Meet the Gopher Freshmen: Sam Skillings

As we continue our “Meet the Freshmen” series, Golden Gopher wrestling welcomes another newcomer to the squad, Sam Skillings. Skillings, a Menomonie, Wisconsin native, is two-time state-placewinner at 182 pounds. He finished runner-up as a junior in 2019, before coming back for 3rd place as senior, after recovering from a broken leg. Skillings has also showcased his talents in Freestyle and Greco-Roman, earning medals in multiple prestigious events such as Cadet Nationals and Northern Plains.

Read about his thoughts on representing the Maroon & Gold, and how one former Gopher Wrestling great helped lead him to where he is today.

GopherSports: What made you choose the University of Minnesota?
Skillings: I chose Minnesota because I felt like it was my best opportunity to succeed in both academics and athletics. The coaches here know the sport and know what it takes to be the best. I also felt like they saw potential in me and would be able to help me advance to the next level. With the quality and caliber of teammates in the room, I was excited at the prospect of being a part of a winning team.

GS: What makes you the most excited about being a Golden Gopher wrestler?
Skillings: I am excited about being a Golden Gopher for many different reasons. The University, the support system, the coaches, the advisors, the guys, just to name a few. I also cannot wait to carry on the tradition here in Minnesota. I’m looking forward to the duals in Maturi Pavillion and being a part of a winning team.

GS: How would you describe your wrestling style?
Skillings: I would describe myself as being a gritty wrestler and someone who gets after it on the mat.

GS: Do you have any hobbies or special interests?
Skillings: Since I was little, I have been an avid hunter. I enjoy spending lots of time outdoors with my dad, doing things such as fishing, hunting and just being outside. Whitetail archery season is something that I look forward to each year.

GS: What is your planned major?
Skillings: As of right now, I am planning on majoring in Construction Management.


  • Favorite Gopher Wrestler of All-Time: Tim Hartung. He coached multiple summer camps at my wrestling club when I was a kid. I grew up watching and looking up to Tim, since he is a two-time NCAA Champion.
  • Favorite Movies: Tommy Boy, Miracle, and American Sniper.
  • Favorite Color: Maroon
  • Favorite Music: Huge fan of country music.
  • Favorite Athlete: Jordy Nelson

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