A collection of 10 Gophers are heading east to Akron, Ohio this weekend to compete at University Nationals. All 10 will wrestle freestyle, which begins with preliminaries on Saturday and concludes with championship matches on Sunday.
Two weight classes will be particularly heavy with Minnesota wrestlers. At 70 kilograms, NCAA qualifier Jake Short will be joined by teammates Carson Brolsma and James Berg. Up at 86 kilograms, four Gophers will try to navigate the field: Chris Pfarr, Bobby Steveson, Faris Karaborni and Dalton Lunde. The remaining Gophers – Skyler Petry, Tijani Karaborni and two-time All-American Michael Kroells – won’t see any teammates in their brackets at 57, 80 and 125 kilograms, respectively.
University Nationals will be the first major competition of the summer for many of the Minnesota grapplers competing this weekend. Among those who have seen freestyle action elsewhere this year, Steveson has experienced the most success, with a run to the championship match of the challenge bracket at the recent U.S. World Team Trials.
Petry is the only Gopher returning to University Nationals. In last year’s event, Petry placed eighth wrestling at 57kg, the weight at which he’ll wrestle this weekend. In reaching the podium, Petry won his first three matches by tech fall, outscoring his opponents 33-2, before falling in the quarterfinals. In total, Petry racked up four tech falls on the day.
The event is unique in that its restricted to athletes currently taking college classes and progressing toward a degree. Those who don’t met this requirement are not eligible to compete.
Saturday’s action will start at 8 a.m. Central at the University of Akron’s Stile Athletics Field House, with the opening prelim session running until approximately 1 p.m. The second preliminary session will start at 2 p.m. and conclude that evening. The final rounds of the freestyle competition will begin at 8 a.m. on Sunday.
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