ST. LOUIS, MO – Junior heavyweight Gable Steveson will wrestle for a national title on Saturday night at the NCAA Championships in St. Louis. In addition to Steveson, sophomores Patrick McKee and Brayton Lee earned All-America status as the Gophers sit in eighth place in the team race.
Steveson advanced with a 16-6 major decision against fifth-seeded Tony Cassioppi of Iowa. Seeking his fourth win against his Hawkeye foe and second straight major, Steveson scored at will with seven takedowns beginning with his first just 11 seconds into the match.
With his sights set on his first national title, Steveson will face a familiar foe in No. 2 Mason Parris of Michigan. The two have squared off in the last two Big Ten title bouts with Steveson prevailing twice. Two weeks ago, he dominated the Wolverine with a 12-0 major decision. Steveson has now won 33 matches in a row, which is tied for 10th-longest in program history.
Steveson is Minnesota’s first NCAA finalist since Ethan Lizak and Brett Pfarr were runners-up in 2017 and would be the Gophers’ first national champion since Tony Nelson won back-to-back titles in 2012-13. Minnesota has won five heavyweight titles since 2000 with a nation-best three different wrestlers – Brock Lesnar, Cole Konrad and Nelson.
McKee had a spectacular day beginning with two pins to start the morning session. Needing one more win to become a first-time All-American at 125 pounds, McKee upset fifth-seeded Brody Teske of Northern Iowa, 9-2. He ended the day with this tournament-leading third pin against Wisconsin’s Eric Barnett. McKee will face No. 7 Taylor Lamont of Utah Valley for a spot in the third-place match.
After earning NWCA first-team honors in 2020, Lee became a two-time All-American with a 4-1 decision against No. 7 Jeremy Jacques of Missouri. He will wrestle for a berth in the 157-pound third-place match after earning a 3-2 victory against No. 5 Kaleb Young of Iowa. Young had defeated Lee twice in overtime this season, including in the semifinals of the Big Ten Championships. Lee has given up just two takedowns in his five matches and will face top-seeded Ryan Deakin of Northwestern. Deakin’s 30-match win streak was snapped in an upset loss in tonight’s semifinal.
Fifth-year senior Owen Webster fell one win shy of becoming an All-American following a 6-1 decision against No. 3 Lou Deprez of Binghamton. Seeded 17th at 184 pounds, Webster finished 3-2 in his first NCAA Championship, including two wins over higher seeds. He began the day with a pin of No. 9 Jeremiah Kent of Missouri. Webster finishes his career as a two-time NCAA qualifier with a 48-30 record after being a 2017 Division III All-American at Augsburg.
The Golden Gophers sit in eighth place with 55.5 points, but just three points behind fifth-place Michigan. Minnesota has been bolstered by a tournament-best seven pins, three more than any other team.
The NCAA Championships continue Saturday morning at 10 a.m. with the placement round. The session will air on ESPNU. The NCAA Championship finals will air live on ESPN at 6 p.m.
1 Iowa (109.0)
2 Penn State (94.5)
3 Oklahoma State (86.5)
4 Arizona State (67.0)
5 Michigan (58.5)
6t Missouri (56.5)
6t NC State (56.5)
8 Minnesota (55.5)
9 Ohio State (45.5)
10 Pittsburgh (40.5)
Golden Gopher Results (Numbers listed are seeds)
125 pounds – No. 15 Patrick McKee (All-American)
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 pinned No. 16 Codi Russell (Appalachian State), 2:00
Consolation3: McKee pinned No. 23 Robert Howard (Penn State), 2:04
Consolation4: McKee dec. No. 5 Brody Teske (Northern Iowa), 9-2
Consolation5: McKee pinned No. 19 Eric Barnett (Wisconsin), 6:06
Consolation6: McKee vs. No. 7 Taylor LaMont (Utah Valley)
157 pounds – No. 6 Brayton Lee (All-American)
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: No. 3 David Carr (Iowa State) dec. Lee, 4-2 SV1
Consolation4: Lee dec. No. 7 Jeremy Jacques (Missouri), 4-1
Consolation5: Lee dec. No. 5 Kaleb Young (Iowa), 3-2
Consolation6: Lee vs. No. 1 Ryan Deakin (Northwestern)
184 pounds – No. 17 Owen Webster (3-2 | DNP)
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 dec. No. 31 Ryan Reyes (Oregon State), 4-1
Consolation3: Webster pinned No. 9 Jeremiah Kent (Missouri), 2:32
Consolation4: No. 3 Lou Deprez (Binghamton) dec. Webster, 6-1
Heavyweight – No. 1 Gable Steveson (All-American)
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 dec. No. 9 Greg Kerkvliet (Penn State), 9-4
Semifinals: Steveson maj. dec. No. 5 Tony Cassioppi (Iowa), 16-6
Championship: Steveson vs. No. 2 Mason Parris (Michigan)