Steveson, Lee Advances to Quarters; Gophers in Seventh

ST. LOUIS, MO – Gable Steveson and Brayton Lee advanced to the quarterfinals on day one of the NCAA Championships in St. Louis, Mo. Five more Gophers remain alive in the consolation bracket as Minnesota sits in seventh place with 16.5 points. Iowa leads the team race against Penn State by a 33.5-28.0 margin.

The top seed at heavyweight, Steveson extended his career best win streak to 31 matches with two dominant victories. After a pin in 1:27 against No. 32 Taye Ghadiaki of Campbell, Steveson dispatched No. 17 Wyatt Hendrickson of Air Force by a 17-2 technical fall in the round of 16. He racked up five takedowns and three near falls for his 14th straight win with bonus points this season.

Steveson will square off against redshirt freshman Greg Kerkvliet of Penn State in tomorrow’s quarterfinal. It will be a meeting of four-time Minnesota state champions as Steveson won four prep titles at Apple Valley, while Kerkvliet was a four-time winner out of Simley.

Lee advanced with a pair of tight wins at 157 pounds while allowing just one takedown in 14 minutes of action. Against Connor Brady of Virginia Tech, Lee led 1-0 after a second-period escape and proceeded to keep the Hokie on the mat for the final two minutes for a 2-0 decision. Lee gave up an early takedown against No. 11 Jacob Teemer of Arizona State, but answered with one of his own to lead 3-2 after the first period. The pair traded escapes over the final two periods as Lee’s defense sealed the 4-3 win.

Lee will meet No. 3 seed David Carr of Iowa State. Carr is 19-0 on the year and advanced to the quarterfinals with a pair of major decisions.

A trio of Gophers – No. 15 Patrick McKee, No. 14 Michael Blockhus and No. 17 Owen Webster – opened the tournament with wins, but fell in the Round of 16. At 125 pounds, McKee trailed 6-0 entering the third period against No. 18 Noah Surtin of Missouri, but erupted with three takedowns and three near falls for a 15-8 decision. He dropped into the consolation bracket after a narrow 3-1 setback against No. 2 Sam Latona of Virginia Tech.

Blockhus earned bonus points in a 10-0 major decision against No. 19 Casey Cobb of Navy at 149 pounds. His upset bid in the round of 16 fell short in a 4-2 decision against No. 3 Brock Mauller of Missouri.

In a battle of Big Ten foes at 184 pounds, Webster outlasted No. 16 Max Lyon of Purdue with a third-period takedown for a 5-3 decision. It was the lone win by a Gopher over a higher seed on day one. His run in the championship bracket ended with a 5-0 decision against top-ranked Aaron Brooks of Penn State in the round of 16.

Two Gophers rebounded from first round losses in impressive fashion. No. 23 Boo Dryden pinned No. 26 Darren Miller of Bucknell in 1:36 to advance in the 133-pound consolation bracket. No. 17 Jake Allar followed at 174 pounds with a fall against No. 25 Cody Surratt of Air Force in 5:56. The pins added two points to Minnesota’s total.

Redshirt freshman Marcos Polanco at 141 pounds and true freshman Andrew Sparks at 165 pounds were eliminated in their first appearance at the national tournament.

Wrestling continues at the NCAA Championships on Friday at 10 a.m. with quarterfinal matches and more consolation action. Semifinal matches will be held tomorrow night beginning at 7 p.m.

Team Standings
1 Iowa (33.5)
2 Penn State (28.0)
3 Missouri (23.5)
4 NC State (21.0)
5 Oklahoma State (20.0)
6 Arizona State (19.5)
7 Minnesota (16.5)
8 Michigan (16.0)
9t Nebraska (14.5)
9t Virginia Tech (14.5)

Golden Gopher Results (Numbers listed are seeds)

125 pounds – No. 15 Patrick McKee
Round of 32: McKee dec. No. 18 Noah Surtin (Missouri), 15-8
Round of 16: No. 2 Sam Latona (Virginia Tech) dec. McKee, 3-1
Consolation2: McKee vs. No. 16 Codi Russell (Appalachian State)

133 pounds – No. 23 Boo Dryden
Round of 32: No. 10 Louie Hayes (Virginia) dec. Dryden, 5-2
Consolation1: Dryden pinned No. 26 Darren Miller (Bucknell), 1:36
Consolation2: Dryden vs. No. 9 Michael McGee (Arizona State)

141 pounds – No. 28 Marcos Polanco (DNP)
Round of 32: No. 5 Dom Demas (Oklahoma) dec. Polanco, 6-2
Consolation1: No. 12 Grant Willitts (Oregon State) dec. Polanco, 4-0

149 pounds – No. 14 Michael Blockhus
Round of 32: Blockhus maj. dec. #19 Casey Cobb (Navy), 10-0
Round of 16: No. 3 Brock Mauller (Missouri) dec. Blockhus, 4-2
Consolation2: Blockhus vs. No. 13 Mitch Moore (Oklahoma)

157 pounds – No. 6 Brayton Lee
Round of 32: Lee dec. #27 Connor Brady (Virginia Tech), 2-0
Round of 16: Lee dec. No. 11 Jacori Teemer (Arizona State), 4-3
Quarterfinals: Lee vs. No. 3 David Carr (Iowa State)

165 pounds – No. 24 Andrew Sparks (DNP)
Round of 32: No. 9 Luke Weber (NDSU) dec. Sparks, 8-5
Consolation1: No. 25 Jake Tucker (Michigan State) dec. Sparks, 5-2

174 pounds – No. 24 Jake Allar
Round of 32: No. 9 Donnell Washington (Indiana) dec. Allar, 5-3
Consolation1: Allar pinned No. 25 Cody Surratt (Air Force), 5:56
Consolation2: Allar vs. No. 10 Peyton Mocco (Missouri)

184 pounds – No. 17 Owen Webster
Round of 32: Webster dec. No. 16 Max Lyon (Purdue), 5-3
Round of 16: No. 1 Aaron Brooks (Penn State) dec. Webster, 5-0
Consolation2: Webster vs. No. 31 Ryan Reyes (Oregon State)

Heavyweight – No. 1 Gable Steveson
Round of 32: Steveson pins No. 32 Taye Ghadiaki (Campbell), 1:27
Round of 16: Steveson tech fall No. 17 Wyatt Hendrickson (Air Force), 17-2 6:41
Quarterfinals: Steveson vs. No. 9 Greg Kerkvliet (Penn State)

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