Tommy Thorn’s runner-up performance at 65 kilograms led the way for five Gophers who placed at University Nationals this past weekend in Akron, Ohio. In addition to Thorn, current Gophers Ethan Lizak (fifth, 57 kg), Skyler Petry (sixth, 57 kg), Bobby Steveson (fifth, 97 kg) and Rylee Streifel (seventh, 125 kg) all turned in podium-worthy efforts wrestling freestyle.
Thorn’s run to the championship match started with three consecutive 10-0 tech falls before a 8-8 nail-biter against Keegan Moore, a match Thorn won on criteria. A 12-4 tech over Oklahoma State All-American Kaid Brock in the quarters and a 10-4 win in the semis put Thorn through to the finals, where he fell to Robbie Mathers, who was named the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler.
Lizak tech-falled his way to the 57-kg quarterfinals with three wins in just 6:47 total time. A 6-2 loss sent him to the consolation bracket, where two more tech falls got him into position to place. A loss in the consolation quarters put him into the fifth-place match. On another path through the 57 kg bracket, Petry rallied after a third-round loss on Saturday and put up four consecutive wrestleback wins before dropping a 6-5 decision on a late takedown to find himself in a head-to-head match with teammate Lizak for fifth, a match Petry forfeited, placing Lizak fifth and Petry sixth.
Steveson put up big numbers through most of his tournament run. He marched as far as the semifinals without scoring fewer than 10 points in a match and had scored double-digits in all but one match (six total bouts) before grinding out a 2-1 win over Anthony McLaughlin to claim fifth in his last match of the event.
After opening with two wins, Streifel piled up three more, reeling off three straight in wrestlebacks to recover from a third-round loss and guarantee his spot on the podium. After falling in the consolation quarters, Streifel again shook off a loss and looked impressive, picking up a 10-0 tech fall for seventh.
One additional Gopher, Steve Polakowski, came within one match of placing after advancing to the Round of 12 at 61 kg. Polakowski fell in the third round on Saturday before matching Petry’s club-best, four-match winning streak in wrestlebacks. Only a 4-4 loss on criteria kept Polakowski from placing.
Other Gophers in the field included Gannon Volk (2-2 at 65 kg), Brandon Krone (2-2 at 80 kg), Colin Carr (1-2 at 80 kg), John Frisco (0-2 at 86 kg), Will Balow 2-2 at 97 kg), Chase O’Connor (1-2 at 97 kg) and Nate Rose (1-2 at 97 kg).
In addition to current Gophers, regional training center competitor Daniel Deshazer finished eight wrestling at 61 kg.
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