of Gophers or the latest news on those who already wear the Maroon and Gold, we’ve got you covered. To stay up-to-date on everything happening around the program, check out GopherSports.com regularly and be sure to follow Gopher Wrestling on Facebook and Twitter.

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