Steveson Seeded Second; Six Alums Set for Olympic Trials

NCAA Champion and Hodge Trophy winner Gable Steveson will be the No. 2 seed at 125 kg for this weekend’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials. The two-day tournament will be held Friday and Saturday at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.

Steveson will join five Gopher Wrestling alums – Sean Russell, Zach Sanders, Mitch McKee, Brett Pfarr and Tony Nelson – in vying for a spot in men’s freestyle on Team USA for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. In addition, Pat Smith is the No. 3 seed at 77kg in Greco-Roman.

Steveson’s bracket features many familiar faces, including top seed Nick Gwiazdowski, a two-time bronze medalist at the World Championships and former two-time NCAA Champion at N.C. State. Gwiazdowski won the first two meetings at the Final X_Rutgers in June 2019, but Steveson won the last matchup by a 4-1 decision at the 2020 RTC Cup this past December. A two-time NCAA Champion and frequent training partner for Steveson, Nelson is the fifth seed at 125 kg.

At 57kg, Russell and Sanders are seeded 8th and 10th, respectively. McKee is the 11th seed at 65kg, while Pfarr is ninth at 86kg. Competing as part of the Gopher Wrestling Club Regional Training Center, Hayden Zillmer is seeded second at 97kg. He is a former two-time NCAA Champion at North Dakota State.

This week’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials were originally scheduled for April 2020 at Penn State, but were postponed and moved to Fort Worth, Texas, due to the pandemic. Challenge tournaments on Friday will produce finalists for Saturday’s best-of-three championship series. One champion at each weight in Greco-Roman, men’s freestyle and women’s freestyle will make up the 18-person U.S. Olympic Team.

Golden Gopher Freestyle Participants (Years competed at Minnesota)
57kg: No. 8 Sean Russell (2018-19)
57kg: No. 10 Zach Sanders (2007-12)
65kg: No. 11 Mitch McKee (2016-20)
86kg: No. 9 Brett Pfarr (2012-17)
97kg: No. 2 Hayden Zillmer*
125kg: No. 1 Gable Steveson (2018-present)
125kg: No. 5 Tony Nelson (2009-14)
*competing as part of Gopher Wrestling Club RTC

Golden Gopher Greco-Roman Participants
77kg: No. 3 Pat Smith (2009-15)

U.S. Olympic Team Trials Schedule

Friday, April 2Time (CT)    Network
Challenge Tournaments10 a.m.Peacock
Challenge Tournament Finals Mat 26:30 p.m.NBCSN
Challenge Tournament Finals Mats 1, 3, 46:30 p.m.Peacock
Saturday, April 3Time (CT)    Network
Challenge Tournament ConsolationsNoon Peacock
Championship Series Mat 26:30 p.m.NBCSN
Championship Series Mats 1, 3, 46:30 p.m.Peacock

Golden Gopher Olympians

Dan Chandler1976-80-84Greco-Roman
Jake Deitchler2008  Greco-Roman
Michial Foy1988-92Greco-Roman
Evan Johnson1976Greco-Roman
Garrett Lowney (2000 Bronze)2000-04Greco-Roman
Jim Martinez1984Greco-Roman
Gordy Morgan1996Greco-Roman
Brandon Paulson (1996 Silver)1996Greco-Roman
Alan Rice1956Greco-Roman
David Zuniga1996Greco-Roman

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