Gophers compete in Junior World Team Trials

Four Gopher wrestlers competed at the United World Wrestling Junior Freestyle World Team Trials in Irving, Texas over the weekend, each looking to earn a spot on the junior national team which will compete in the Junior World Championships later this summer. With only one spot available on Team USA at each weight, the competition was fierce.

Mitch McKee and Rylee Streifel led the way for Minnesota, each earning berths in the championship series by virtue of winning junior national titles earlier this spring.

Minnesota GophersStreifel, wrestling at 120kg on Saturday, fell to Jordan Wood in a two-match sweep. As a result, Streifel took second in the event.

McKee, fresh off his victory at Beat the Streets on Thursday, competed on Sunday at 60kg. He dropped a heartbreaking 2-1 series to Seth Gross, a set that wrapped with Gross hitting a late throw in the deciding match to come from behind and knock off McKee.

Bobby Steveson and Larry Early III also wrestled in Texas. Both needed to navigate a challenge tournament bracket in order to earn a spot in the best-of-three finals.

After a first-period pin put him into the 74kg quarterfinals, a loss sent Early to wrestlebacks. On the bracket’s backside, Early picked up a second victory on the day with a 10-0 tech fall before being eliminated from the field with a 2-2 record.

At 84kg, Steveson was given an opening round bye before a pair of victories by a combined score of 12-2 propelled him to the challenge tournament championship match, where he fell one match shy of the final series. A loss in the true-third match placed Steveson fourth in the event.

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