This Spring, eleven Gophers are set to graduate, but before we finish up the postseason, and they finish up their career in Maroon and Gold, we look back and remember their careers. Thank you seniors!
A Lake City, Minnesota, native, Will Balow finishes his career with over 30 wins under his belt, including two titles at the Worthington Open. The 2016 letterwinner is also a two-time Academic All-Big Ten with a major in mechanical engineering and one of the best grade point averages on the roster.
The New Prague, Minnesota, native is another two-time Academic All-Big Ten winner and an economics major. In 2017 James Berg won his varsity letter by starting three duals, including two within the conference, in addition to open tournaments. Berg finished that season with seven victories, including five first period pins.
Since transferring before the 2017-18 campaign, Bleise has made an immediate impact for the Gophers in the middle weights. An NCAA Qualifier last season with 20 victories, Bleise is once again approaching that total this season despite missing part of the season with injury. Voted the team’s most courageous wrestler in 2018 Bleise has battled throughout both seasons and earned him the respect from both his teammates and the fanbase. Bleise is currently ranked No.9 by the NCAA coaches poll.
An Anoka, Minnesota, native, Brandon Krone is a letterwinner throughout his entire career at Minnesota and has made appearances at three different weights in the past two seasons (174, 184, 197). An NCAA qualifier last season after placing sixth in the Big Ten, Krone is known for his prowess in the top position where he’s been able to rack up four technical falls just this season.
Affectionately known by several nicknames by the Gophers faithful such as “Backpack Lizak” and “Lizard,” the Pennsylvania native has found a home in Minneapolis where he has racked up over 100 career wins and is nearing the top-25 in Gophers history. A three-time NCAA qualifier and two-time All-American, Lizak advanced to the finals of the NCAA Championship as a redshirt sophomore seeded sixth. Throughout the past four season, Lizak has earned bonus points in 90 percent of his victories.
The Kinesiology major was also named All-Academic by the National Wrestling Coaches Association in 2017 and he is currently ranked No.8 by the NCAA coaches.
A 2018 Academic All-Big Ten, Miles Patton has racked up 18 victories throughout his career for wrestling for his home state school. Patton has been a reliable team player throughout his career which began filling in for the injured Jake Short and finished this season with a win against Fresno State when he was filling in for the injured Bleise. Patton plans to attend law school after graduation where he’ll finish with a major in political science and a minor in German.
Once named “Most Dedicated” wrestler on the team, Skyler Petry is known for his hardworking attitude and dedication to the team. Petry racked up over 35 wins throughout his Gophers career and in the past two seasons he has bumped up to 133-pounds twice to wrestle NCAA qualifiers from the prior season, including this season against NCAA Finalist Nick Suriano. Petry graduates with a major in mathematics.
Previously an All-American at Augburg University, Polakowski joined the Gophers last season where he went 8-3 and won his dual debut by shutout, 5-0. This season, Polakowski filled in for against No.16 Wisconsin and got his hand raised. Polakowski is pursuing his Masters in sports management.
Sean Russell joined the Gophers in his final year of college wrestling and has fit right in with over 20 wins with his losses only coming to top-five opponents. Currently ranked No.6 by the NCAA coaches, Russell began his career in Maroon and Gold with a Daktronics Open Championship and then took home third place at the prestigious Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. Russell will graduate with a degree in human resource development this Spring.
A Prior Lake, Minnesota, native, Rylee Streifel racked up 30 wins the past two seasons as the Gophers heavyweight before shifting down to 197-pounds for part of his final season. Streifel is a three-time letter winner and a two-time Academic All-Big Ten also with five Big Ten dual victories. Streifel will graduate with a double major in business marketing and human resourse development.
A St. Michael, Minnesota, native, Tommy Thorn is a 2017 All-American who has now crossed the 90 wins milestone as a Gophers wrestler. Thorn has two top-six finishes at the Big Ten tournaments and has won over five open tournaments in his career. Thorn now graduates with a degree in applied economics.