Minnesota in Fifth After Day One at Big Tens

East Lansing, Mich. — The University of Minnesota wrestling team completed the first day of the Big Ten Championships in fifth place at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich.

“I think overall we wrestled well today,” head coach Brandon Eggum said. “Of course some guys could have wrestled better, but this is the Big Ten Championships, it really is as tough as the national tournament. There are a lot of ups and downs, and you just have to kind of ride through that and stay focused on the things you can control.”

The Gophers will have one finalist that will wrestle tomorrow. No. 5 seed Ethan Lizak will wrestle for the title against No. 3 Nathan Tomasello of Ohio State. The final will be Lizak’s first championship appearance at the Big Ten Championships.

minnlogo “Lizak putting himself in the finals tomorrow gives him a really good opportunity,” Eggum said. “He has just been very aggressive and has just done a really good job out there. I’m really proud of how he is wrestling.”

Mitch McKee was nearly a finalist in the 133-pound bracket. He fell just short when he fell to Luke Pletcher of Ohio State in the semifinals, 6-4 in sudden victory. The semifinal appearance is the second straight year McKee, a sophomore, was a semifinalist.

McKee will wrestle in the consolation semifinals tomorrow and will finish as high as third, or as low as sixth.

As the No. 8 seed, Brandon Krone found himself in a great position after the first day of competition. Krone won three matches, including a solid win over Mitch Bowman from Iowa. Krone’s only loss was to Bo Nickal of Penn State, who is in the finals of the 184-pound bracket.

Steve Bleise, Jake Short, and Nick Wanzek will all wrestle for seventh place tomorrow. Bleise and Short will wrestle Rutgers opponents, with Wanzek wrestling a Nebraska opponent. Bleise, the No. 9 seed, defeated Malik Amine of Michigan 6-2 with a huge throw in the first match of the day but finished the day 2-2. Short and Wanzek both finished 2-2 as well, with Short falling to No. 2 seed Jason Nolf in the championship bracket, and Wanzek falling to No. 3 seed Vincenzo Joseph of Penn State in a wild 18-10 match in the championship bracket of 165.

Rylee Streifel put himself into a chance to automatically qualify for the 2018 NCAA Championships at 285. Streifel finished the day 2-2 and will wrestle Shawn Streck for a right to head to automatically qualify for the NCAAs.

Chris Pfarr was unable to finish his career as he, and many would have hoped. Pfarr suffered an injury in his first match of the day and was unable to compete in wrestle-backs, which likely finishes his career with an at-large bid being needed to make it to the NCAAs for the second straight year. Redshirt freshman Dylan Anderson finished his first appearance at the Big Ten Championships with an 0-2 record. Anderson wrestled at 197-pounds and lost in two competitive matches, 9-4 and 3-1.

At 141-pounds, Tommy Thorn finished 0-2 on day one and will wrestle in the ninth-place bracket tomorrow, looking to bolster his at-large resume for the NCAA Championships. Thorn’s opening loss came against Mike Carr, who made the finals of 141-pounds. His wrestle-back loss came against Ryan Diehl, who he has lost to two times in as many weeks.

The Gophers will return to action first thing tomorrow morning in East Lansing at the Breslin Center. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. (CT), with Session III beginning at 11:00 a.m. (CT). The final session is set to begin at 2:00 p.m. (CT) with no break in between.

Be sure to follow the Gophers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to not miss any of the second day of the Big Ten Tournament and the upcoming NCAA Championships.

Ethan Lizak – NCAA QUALIFIER – (3-0)
Rnd 1: Ethan Lizak dec Johnny Jimenez (Wisconsin), 3-1
Quarters: Ethan Lizak dec Sebastian Rivera (Northwestern), 3-2
Semis: Ethan Lizak med Nick Suriano (Rutgers)
Finals: Ethan Lizak vs Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State)
Mitch McKee – NCAA QUALIFIER – (2-1)
Rnd 1: Mitch McKee fall (1:55) Colin Valdiviez (Northwestern)
Quarters: Mitch McKee dec Corey Keener (Penn State), 9-4
Semis: Luke Pletcher (Ohio State) dec (SV-1) Mitch McKee, 6-4
Cons Semis: Mitch McKee vs Scott Delvecchio (Rutgers)
Tommy Thorn (0-2, DNP)
Rnd 1: Bye
Quarters: Mike Carr (Illinois) dec Tommy Thorn, 8-6
Cons Rnd 2: Ryan Diehl (Maryland) maj dec Tommy Thorn, 9-1
9th Place Quarterfinals: Bye
9th Place Semis: Tommy Thorn vs Sal Profaci (Michigan) or Alec McKenna (Northwestern)
Steve Bleise – NCAA QUALIFIER – (2-2)
Rnd 1: Steve Bleise dec Malik Amine (Michigan), 6-2
Quarters: Zain Retherford (Penn State) maj dec Steve Bleise, 14-1
Cons Rnd 2: Steve Bleise dec Cole Martin (Wisconsin), 3-1
Cons Quarters: Colton McCrystal (Nebraska) dec Steve Bleise, 8-5
7th Place: Steve Bleise vs Eleazar Deluca (Rutgers)
Jake Short – NCAA QUALIFIER – (2-2)
Rnd 1: Jake Short dec Kyle Langenderfer, 4-0
Quarters: Jason Nolf (Penn State) maj dec Jake Short, 15-2
Cons Rnd 2: Jake Short fall (5:33) Griffin Parriott (Purdue)
Cons Quarters: Crone (Wisconsin) dec Jake Short, 8-4
7th Place: Jake Short vs John Van Brill (Rutgers)
Nick Wanzek – NCAA QUALIFIER – (2-2)
Rnd 1: Nick Wanzek dec Bryce Martin (Indiana), 5-2
Quarters: Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State) maj dec Nick Wanzek, 18-10
Cons Rnd 2: Nick Wanzek maj dec Brendan Burnham (Maryland), 10-1
Cons Quarters: Alex Marinelli (Iowa) dec Nick Wanzek, 11-4
7th Place: Nick Wanzek vs Isaiah White (Nebraska)
Chris Pfarr (0-2, DNP)
Rnd 1: Ryan Christensen (Wisconsin) dec Chris Pfarr, 4-0
Cons Rnd 1: Logan Ritchie (Michigan State) med Chris Pfarr
Brandon Krone – NCAA QUALIFIER – (3-1)
Rnd 1: Brandon Krone dec Mitch Sliga (Northwestern), 6-5
Quarters: Bo Nickal (Penn State) fall (1:25) Brandon Krone
Cons Rnd 2: Brandon Krone maj dec Max Lyon (Purdue), 15-5
Cons Quarters: Brandon Krone dec Mitch Bowman (Iowa), 11-7
Cons Semis: Brandon Krone vs Dom Abounader (Michigan)
Dylan Anderson (0-2, DNP)
Rnd 1: Kevin Beazley (Michigan) dec Dylan Anderson, 9-4
Cons Rnd 1: David-Brian Whisler (Maryland) dec Dylan Anderson, 3-1
Rylee Streifel (2-2)
Rnd 1: Rylee Streifel dec Christian Rebottaro (Michigan State), 3-0
Quarters: Adam Coon (Michigan) maj dec Rylee Streifel, 12-2
Cons Rnd 2: Rylee Streifel dec Fletcher Miller (Indiana), 7-2
Cons Quarters: Youssif Hemida (Maryland) dec Rylee Streifel, 8-3
7th Place: Rylee Streifel vs Shawn Streck (Purdue)

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