Gophers welcome five newcomers this season

Five young men will step into the Gopher Wrestling room later this fall for the first time as members of the University of Minnesota wrestling program. That quintet — fall signees Mitch McKee and Hunter Marko along with spring additions Dylan Anderson, Jose Champagne and Tyler Schneider — all bring well-decorated resumes with them to the U of M.

Minnesota GophersAnderson joins the Gophers after a successful career at Hudson (Wis.) High School. During his prep career, Anderson became the first wrestler in Hudson program history to finish top-three at the state tournament multiple times. In each of his final two seasons wrestling at Hudson, he finished the regular season undefeated. He is a former cadet state champ in both Greco and freestyle (titles won in 2014 at 170 pounds) and a repeat top-three finisher in junior Greco and freestyle, winning the state title in Greco in 2015 at 182. Most recently, Anderson turned in a 5-2 performance wrestling freestyle at Fargo earlier this summer.

Champagne finished his high school career with Marian Catholic (Ill.) High School with a state title as a senior, the cap on a 55-3 season during which he recorded 27 pins and 14 tech falls. Champagne had previously finished fourth at state as a sophomore and third as a junior. In all three of those seasons, Champagne primarily wrestled at 152 pounds. He won junior state titles in both Greco and freestyle at 152 in 2014, and swept the cadet state titles in Greco, freestyle and folkstyle in 2012. In addition, he is a two-time USA Wrestling All-American at the cadet level thanks to performances in 2012 and 2013.

Schneider will join the Gophers as a transfer from Division III Wisconsin-La Crosse. In three seasons wrestling for UWL, Schneider compiled an 81-18 overall record. He wrestled at 165 pounds his freshman and sophomore seasons, earning First Team All-WIAC recognition both years and winning the WIAC championship as a sophomore. That season, he was a national finalist as the Division III tournament, finishing as the runner-up. Last season, he bumped up to 174 pounds and added a second All-America medal to his collection by placing fourth at the NCAA tournament. Schneider is a physics and electrical engineering major who will have to sit out the fall semester of the upcoming season in accordance with NCAA rules. He is originally from Mokena, Ill.

McKee joins the Gophers fresh off a summer that included a UWW junior national freestyle title, plus a Greco national title and a third-place finish at Fargo juniors. He has been in plenty of national championship bouts the past two seasons, with a 126-pound title from Fargo in 2014 and a USA Wrestling folkstyle national title at 132 in 2015. He was a Fargo 132-pound finalist in freestyle in 2015, and also finished runner-up at UWW junior nationals. McKee’s high school resume at St. Michael-Albertville (Minn.) includes four appearances in the Minnesota state finals. He was two-time runner-up at 106 pounds before winning state titles at 120 and 126 the past two seasons, respectively.

Marko, from Amery (Wis.) High School, is a four-time Wisconsin state champ, winning the 2013 title at 106 pounds, then adding titles at 113, 126 and 138. He capped his prep career with a perfect 39-0 senior season. On the national scene, Marko has earned All-America honors three times at junior nationals in Fargo, including a freestyle national title at 106 pounds in 2013. Marko has also reached the finals of USA Wrestling’s Folkstyle National tournament twice, in 2013 and then again last year. At the cadet level, he was a double national champ in Fargo in both freestyle and Greco in 2012.

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