The University of Minnesota will wrestle once on the road, and once at home this weekend, with No. 1 Penn State coming first on Friday, and No. 20 Northwestern coming on Sunday. The Gophers will wrestle on the Big Ten Network on Friday, the first time this season they will be on national television.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP: PENN STATE
125: No. 6 Ethan Lizak (18-3) or Steve Polakowski (7-6) vs Devin Schnupp (1-12)
133: No. 12 Mitch McKee (9-4) vs Corey Keener (12-3)
141: No. 10 Tommy Thorn (17-6) vs Nick Lee (18-3)
157: No. 18 Jake Short (9-7) vs No. 1 Jason Nolf (18-0)
165: No. 7 Nick Wanzek (18-3) vs No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph (13-0)
174: Chris Pfarr (12-7) vs No. 2 Mark Hall (19-0)
184: Dylan Anderson (21-9) vs No. 1 Bo Nickal (18-0)
197: Brandon Krone (5-3) vs Anthony Cassar (14-2) or No. 10 Shakur Rasheed (14-2)
HWT: Rylee Streifel (8-8) vs No. 6 Nick Nevills (18-3)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP: NORTHWESTERN
125: No. 6 Ethan Lizak (18-3) or Steve Polakowski (7-6) vs No. 10 Sebastian Rivera (19-1)
133: No. 12 Mitch McKee (9-4) vs No. 20 Colin Valdiviez (14-8)
141: No. 10 Tommy Thorn (17-6) vs Alec McKenna (10-12)
149: Ben Brancale (8-6) vs No. 5 Ryan Deakin (23-3)
157: No. 18 Jake Short (9-7) vs Shayne Oster (9-12)
165: No. 7 Nick Wanzek (18-3) vs Michael Sepke (9-13)
174: Chris Pfarr (12-7) vs No. 18 Johnny Sebastian (19-7)
184: Dylan Anderson (21-9) vs Mitch Sliga (13-9)
197: Brandon Krone (5-3) vs Zach Chakonis (10-9)
HWT: Rylee Streifel (8-8) vs Conan Jennings (16-7)
|No. 14 Minnesota at No. 1 Penn State | vs No. 20 Northwestern|
|Penn State||Friday, Jan. 26, 2018 | 6:00 p.m. CT|
|Live Video||Big Ten Network // FloWrestling|
|Northwestern||Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018 | 1:00 p.m. CT|
|Live Video||BTN Plus // FloWrestling|
|Live Updates||Click Here|
|Social Media||@GopherWrestling | Facebook | Instagram|
LAST TIME OUT – MICHIGAN
The Gophers were defeated by the Wolverines at Maturi Pavilion by a score of 30-7. Minnesota was able to pick up victories at 141 and 165-pounds during the dual, including an upset at 165-pounds by Nick Wanzek. Wanzek took down previously No. 5 ranked Logan Massa, 14-8. Tommy Thorn also extended his winning streak to six straight wins, which is the longest winning streak of the season for Thorn.
“Losing the close ones can be a little frustrating,” head coach Brandon Eggum said after the dual. “We had opportunities today and couldn’t come up big in some close matches that we feel we could have won today. We know losing this dual isn’t what we wanted, but we know when March comes around we will be using these moments to become better.”
GOPHERS LOOK TO EXTEND WINNING STREAK
The Gophers have defeated Northwestern 14-straight times, including the last meeting in 2016 when the then No. 17 Gophers defeated the Wildcats 22-20 at home. The Gophers 14-match winning streak is the program’s longest active winning streak over a Big Ten opponent.
KRONE MOVES TO 197
Brandon Krone has now moved into his fourth career weight class after his appearance at 197-pounds against Michigan on Sunday. Krone wrestled at three different weights during his redshirt sophomore season, including 165-pounds. Krone will likely fill out the 197 slot due to injuries and nearly won his debut at the weight class in a 4-3 narrow defeat to Jackson Striggow despite riding him out in both the second and third periods.
The Gophers have had some impressive statistics throughout the season, but one that sticks out is junior, returning All-American, Tommy Thorn. Thorn is tied for the team high in pins with seven, and also has seven major decisions and one tech fall. His 15 combined bonus point victories are two more than any other wrestler on the team this season.
MATCHES TO WATCH – PENN STATE
The Gophers will be tested in the middleweights throughout the Penn State dual. The No. 1 Nittany Lions will send out four No. 1 wrestlers. Nick Wanzek, recently off his top-five victory over Logan Massa, will continue his insane stretch of highly ranked wrestlers when he takes on No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph, who is 13-0 this season. Wanzek’s last three matches have been against No. 6, No. 2 and No. 5. Tommy Thorn will also see a fellow top-10 ranked wrestler at 141 in true freshman Nick Lee.
MATCHES TO WATCH – NORTHWESTERN
The Gophers will come back home on Sunday to take on Northwestern and will have some select ranked matchups. Starting at 125, Lizak will have a top-10 opponent in Sebastian Rivera, who is 19-1 this season. Mitch McKee will wrestle No. 20 Colin Valdiviez in a top-20 bout. Chris Pfarr will look for his second-ranked victory of the season when he takes on Johnny Sebastian, who is No. 18 and 19-7 on the season. At 149-pounds, the Wildcats will put out their highest ranked wrestler, No. 5 Ryan Deakin.
SENIOR DAY – NORTHWESTERN
The Gophers will honor 10 wrestlers come Sunday against the Northwestern Wildcats. Minnesota will put out at least three seniors in the lineup on Sunday, as they have all season. The 157-165-174 trio of Jake Short, Nick Wanzek, and Chris Pfarr will hit the mat for the final time, likely in succession as they have nearly all season long.
10 seniors will be honored this Sunday against Northwestern. In this week’s Through the Lens, we sat down with a few of them regarding their last experience at Maturi Pavilion. #GopherTough pic.twitter.com/5UXXHhVNGI
— Minnesota Wrestling (@GopherWrestling) January 25, 2018