Captains Lead Gophers to 26-22 Win over Maryland
The University of Minnesota wrestling team picked up their second straight victory on Sunday afternoon on the Big Ten Network, 26-22 over Maryland.
The Gophers obtained bonus point victories from all three senior captains in the victory, the first time this season the three have done so.
“It was a tighter team score than we would have liked, but overall we had some really great performances today,” head coach Brandon Eggum said after the win. “Short, Wanzek and Pfarr all got bonus points was big for us. Rylee Streifel deserved to win his match, which would have been a big upset.”
All five of Minnesota’s wins on the day were bonus point wins. Both No. 6 Ethan Lizak and No. 12 Mitch McKee picked up tech falls to open up the afternoon.
In Lizak’s match, the junior was able to bounce back after an early takedown from Brandon Cray with a takedown of his own. Cray decided to start the next period on their feet, and Lizak wasted no time getting back on top.
By the end of the second period, Lizak owned a 16-2 and ended the match in the opening moments of the third period. Lizak’s tech fall over Cray is his eighth of the season, which leads the Gophers.
McKee set the tone of his match early with a takedown in the opening minute, then turned Jhared Simmons for four near fall points, putting him up 6-0 after one period.
McKee flipped over Simmons to earn his only escape, and got right back on top with his second takedown in the second. McKee pushed his lead to 13-0 at the end of the second. McKee secured his first tech fall of the season in the third period as they started in the neutral position, giving Minnesota a 10-0 lead after two periods.
“I really expected that from Mitch today,” Eggum said. “He’s been in and out all season long, it’s great to see him out there and continuing to roll. He did some really good things on top this whole weekend.”
After earning two takedowns, Tommy Thorn was caught on his back, and Maryland earned their first points with a pin, making it 10-6.
Maryland continued their momentum with a victory at 149-pounds over Miles Patton, making it 10-10 after four matches.
The Gophers then looked to their seniors, and Jake Short was up first. The Inver Grove Heights, Minn. native looked to be on a mission. He secured three takedowns in the first period, giving him a 6-2 lead after one period.
In the second, Short escaped quickly and got right back on top. While on top, Short officially swung momentum back to the Gophers corner with his second pin of the season.
The second of the senior trio, Nick Wanzek took the mat at 165 against Brendan Burnham after the intermission. Wanzek used an ankle pick to take an early lead on Burnham, and then got back on Burnham two more times before the first horn rang.
In the second, the senior scored two points on a reversal, and continued to let Burnham loose, looking for the bonus point win. Wanek did just that, scoring six takedowns in the match and obtaining his ninth major of the season, 15-7 over Burnham.
With the Gophers back in front 20-10, Chris Pfarr looked to get out of his slump, and did just that against Josh Ugalde.
Pfarr quickly took down Ugalde, but Ugalde slipped out making it 2-1. Pfarr continued to pressure, and took down Ugalde a second time, and this time, Ugalde ended up on his back. Pfarr smothered the Terrapin, and earned his first pin of the season.
“The one constant on this team is Chris Pfarr is going to give a lot of fight,” Eggum said. “In a big spot, with us giving up a forfeit at 184-pounds, we needed guys to step up and do some big things, and to have all our captains do that is really impressive.”
Minnesota was forced to forfeit at 184-pounds, and Dylan Anderson fell behind early to David-Brian Whisler, but only lost by decision, securing the Gophers victory heading into the heavyweight match.
In the final match, Rylee Streifel took on the Terrapins only ranked wrestler, No. 7 Youssif Hemida.
Streifel had numerous opportunities on Hemida’s leg, but the top-10 wrestler continued to break free.
Hemida scored first on an escape in the second, and Streifel countered with an escape of his own in the third period. The two were tied with 1:45 to go, but neither wrestler could secure a takedown, forcing a sudden victory period.
Hemida was able to get in on Streifel’s leg, and elevate it enough to complete the takedown, and win the match in an entertaining finish to the dual.
— Minnesota on BTN (@MinnesotaOnBTN) February 11, 2018
The Gophers now shift their focus to Rider next Friday. Minnesota will wrestle on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. and complete their regular season before the Big Ten Tournament on March 3-4 in East Lansing.
Minnesota 26, Maryland 22
125: No. 6 Ethan Lizak tech fall Brandon Cray, 18-2 | Minn 5 – Maryland 0
133: No. 12 Mitch McKee tech fall Jhared Simmons, 15-0 | Minn 10 – Maryland 0
141: Ryan Diehl fall (2:06) No. 14 Tommy Thorn | Minn 10 – Maryland 6
149: Alfred Bannister maj dec Miles Patton, 16-6 | Minn 10 – Maryland 10
157: No. 17 Jake Short fall (4:00) Kyle Cochran | Minn 16 – Maryland 10
165: No. 8 Nick Wanzek maj dec Brendan Burnham, 15-7 | Minn 20 – Maryland 10
174: Chris Pfarr fall (1:41) Josh Ugalde | Minn 26 – Maryland 10
184: Niko Cappello Forfeit Minnesota | Minn 26 – Maryland 16
197: David-Brian Whisler dec Dylan Anderson, 14-7 | Minn 26 – Maryland 19
285: No. 7 Youssif Hemida dec (SV-1) Rylee Streifel, 3-1 | Minn 26 – Maryland 22