The Gophers will open their home schedule Sunday afternoon with a high profile matchup against Oklahoma State University at the Pav at 4 p.m.
No. 9 Minnesota will host No. 2 Oklahoma State for the first time since 2016 at the Pav on Sunday. A budding rivalry, the Gophers and Cowboys have met every year since 2008, and twice in NWCA National Dual Championship Finals. Minnesota claimed the 2012 and 2013 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Dual Championships defeating the top-ranked Cowboys on both occasions.
The Gophers last defeated Oklahoma State at home in 2014 when Minnesota took six matches off of the Cowboys, defeating the No. 8 team 19-15. Gophers picking up wins in that contest include Logan Storley, Brett Pfarr, Scott Schiller, Chris Dardanes, Nick Dardanes, and Dylan Ness.
Last Time Out
The Gophers began their dual season with a trip to Colorado Springs to face Air Force last Friday. The Gophers returned to Minneapolis with a 33-3 victory over the Falcons. Minnesota won nine out of ten weight classes in the dual, including four matches by bonus-point victories. Mitch McKee gained a fall at the 1:11 mark of the first period in his 141-pound match to spark life into the squad. Minnesota went on to gain three major decisions, winning the final nine weights, and defeating Air Force.
Gable Steveson won the 285-pound title at the Bison Open last Saturday. Steveson finished 3-0 with a technical fall in his opening match. Steveson went on to defeat No. 6 Tanner Hall of Arizona State in the finals to take the top spot in his bracket. Steveson is now 6-0 on the season, with two open tournament titles.
Four additional Gophers took second at the tournament. Patrick McKee (125), Brayton Lee (149), Ryan Thomas (157) and Bobby Steveson (197) all finished 2-1 with second-place finishes in Fargo.
About the Cowboys
Oklahoma State started their season wrestling at the Oklahoma State University Open on Nov. 4 where they captured nine individual titles. The Cowboys are currently the second-ranked team in the country and have a wrestler ranked in all ten weight classes by InterMat.
Oklahoma State finished the 2017-18 season with a 13-2 overall dual record and placed 13th at the NCAA Championships. The Cowboys will wrestle their first dual of the season
The Gophers defeated Air Force with each of their seven ranked wrestlers in the lineup gaining victories in Colorado. Minnesota’s ranked wrestlers are a combined 30-3 to start the season. Oklahoma State currently has a wrestler ranked at each weight class. The first five weight classes of the dual will feature ranked match-ups with 125, 133, 141, and 149.
No. 5 Sean Russell is expected to meet No. 4 Nick Piccininni, No. 6. Ethan Lizak will wrestle No. 9 Dalton Fix, and at 141, No. 8 Mitch McKee will take the mat against No. 5 Kaid Brock. At heavyweight No. 5 Gable Stevenson may be facing off against No. 3 Derek White of the Cowboys.
Climbing the Ladder
Both Ethan Lizak and Tommy Thorn are making moves up the all-time career wins list. With his victory at Air Force, Thorn moved up a single spot into 61st with a career record of 76-34-0. Lizak has vaulted into 49th on the all-time list with a career record of 93-29, seven wins away from the century mark.
The Gophers will stick around the Twin Cities after facing Oklahoma to take on South Dakota State at the Pav on Sunday, Nov. 25. After their short homestand, Minnesota will head west to compete in the Cliff Keen Invitational from Nov. 30 – Dec. 1 in Las Vegas before facing Fresno State in California.