The Gophers begin their conference season with a dual against one of the Big Ten’s newest additions, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. The Gophers have a 3-0 record against Rutgers since they joined the Big Ten in 2014.
No. 9 Minnesota and No. 20 Rutgers will have three bouts between ranked wrestlers including a battle between No. 8 Ethan Lizak and No. 2 Nick Suriano at 133 pounds. Another will feature No.2 Anthony Ashnault dueling Minnesota native No. 20 Tommy Thorn. Directly after at 157-pounds No.17 John Van Brill and No. 11 Steve Bleise will face-off. All bouts except for 165-pounds and 197-pounds are slated to have at least one ranked wrestler competing.
Please also note that the dual is now scheduled to begin at 2:15 pm CT with doors opening at 1:15 pm CT.
Last Time Out
The Gophers took a break from their dual season with a trip down to Ft. Lauderdale for the South Beach Duals. The Gophers went 4-0 on the trip including three victories over ranked squads. The Gophers were one of only two teams to leave the competition undefeated.
The Gophers won 32 out of 40 bouts and three wrestlers, Sean Russell, Ethan Lizak, and Gable Steveson, went undefeated. Mitch McKee, Tommy Thorn, Steve Bleise, Carson Brolsma, Devin Skatzka, and Rylee Streifel all went 3-1 in the dual slate.
Apple Valley High School’s own Gable Steveson continues to dominate in his first season of college wrestling. After winning two open tournaments to kick off his career Steveson has continue to roll through the dual schedule as well as the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational.
The freshman heavyweight has an 18-0 record with seven victories over ranked wrestlers. He also has three pins, including the last two times he’s taken the mat. Two opponents have also forfeited their matches against him.
New Weights for Old Wrestlers
At the South Beach Duals the Gophers had two wrestlers make their season debuts at new weights. 184-pound Brandon Krone and 197-pound Rylee Streifel both dropped down one weight class and helped the Gophers be one of only two teams to go 4-0 on the weekend. Krone went 2-2 with two victories on the second day while Streifel finished 3-1 in duals.
Krone is a two time NCAA-qualifier and last season won matches at three different weight classes (174,184, and 197.) Streifel was one of the Gophers starting heavyweights the past two seasons and in the Air Force dual to begin the season before dropping down. Both are Minnesota natives.
About the Scarlet Knights
Rutgers boasts four ranked wrestlers this season under head coach Scott Goodale. Throughout their nonconference slate the Scarlet Knights went 6-1 with victories over schools such as Appalachian State, Hofstra. Both teams wrestled Fresno State and the Scarlet Knights defeated them 30-6 while the Gophers defeated the Bulldogs 31-6.
At the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational the Scarlet Knights finished in 9th place with two champions, Suriano and Ashnault.
The Gophers continue their Big Ten schedule with a home dual against No. 2 Iowa in the latest installment of the bitter border rivalry. The Gophers then travel to Illinois the weekend of Jan. 18 to face off against the University of Illinois and Northwestern over the weekend.
Minnesota will take a trip to Wisconsin on January 25 before returning home to dual Purdue on February 3.