Minnesota hosting for the second straight weekend
The Gophers and Jackrabbits meet in a border battle between two great wrestling programs. The Gophers enter the dual 1-1 coming off of a loss to Oklahoma State after defeating Air Force 33-3 the previous week. The home Gophers have six ranked wrestlers in their lineup and are considered the 9th best dual team in the nation by Intermat. The Gophers have seven ranked wrestlers across all weight classes.
Last Time Out
Last Sunday, November 18, the Gophers took on No. 2 Oklahoma State in the 40th matchup between the two programs. Oklahoma State jumped out to a 5-0 lead before No. 5 Mitch McKee, a Minnesota native, had a third-period comeback victory to put the home team on the board. Tommy Thorn dropped the next match before No. 11 Steve Bleise had a last-minute victory despite an injured hand.
The Cowboys rolled out of intermission with three major decisions, but No. 2 Gable Steveson helped the home crowd leave happy with a huge upset of No. 3 Derek White after a takedown and nearfall in the first minute of the match.
The Gophers fell 23-9, but it was their tightest margin against Oklahoma State since a 20-17 loss on November 29, 2015.
About the Jackrabbits
The star attraction for the Jackrabbits is No. 1 Seth Gross, an NCAA finalist in 2017 before taking home the individual title last season. He finished last year with only one loss. Gross has been a two-time All-American and two-time Big 12 conference champion at 133-pounds.
Gross pinned Arizona State’s Josiah Kline on November 11 in his only match this season.
Their other ranked wrestler is Henry Pohlmeyer. Pohlmeyer was an NCAA qualifier last season and he won one match on the consolation side of the bracket. The Iowa native had a 137-31 high school record.
The Gophers boast a lineup full of experienced wrestlers with national experience. The team’s lineup from the Oklahoma State included five different redshirt seniors (Sean Russell, Ethan Lizak, Tommy Thorn, Steve Bleise, and Brandon Krone.)
Accompanying those five were juniors Mitch McKee and Owen Webster while Carson Brolsma and Devin Skatzka are redshirt juniors.
Freshman Gable Steveson was the lone underclassmen in last Sunday’s starting lineup.
Welcoming back Damion
Jackrabbits coach Damion Hahn will be returning to Maturi Pavilion for the first time as a head coach after becoming a Gophers wrestling legend during his four years at the university. Hahn was a four-time All-American and a three-time Big 10 individual champion as the Gophers won team national titles during his first two years on campus.
In 2004, Hahn was named Jesse Owens Big 10 Male Athlete of Year. Hahn was inducted to the school Hall of Fame in 2018.
Sunday, more like Funday!
Sunday’s dual will feature multiple promotions catering towards children, family, and the Gopher wrestling community. Sunday will be the first of the Gophers two Youth Days which will allow registered youth teams and accompanying coaches to attend the dual for free. Click on the “Youth Day” tab for more information.
Sunday is also Superhero Day if you want to watch some Gopher wrestling action while dressed as any hero of your choice. We encourage you to take pictures of your costumes and tweet them at us on game day!
Finally, the team will “takedown cancer” on Sunday host an event directed at promoting awareness and research for cancer treatment. Donations will be accepted and directed towards The Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund.
Next up the Gophers head to Las Vegas for the Cliff Keen Invitational before heading even further out west to take on Fresno State in California the following weekend.
The Gophers begin Big Ten competition on January 6 against Rutgers at home.