Gophers Take Down Bulldogs, 38-7 at Home
After having only about half of their lineup in Las Vegas a little over a week ago, the University of Minnesota returned home with their full lineup and dominated Fresno State 38-7 to earn their third dual victory of the season.
The Gophers won eight of the ten matches on the day; all eight of them were bonus-point victories. No. 8 Mitch McKee and No. 10 Tommy Thorn each won by fall. No. 13 Jake Short, No. 9 Nick Wanzek, Chris Pfarrand Bobby Steveson all won by major decision and No. 5 Ethan Lizak and Owen Webster each won by tech fall.
“I was impressed with our aggressiveness today,” head coach Brandon Eggum said after the dual. “The way each guy started matches and all the way through that seventh minute, I thought guys wrestled with passion and fans love seeing that and I’m proud of them.”
The dual began with some highlights. McKee attacked his opponent early and obtained his fifth pin of the season at 1:30. McKee was the team leader in pins last season with six, and is on pace to surpass that number this season.
At 141, Thorn didn’t let McKee hold a tie with five pins on the season for too long. Thorn pinned his second straight opponent in the first round with a fall at 1:02. The All-American was able to score early and often, and it led to a 12-0 Gophers lead through two matches.
Minnesota’s ranked wrestlers continued to pick up victories at Maturi. At 157 and 165, No. 13 Jake Short and No. 9 Nick Wanzek each won major decision victories. Short was able to bounce back after two-straight losses and missing the Cliff Keen with an injury with his 14-4 victory over Greg Gaxiola.
Pfarr capped off the seniors run on Sunday with a third-straight major decision. Pfarr scored early and often in his match, tying his season-high in points with 13, and allowed just one escape in the victory, putting Minnesota up 24-4.
After an Owen Webster tech fall dominating win at 184, Bobby Steveson stepped onto the mat at 197 looking for his first victory of the season. Steveson had some close matches go against him so far this season, but on Sunday Steveson’s offense kept the score far from being close. Steveson was able to score 19 points in his win, including over four minutes of riding time.
“Bobby Steveson’s match tonight was a big one,” Eggum said. “He has some really great skills and now he has his weight in a much better spot so now he can focus on wrestling and not so much on his weight cutting.”
“I think it is just really good momentum,” Steveson said after the dual. “I have been able to get my weight down, so I hardly had to cut before today and that made it so I wasn’t fatigued at all and able to just keep pulling the trigger and keeping the pace up.”
To end the dual, Lizak showed off his craft with a 19-2 win over Sean Williams. After giving up the first takedown, Lizak earned his first takedown, took control on top, and proceeded to dominate. Lizak earned the tech fall early in the second period, giving the Gophers a 38-7 victory, and putting Minnesota’s home record at 2-0 this season.
An additional match was also performed during halftime of the dual. Gophers alumnus Jayson Nesswrestling Anthony Abidin in an exhibition match for Olympic trials. Ness was able to dominate his opponent and wrapped up the match in the first period, 10-0.
“Jayson was super excited,” Eggum said. “He gave our fans a chance to see a four-time All-American and national champion compete here. He told me he could feel it a little bit wrestling here at home again so it was really exciting for him to come back here and perform so well. I also didn’t realize, and he told me this earlier in the week, that he never lost a home dual in the history of his college career, so for him to come out here and put it on the line just shows how much he is dedicated to the sport of wrestling.”
Minnesota will take some time off before returning to action on Dec. 29 and 30. The Gophers will take their finals this coming week, and then will escape the cold weather in Florida for the South Beach Duals.
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#10 Minnesota 38, Fresno State 7
133 #8 Mitch McKee (Minnesota) fall Trevor Williams (Fresno State) 1:36
141 #10 Tommy Thorn (Minnesota) fall Chris De Loza (Fresno State) 1:01
149 Khristian Olivas (Fresno State) maj. dec. Hunter Marko (Minnesota) 14-2
157 #13 Jake Short (Minnesota) maj. dec. Greg Gaxiola (Fresno State) 14-4
165 #9 Nick Wanzek (Minnesota) maj. dec. Isaiah Hokit (Fresno State) 8-0
174 Chris Pfarr (Minnesota) maj. dec. Dominic Kincaid (Fresno State) 13-1
184 Owen Webster (Minnesota) tech fall Angel Solis (Fresno State) 18-3
197 Bobby Steveson (Minnesota) maj. dec. Richie Brandt (Fresno State) 19-5
285 AJ Nevills (Fresno State) dec. Rylee Streifel (Minnesota) 5-1
125 #5 Ethan Lizak (Minnesota) tech fall Sean Williams (Fresno State) 19-2
Freestyle Exhibition: Jayson Ness tech fall Anthony Abidin 10-0