With the University of Minnesota wrestling team set to take the holiday weekend off, one of the biggest wrestling events of the year will be taking place in Bydgoszcz, Poland at the U23 World Championships.
There will be one current and one former Gopher that will be competing for a medal in the freestyle event. Current sophomore Mitch McKee will compete in 61-kilograms after qualifying in Rochester, Minn. in October. Three-time All-American Michael Kroells will be making his first international tournament after qualifying in Rochester.
McKee has earned age-group World medals in the past, the St. Michael-Albertville graduate will make his fourth World appearance. McKee earned the silver medal at the Junior World Championships back in August in Tampere, Finland. He won four of his five matches, scoring more than 10 points in all of his victories and made huge comebacks in multiple matches. So far this season, McKee is 5-2 with two pins with his only losses coming to top-five opponents.
For Kroells, one of the USA’s representatives in the heavyweight division (125-kilograms/275-pounds), it will be a new experience on the world stage. The Belle Plaine, Minn. native was a dominant heavyweight wrestler in the maroon and gold, earning 119 career wins, including over 30 in his junior and senior seasons.
Along with the two Gophers on the mat, assistant coach Dustin Schlatter will also be in Poland as a coach on Team USA. Schlatter was along with McKee in Finland when he took silver.
McKee and Kroells will hit the mat on Saturday, Nov. 25. Qualification rounds begin 2:00 a.m. CT while medal matches will be taking place at 10:00 a.m. CT.
Trackwrestling will provide a pay to view live video along with free live updates of brackets during the sessions.
You can also get updates from the U23 World Championships by following Gopher Wrestling on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Schedule (All times in central time):
Saturday, Nov. 25
Men’s freestyle – 57 kg, 61kg, 86 kg, 125 kg
2:00 a.m. – Qualification rounds begin
10 a.m. – Medal matches
— Minnesota Wrestling (@GopherWrestling) November 21, 2017