ST. LOUIS, MO – A year after his opportunity to win a national title in front of his home state at U.S. Bank Stadium was taken away by the pandemic, junior Gable Steveson reached the pinnacle of college wrestling on Saturday night. His 8-4 decision against No. 2 Mason Parris of Michigan delivered his first NCAA Championship. He celebrated the victory with his trademark backflip on the mat.
Steveson becomes the first Gopher to win a national title since Tony Nelson won back-to-back crowns in 2012-13 and the 18th to win at least one national title. He is the fourth Minnesota heavyweight since 2000 to finish first joining Nelson, Cole Konrad (2006-07) and Brock Lesnar (2000). Only Ohio State has had multiple winners during that period with two.
Just two weeks removed from a 12-4 major decision against Parris in the Big Ten Championship final, Steveson once again gained control early with a first-period takedown. While rarely threatened, the match remained close throughout. After a Parris escape to start the third cut the lead to 3-2, Steveson pulled away with two more takedowns to seal the win.
The two-time Big Ten Champion and three-time All-American finished his junior season with a 17-0 record and has now won 34 matches in a row, which is the 10th-longest streak in school history. Steveson is 67-2 in his career for a school record .971 win percentage.
Earlier in the day, fellow All-Americans Patrick McKee and Brayton Lee competed in the medal round. Seeded 15th at 125 pounds, McKee completed a remarkable run to third place with six straight victories after a Thursday loss in the round of 16.
With three pins on Friday, McKee earned the Gorriaran Award, which is presented to the wrestler with the most pins in the least amount of time. He joins John Panning (1972) and Garrett Lowney (2001) as Gopher honorees. As a team, Minnesota finished with seven falls, which was three more than any other team and more than the Gophers compiled in the last five national tournaments combined.
Lee became a two-time All-American in his first two seasons in the Gopher lineup as he matched his seed with a sixth-place showing at 157 pounds.
As a team, the Gophers earned the program’s ninth top-10 finish in the last 11 years with a seventh-place showing. Steveson’s title moved Minnesota into a tie with Missouri (66.0) and just behind sixth-place NC State (68.0) and fifth place Michigan (69.0). Iowa won its first team title since 2010.
1 Iowa (129.0)
2 Penn State (113.5)
3 Oklahoma State (99.5)
4 Arizona State (74.0)
5 Michigan (69.0)
6 NC State (68.0)
7t Minnesota (64.0)
7t Missouri (64.0)
9 Ohio State (46.5)
10 Northwestern (45.0)
Golden Gopher Results (Numbers listed are seeds)
125 pounds – No. 15 Patrick McKee (7-1 | 3rd Place)
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 dec. No. 7 Taylor LaMont (Utah Valley), 8-3
Third Place: McKee dec. No. 4 Drew Hildebrandt (Central Michigan), 5-3
133 pounds – No. 23 Boo Dryden (1-2 | DNP)
Round of 32: No. 10 Louie Hayes (Virginia) dec. Dryden, 5-2
Consolation1: Dryden pinned No. 26 Darren Miller (Bucknell), 1:36
Consolation2: No. 9 Michael McGee (Arizona State) maj. dec. Dryden, 16-3
141 pounds – No. 28 Marcos Polanco (0-2 | 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 (1-2 | DNP)
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: No. 13 Mitch Moore (Oklahoma) pinned Blockhus, 1:15
157 pounds – No. 6 Brayton Lee (4-3 | Sixth Place)
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: No. 1 Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) maj. dec. Lee, 8-0
Fifth Place: No. 2 Hayden Hidlay (NC State) maj. dec. Lee, 11-2
165 pounds – No. 24 Andrew Sparks (0-2 | 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 (1-2 | DNP)
Round of 32: No. 9 Donnell Washington (Indiana) dec. Allar, 5-3
Consolation1: Allar pinned No. 25 Cody Surratt (Air Force), 5:56
Consolation2: No. 10 Peyton Mocco (Missouri) pinned Allar, 6:25
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 (5-0 | First Place)
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 dec. No. 2 Mason Parris (Michigan), 8-4