Gophers Head to Akron for U23 Nationals

Seven Gophers are set to compete at U23 Nationals this weekend in Akron, Ohio for an opportunity to represent America at the U23 Senior World Championships in Budapest, Hungary this October.

The list includes Jake Gliva (61kg), Ben Brancale (65kg), Mitch McKee (65kg), Jakob Bergeland (70kg), Alex Crowe (70kg), Devin Skatzka (86kg), and Owen Webster (86kg).

The event, held by the University of Akron in the Louis and Freda Stile Athletic Field House, begins May 31 at 10am CT and runs through June 2. U23 men’s freestyle action will kick off on Saturday June 1.

The tournament features a challenge bracket where the final matchup becomes a best-of-three series.

McKee has advanced to the U23 finals three straight years and has left victorious the past two years. He was the 2017 silver medalist at the Junior World Championships. He also competed in the senior division of the US Open in early May.

Skatzka was a first-time All-American in folkstyle this past season in his first season representing the Maroon and Gold. Webster is experienced in freestyle as a Cadet World Team participant and eventual bronze medalist.

Bergeland has also made a name for himself in freestyle as the 2017 freestyle team national champion and a member of the 2017 Freestyle National Duals All-Tournament Team. Gliva was also part of the 2017 championship team.

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Gophers grapplers have had success in freestyle this summer with Brayton Lee earning a spot on the Junior World Team and Gable Steveson set to compete at Final X:Rutgers with a spot on the Senior World Team at stake. If Steveson falls in Final X, he will have the opportunity to request a wrestle-off for a spot on the U23 team, per USA Wrestling guidelines.

Jake Allar and Tony Nelson earned spots as alternate’s on the junior and senior team’s respectively.

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