With seven placewinners, three finalists and a champion, Minnesota put together its most successful trip to the Southern Scuffle since 2014, finishing fourth as a team with 118 points.
Ethan Lizak provided the high-water mark for the Gophers with a superlative run to the 125-pound title. Lizak earned bonus points in all five of his wins (four major decisions and a tech fall), the last three of which came against top-12 opponents. Lizak’s efforts earned him co-Big Ten Wrestler of the Week recognition.
Also reaching the finals were Brett Pfarr, who fell to defending national champion J’Den Cox (Missouri) at 197 pounds on a last-second takedown, and heavyweight Michael Kroells.
Four additional Gophers stood on the podium last Monday: Nick Wanzek (fourth at 165), Jake Short (fifth at 157), Mitch McKee (sixth at 133) and Tommy Thorn (seventh at 141).
Minnesota’s seven seeded wrestlers were all placewinners, nearly doubling the team’s total from last year when four reached the podium steps. Three of those placewinners were among the same who accomplished the feat last year for Minnesota: Thorn, who finished fifth last year; Pfarr and Kroells.
The seven placewinners were the most for Minnesota since 2014 when the team produced eight.