MINNEAPOLIS – The Big Ten Conference released pre-seeds for this weekend’s 2021 Big Ten Championships in University Park, Pa. Minnesota enters the week with seven wrestlers seeded top-six in their respective weight classes, including four in the top four.
Defending Big Ten Champion Gable Steveson is the top seed at heavyweight following an undefeated regular season with all nine wins by bonus points. Brayton Lee is the No. 3 seed at 157 pounds a year after finishing fourth as a redshirt freshman. Both earned NWCA All-America honors in 2020.
Sophomore Patrick McKee and Owen Webster are rated fourth at 125 pounds and 184 pounds, respectively. McKee was 6-3 in the regular season with three wins against opponents ranked top six nationally. Unranked midseason, Webster finished the year with four straight wins, including three ranked upsets, to climb to No. 10 in the nation.
Senior Boo Dryden is seeded seventh at 133 pounds and will be making his second appearance at the conference tournament after transferring to Minnesota midway through last season.
Five Gophers will be making their first appearance at the Big Ten Championships, the most since 2016. True freshman Andrew Sparks is seeded fifth at 165 pounds after finishing his first regular season with an 8-1 record. Sophomores Marcos Polanco and Michael Blockhus have No. 6 seeds at 141 and 149 pounds, respectively. Junior Jake Allar is seeded ninth at 174 pounds, while sophomore Garrett Joles is seeded 11th at 197 pounds.
The pre-seeds, as voted on by the conference’s coaches, rank 14 starters in all 10 weight classes. Final brackets and official seeds will be released on Friday afternoon.
The 2021 Big Ten Championships, hosted by Penn State, will begin on Saturday at 9 a.m. with the finals scheduled for Sunday at 3 p.m. BTN will provide live coverage, while BTN+ will stream all individual mats.
Golden Gopher Pre-Seeds
125: No. 4 Patrick McKee
133: No. 7 Boo Dryden
141: No. 6 Marcos Polanco
149: No. 6 Michael Blockhus
157: No. 3 Brayton Lee
165: No. 5 Andrew Sparks
174: No. 9 Jake Allar
184: No. 4 Owen Webster
197: No. 11 Garrett Joles
HWT: No. 1 Gable Steveson