FORT WORTH, TEXAS – A remarkable four-week span for Minnesota junior Gable Steveson was capped with a first-place finish at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials on Saturday night. Steveson defeated top-seed Nick Gwiazdowski twice to earn a spot on Team USA for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
Steveson put on a clinic against the former two-time World Championship bronze medalist. He jumped ahead in match one of the best-of-three series with a takedown and leg lace to take a 4-0 lead. Leading 6-0 after the first period, he recorded back-to-back takedowns to secure his third straight technical fall by a 10-0 margin.
Steveson clinched the title with a 10-4 decision in the second match. He scored a pair of first-period takedowns and extended his lead to 8-1 with two more in the second. Gwiazdowski did not allow a point in his first two matches on Friday, but was outscored 20-4 against his Golden Gopher counterpart. Steveson had a 42-4 point advantage in his four matches in the tournament.
Steveson has put together one of the greatest months in the history of Gopher Athletics. He won his second straight title and was named Most Outstanding Wrestler at the Big Ten Championships on Saturday, March 7. Two weeks later, he captured his first NCAA title in St. Louis. This past Monday, he became the second Gopher to win the Dan Hodge Trophy, given to the nation’s top collegiate wrestler.
Steveson becomes the 11th Gopher to qualify for the Olympics and the first since Jake Deitchler in 2008.
Wrestling at the 2020 Olympic Games will be contested August 1-7, 2021 at Makuhari Messe Hall A in Chiba Prefecture, Japan.
Golden Gopher Olympians
|Brandon Paulson (1996 Silver)||1996||Greco-Roman|
|Garrett Lowney (2000 Bronze)||2000-04||Greco-Roman|
Golden Gopher Results (Numbers listed are seeds)
57kg – No. 9 Zach Sanders (0-2)
Pigtails: No. 8 Zane Richards (Illinois RTC) tech. fall Sanders, 10-0
Consolation: No. 7 Sean Russell (Gopher Wrestling Club RTC) dec. Sanders, 6-4
57kg – No. 7 Sean Russell (1-2)
Quarterfinal: No. 2 Daton Fix (Cowboy RTC/TMWC) tech. fall Russell, 11-0
Consolation: Russell dec. No. 9 Zach Sanders (Gopher Wrestling Club RTC), 6-4
Consolation: No. 6 Nathan Tomasello (TMWC) dec. Russell, 13-6
65kg – No. 11 Mitch McKee (2-2)
Pigtails: No. 6 Nick Lee (Nittany Lion WC/TMWC) tech. fall McKee, 14-2
Consolation: McKee over No. 4 James Green (TMWC/ SERTC), Forfeit
Consolation: McKee tech. fall No. 10 Evan Henderson (Spartan Combat RTC/TMWC), 13-3
Consolation: Yianni Diakomihalis (Spartan Combat RTC/TMWC) tech. fall McKee, 14-4
77kg Greco-Roman – No. 3 Pat Smith (2-2)
Quarterfinals: Smith dec. No. 6 Mason Manville (U.S. Army WCAP), 2-1
Semifinals: No. 10 Jesse Porter (NYAC) dec. Smith, 5-3
Consolation: Smith pins Austin Morrow (NYAC), 2:28
Third-Place Match: No. 2 RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC) dec. Smith, 4-0
86kg: No. 9 Brett Pfarr (1-2)
Pigtails: Pfarr dec. No. 8 Samuel Brooks (Hawkeye WC/NYAC), 9-3
Quarterfinals: No. 1 David Taylor (Nittany Lion WC/TMWC) tech. fall Pfarr, 11-0
Consolation: No. 7 Nate Jackson (New Jersey RTC/NYAC) dec. Pfarr, 9-2
125kg: No. 5 Tony Nelson (2-2)
Quarterfinals: No. 4 Dom Bradley (Tiger Style RTC/Sunkist Kids) dec. Nelson, 4-3
Consolation: Nelson dec. No. 8 Garrett Ryan (Sunkist Kids), 4-0
Consolation: Nelson dec. No. 7 Daniel Kerkvliet (Nittany Lion WC/TMWC), 3-1
Third-Place Match: No. 3 Mason Parris (Cliff Keen WC) dec. Nelson, 6-3
125kg: No. 2 Gable Steveson (4-0 | First Place)
Quarterfinals: Steveson tech. fall No. 7 Tanner Hall (Sunkist Kids), 11-0
Semifinals: Steveson tech. fall No. 6 Daniel Kerkvliet (Nittany Lion WC/TMWC), 11-0
Finals #1: Steveson tech. fall No. 1 Nick Gwiazdowski (Wolfpack RTC/TMWC), 10-0
Finals #1: Steveson dec. No. 1 Nick Gwiazdowski (Wolfpack RTC/TMWC), 10-4