Over a dozen current and former University of Minnesota wrestlers are heading to Las Vegas this weekend for the US Open and the United World Wrestling (UWW) Junior Nationals.
Mitch McKee, competing at 65kg, will be the only current grappler competing at the senior level in freestyle competition. McKee finished this past season as a first-time All-American and led the team’s starters in falls for the third consecutive season.
Skyler Petry, a graduating senior this spring after a successful Gophers career, will compete at 57kg.
They will be joined by volunteer assistant coach Zach Sanders (57kg) and former Maroon and Gold NCAA Finalists Jayson Ness (65kg), Dylan Ness (70kg), Brett Pfarr (86kg), and Tony Nelson (125kg).
The lone Gophers representative when it comes to Greco-Roman wrestling is Pat Smith (71kg), the 2017 US Open champion and World Team member.
Those who place in the top-seven at the US Open will earn automatic entry to the World Team Trials from May 16-19 in Raleigh, North Carolina. McKee clinched his spot at the trials as the 2018 U23 Men’s Freestyle World Team Trials Champion.
Heavyweight Gable Steveson has also already qualified for the World Team Trials as a 2018 Junior Men’s Freestyle World Team member.
Smith has already secured an automatic qualification to the 2019 World Team Trials as a 2018 Arvo Haavisto Silver medalist.
At the UWW Junior Nationals, six Gophers underclassmen will be competing in Las Vegas. Patrick McKee (57kg), Jake Gliva (61kg), Brayton Lee (70kg), Kasper McIntosh (74kg), Jake Allar (79kg), and Caden Steffen (86kg) will represent the Gophers at the junior level.
Minnesota regional training center members Daniel DeShazer (61kg), Elroy Perkins (70kg), Nazar Kulchytskyy (70kg), and Hayden Zillmer (92kg) will also be competing at the senior level.
All grapplers will be coached by Minnesota Storm head coach and 2006 National Champion Dustin Schlatter.
The senior freestyle competition will last from the morning of Friday, April 26 through afternoon Saturday, April 27.
The UWW Junior’s will begin the afternoon of Friday, April 26 and close out the following evening. For Smith, the Greco-Roman competition begins on Thursday, April 25 in the morning before finishing on Friday evening.
All action can be seen on Flowrestling.com with a Pro subscription.