By many measures, the Gophers outperformed expectations this year with their seventh-place performance at the NCAA Championships. The team was ranked on the edge of the top 10 in most major tournament rankings throughout the season and had not finished as high as seventh since the 2014 season. While a strong three days in St. Louis provided an optimistic flourish on which to wrap up the 2016-17, there were plenty of accomplishments worth celebrating during the past six months of competition.
Below are some of those highlights, by the numbers.
2 Gophers reached the finals at the NCAA tournament, the most for Minnesota since 2014
3 Michael, David, and now Tommy Thorn have all been All-Americans at Minnesota. In a program full of accomplished brother combinations, the Thorns are the first trio of brothers to all earn All-America status in program history
4 There was a quartet of Gophers who wrestled in varsity competition at two different weights this season: Carson Brolsma (149 and 157 pounds), Brandon Kingsley (149 and 165 pounds), Nick Wanzek (165 and 174 pounds) and Chris Pfarr (174 and 184 pounds)
4 Gophers were All-Americans at the NCAA Championships
5 Minnesota won all five of its road duals this season, it’s first undefeated road dual season since 2012-13
6 Mitch McKee led Minnesota with six falls. Jose Champagne also had six falls while redshirting this season
8 The Gophers had eight wrestlers named Academic All-Big Ten this season, with 20 wrestlers throughout the roster maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or better
10 Ethan Lizak led the Gophers with 10 tech falls, while Brett Pfarr led the Gophers with 10 major decisions
19 Different Gophers wrestled in duals this season, though five of those 19 appeared in just one contest
22 Mitch McKee wrestled a team-high 22 matches again ranked opponents in 41 matches as a true freshman (53.7 percent of all matches). Of those 22 ranked opponents, 17 were ranked top 10
22 Ethan Lizak had 22 total bonus-point wins this season, most on the team. Of his 30 total wins, 73.3 percent were bonus-point wins
26 Michael Kroells became the 26th Gopher to finish his Minnesota career with at least three All-American seasons
31 Brett Pfarr and Michael Kroells shared the team lead in wins this season, with 31
40 Minnesota scored 40 points in a 40-7 blowout win over Iowa State – the first time since 2013 the Gophers scored 40 points in a dual.
43 Wanzek led the Gophers with 43 matches wrestled this year (29-14)
47 Brett Pfarr led the Gophers with 47 team points scored in dual matches. His +47 scoring margin (12-0 in dual matches) and +3.92 points/dual average scoring margin were also team-highs
52 Brett Pfarr became the Gophers 52nd multiple-time All-American with his second-place finish at the NCAA Championships
94 and 95 Ethan Lizak and Tommy Thorn each became All-Americans for the first time this season, making them the 94th and 95th different Gophers to earn a podium finish at the national tournament
119 Michael Kroells graduates this spring with 119 career wins, which is tied with Dan Zilverberg and Logan Storley for the 17th-most in program history.
120 Brett Pfarr graduates this spring with 120 career wins, the 16th-most in program history. His .845 career winning percentage is tied with Billy Piece for the 14th-best for a Gopher all-time
434 Whether varsity or redshirt, attached or unattached, Minnesota’s roster brought a total of 434 wins back to the Gopher wrestling room this season, just over 60 percent of all the matches they wrestled