The Gophers finish off the 2018-19 season against the Rider Broncs on Thursday, February 21, 2019 at Northrop Auditorium on the Minnesota-Twin Cities campus. The venue’s first ever wrestling competition will also mark Senior Night for the Gophers 10 senior grapplers (Will Balow, James Berg, Steve Bleise, Brandon Krone, Ethan Lizak, Miles Patton, Skyler Petry, Steve Polakowski, Sean Russell, Rylee Streifel, and Tommy Thorn.
Previewing the Broncs
The Broncs enter their battle with the Gophers 8-4 on the season and 5-1 in conference play within the Eastern Wrestling League (EWL). Rider has won four of their last five duals with the lone loss coming on Feb. 8 against Lock Haven University.
The Broncs boast one ranked wrestler: Jesse Dellavecchia, who is No. 16 at 165 pounds in the latest Intermat rankings.
Last season the Gophers toppled Rider 32-12 in New Jersey boosted by pins from 141-pound Mitch Mckee, 184-pound Brandon Krone, and 197-pound Dylan Anderson.
All-Time List Updates
Each week, more Gophers move up among the legends of Minnesota wrestling history. When it comes to career wins, 133-pound Ethan Lizak sits at 33rd on the all-time list tied with Marty Morgan and Gabriel Dretsch with 110 victories. 149-pound Tommy Thorn remains just outside the top-50 with 89 career wins.
When it comes to pins, 141-pound Mitch McKee is entering the record books. With 23 career falls, McKee is tied for 22nd all-time in Gophers history.
Heavyweight Gable Steveson has made an immediate impact in his first college season with 27 consecutive victories to begin his career. Steveson is currently tied with Luke Becker and Damion Hahn at 14th on the list.
Coach Eggum’s Best Season
In his third year as the head coach of the program, Brandon Eggum is having his most success this season. Eggum’s squad has already racked up 14 victories and seven Big Ten wins, the most in any of his seasons.
With one more victory to close out the season the Gophers could have their most wins since the 2012-13 season when the Gophers finished third in the NCAA Tournament.
Best Season of their Career
Several Gophers are having the best seasons of their careers in the 2018-19 season. True freshman Gable Steveson is already the No.1 ranked heavyweight and has 27 consecutive victories to begin his career.
Elsewhere, 165-pound Carson Brolsma has 17 wins this season, already the most of any single season in his career. With just over 40 career victories, Brolsma has nearly half of his career victories in just this current season.
While he won more matches last season, the quality of 197-pound Dylan Anderson’s victories has increased this season with a drastic increase in Big Ten success. Last season Anderson finished 2-9 within the conference while this year he has finished the regular season 7-3.
In his first season in Minnesota, 174-pound Devin Skatzka has once again crossed the 20-win mark, but he sits under the 13 losses he had in each of his last two seasons at Indiana.
Next Time Out
Minnesota gets a bit over two weeks of break between their final dual and the Big Ten Championships on March 9 and 10 at Williams Arena. The Gophers last hosted the tournament in 2008.
The team finishes up the 2018-19 season at the NCAA Wrestling Championships in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from March 21-23. The Gophers have not finished outside of the top-20 since the 1991-92 season and have placed outside of the top-10 only twice in the last decade.