The University of Minnesota wrestling team will make the trip back to Brookings, S.D. this Friday to take on the Jackrabbits of No. 16 ranked South Dakota State University. Minnesota will compete at 7:00 p.m. at Frost Arena and then travel to Stillwater, Okla. to face No. 3 Oklahoma State on Sunday afternoon.
This will be the third straight season the Gophers and the Jackrabbits face off in a dual in the early part of the season. Minnesota has won the previous two by a combined score of 38-30, with both duals located in Minneapolis. The Gophers won a thriller last season, 18-17, when then-senior, Michael Kroells, won by a disqualification after repeatedly forcing stall warnings on the Jackrabbits heavyweight. The disqualification polished off four straight victories to end the dual, after trailing 17-3 heading into 174.
South Dakota State boasts the No. 1 ranked wrestler at 133-pounds, Seth Gross. Mitch McKee, who is ranked No. 6, wrestled Gross in his freshman campaign in the Nov. 19, 2016, dual, and was defeated by the junior. In total, South Dakota brings four wrestlers ranked by InterMat. No. 10 Jake Short will be matched with No. 18 Luke Zilverberg at 157 in the only other ranked match of the dual.
HOME MAT ADVANTAGE
Minnesota’s 29-6 victory over Air Force was the eighth straight year the Gophers have started the home season with a win, with the last loss coming in 2008-2009.
RANKED AND READY
Minnesota will bring five ranked wrestlers to Brookings, S.D. while the Jackrabbits will have four. Minnesota’s ranked wrestlers combine to hold a 22-2 record this season while the Jackrabbit’s ranked wrestlers have a 20-4 record thus far in the 2017-18 season.
LAST TIME OUT – AIR FORCE
This past week, Minnesota polished off their season opener with a win over Air Force, 29-6 at Maturi Pavilion. Minnesota at one point won five straight matches from 149-184. The highlight of the night came from Mitch McKee who completed his fourth pin of the season at 2:26 of his match at 133. The Gophers third straight victory over the Falcons of Air Force.
MATCH OF THE WEEK
The Gophers each week have taken an in-depth look at top performers from last week’s action. This week was Hunter Marko, who won his dual debut with a 16-2 major decision victory at 149-pounds on Sunday.
— Minnesota Wrestling (@GopherWrestling) November 14, 2017
The Gophers lineup will comprise of eight Minnesotans against South Dakota. In total between the two teams, 11 of the 20 wrestlers hail from the Land of 10,000 lakes.
The Gophers lightweight wrestlers have been their strongest weight class thus far this season. With a combined record of 13-1 between 125-141 starters.
IT’LL BE A TOUGH ROAD
The Gophers may have the toughest road schedule in the NCAA this season. Minnesota is one of two teams that will wrestle each of the top four teams this year. They will also see nine top 20 teams, which is tied for the most in the NCAA. Last season, Minnesota was able to collect a 5-0 record on the road.
FIRST TIME VICTORS
The Gophers had three wrestlers all earn their first dual victories as members of the Maroon and Gold – Hunter Marko, Owen Webster, and Rylee Streifel.
THAT KID’S GOOD
Mitch McKee has been tearing through competition early on this season. He pinned his opponent against Air Force at 2:26 to earn his fourth in just five matches, and will be now faced with his biggest match of the year against No. 1 Seth Gross.