The Gophers are in a New York state of mind this weekend. While a half-dozen alums competed in the Bill Farrell Open in New York City, the current collegiate roster is in Troy, N.Y., for Sunday’s Journeymen/Asics Collegiate Classic, and event that replaces what was previously the Northeast Duals.
Under the new format, the annual November competition will place individual wrestlers in round-robin tournaments, rather than pitting teams against each other in a series of dual matches. The new format opened up opportunities for teams to enter multiple wrestlers at each weight – something Minnesota has done at 133, 157, 184 and 285 pounds – and guarantees each participating wrestler three matches.
The tournament field includes six teams ranked in the top 25: Minnesota, Ohio State, Arizona State, N.C. State, Lehigh and Oklahoma. Other notable squads include West Virginia, North Carolina and Wisconsin.
The Gophers brought 13 wrestlers to central New York for the new-look Collegiate Classic. Each wrestler in three-man pools will have two scheduled matches as part of a round-robin, followed by one cross-pool contest within his group. Those in four-man pools will wrestle a simple round-robin within the pool.
Two Gophers will wrestle at 133, Mitch McKee and Sam Brancale. McKee will wrestle in the 133-B group, Pool A, against Zach Valcarce (Rider) and Robbie Rizzolino (N.C. State). Brancale, wrestling out of 133-C group, Pool B, will take on Lewis Williams (Lock Haven) and Andy Szalwinski (Citadel).
Gannon Volk will be in the 141-D group, where he will challenge Jason Estevez (Buffalo), Da’Mani Burns (Cortland) and DJ Fehlman (Lock Haven).
At 149, Fredy Stroker is slated for 149-B group, Pool A, where he will take on Josh Maruca (Arizona State) and Ty Buckiso (Citadel).
A pair of 157-pounders will take the mat for Minnesota, with No. 9 Jake Short in 157-A group, Pool A and Carson Brolsma in 157-B group. Short will wrestle Joey Moon (North Carolina) and Jordan Kutler (Lehigh). Brolsma draws Rylan Lubeck (Wisconsin), Josh Shields (Arizona State) and No. 19 Aaron Walker (Citadel).
No. 17 Nick Wanzek finds himself in 174-A group, Pool A, where he will pair up with No. 8 Ethan Ramos (North Carolina) and Tyler Wood (Lock Haven).
Bobby Steveson will wrestle in the 184-B group, Pool A, against Brett Perry (Buffalo) and Kyle Gentile (Lehigh). Chris Pfarr will also compete on Sunday, wrestling in the 184-D group against Deuly Espinal (Cortland), Jake Ashcraft (Ithaca) and Martin Duane (Citadel).
In what will be his season debut after an exhibition victory in last Saturday’s NWCA All-Star Classic, No. 2 Brett Pfarr is in 197-A group, Pool A, where he will take on Daniel Chaid (North Carolina) and Sawyer Root (Citadel).
Finally, at heavyweight, No. 9 Michael Kroells is in HWT-A group, Pool A, with No. 2 Connor Medbery (Wisconsin) and Rex Shotts (Oklahoma). Rylee Streifel will wrestle in HWT-B group, Pool B, with No. 7 Ross Larson (Oklahoma) and Cory Daniel (North Carolina).
Due to an injury to Brandon Kingsley at last weekend’s Daktronics Open, the Gophers will not have a competitor wrestling at 165 this weekend.
Action gets underway from the Hudson Valley Community College at 8:45 a.m. Central time on Sunday morning. Fans can stream all the day’s matches live on Flowrestling.org (streaming requires a FloPRO subscription) or track updates on all Gopher wrestlers throughout the day by following Gopher Wrestling on Twitter (@GopherWrestling).