Gophers Fall to Top-Ranked Cowboys
Narrow defeats to higher-ranked opponents marked much of the Gophers’ 34-3 loss to No. 1 Oklahoma State on Sunday afternoon in a dual where five of the first seven matches were decided by two points or fewer.
The Gophers had their first chances to score upsets immediately with the dual’s opening bouts, both of which featured Minnesota wrestlers in their first career duals. Redshirt freshman Fredy Stroker took the mat first after the teams drew weights and began the afternoon at 149 pounds. Against No. 3 Anthony Collica, Stroker was able to match the three-time Big 12 champ with a pair of takedowns, but two escapes for Collica were the difference in a 6-4 win for the visitors. Carson Brolsma then stepped in at 157 to take on Jonce Blaylock. Like his teammate had in the previous match, Brolsma stretched his opponent throughout the seven minutes but fell just short, 5-4, when he was unable to escape Blaylock in the bout’s final seconds.
“[Oklahoma State] is a great team. We knew that coming into it, but the guys are disappointed. They wanted to wrestle better,” said head coach Brandon Eggum. “We knew there was going to be some strong match-ups and we need to capitalize on those opportunities. … We were pleased with a few of the guys’ efforts, even though we would have liked to win some of those matches. We need to continue to make adjustments. When you get opportunities to compete against some of the top teams in the country, which we will in the Big Ten conference, you got to take advantage of it.”
After a fall at 165 doubled the OK State lead to 12-0, another pair of narrow decisions against the Gophers kept Minnesota behind on the scoreboard. No. 14 Nick Wanzek, fresh off a top-15 upset win last Saturday against South Dakota State, gave No. 4 Kyle Crutchmer a stout challenge but ultimately fell one takedown short in a 7-5 loss at 174. To close out the first half, Bobby Steveson had the opportunity to avenge a 12-5 loss to No. 5 Nolan Boyd at last year’s Southern Scuffle and looked significantly improved, dropping the match 2-1 on the riding time point, which was decided by just 14 seconds.
Pfarr earned a victory for the Gophers coming out of the locker room in the second half, putting together his second straight dominant decision over a highly ranked opponent. After shutting out No. 5 Nate Rotert last weekend, Pfarr bested No. 6 Preston Weigel, 7-2, on Sunday. Pfarr did not allow a takedown in either of those matches.
In an upset at heavyweight, Austin Schafer evened his career series with No. 5 Michael Kroells with a 3-2 victory. Turning over to the lower-weights for the final three matches, the Cowboys earned bonus points with a tech fall at 125 pounds and major decisions at both 133 and 141.
Now 1-1 this season, Minnesota will take a brief break from its dual schedule to compete in the prestigious Cliff Keen Invitational this Friday and Saturday (Dec. 2 and 3) in Las Vegas. The team will not return to the Pavilion again this calendar year, with its next home dual scheduled against Penn State on Jan. 6. Tickets for that match are currently available at MyGopherSports.com.
#1 Oklahoma State 34 #16 Minnesota 3
149 #3 Anthony Collica (Oklahoma State) dec. Fredy Stroker (Minnesota) 6-4
157 Jonce Blaylock (Oklahoma State) dec. Carson Brolsma (Minnesota) 5-4
165 #4 Chandler Rogers (Oklahoma State) fall Brandon Kingsley (Minnesota) 1:24
174 #4 Kyle Crutchmer (Oklahoma State) dec. #14 Nick Wanzek (Minnesota) 7-5
184 #5 Nolan Boyd (Oklahoma State) dec. Bobby Steveson (Minnesota) 2-1
197 #2 Brett Pfarr (Minnesota) dec. #6 Preston Weigel (Oklahoma State) 7-2
Hwt Austin Schafer (Oklahoma State) dec. #5 Michael Kroells (Minnesota) 3-2
125 #10 Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State) tech fall Skyler Petry (Minnesota) 17-1
133 #6 Kaid Brock (Oklahoma State) maj. dec. Mitch McKee (Minnesota) 10-2
141 #1 Dean Heil (Oklahoma State) maj. dec. Gannon Volk (Minnesota) 12-3