Ortiz Wins Title; Gophers Compete at UWW Nationals

A contingent of current and former Golden Gopher wrestlers competed at the UWW Junior and Senior Nationals at the Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa. The top five finishers at each weight class in the senior division qualify for the 2021 World Team Trials in September.

Representing the Minnesota Storm, Alec Ortiz won his first Greco-Roman national title with a 2-1 win against Ryan Epps in the 77kg finals. Ortiz was a four-year letterwinner for the Gophers from 2009-14.

In the Senior Nationals freestyle division, two-time All-American Brayton Lee and Gopher alum Devin Skatzka qualified for the 2021 World Team Trials with third-place finishes.

Gary Mayabb, 77kg Greco-Roman Senior National Champion Alec Ortiz, and Pat Smith. Photo Sam Janicki.

Lee rebounded from a narrow 4-2 loss in the semifinals against two-time World medalist James Green with a 4-2 win against sixth-seed Yahya Thomas in the 70kg consolation semifinals. He finished with a 5-1 record in the tournament after clinching third place due to a medical forfeit. Lee recently completed his sophomore season with the Gophers with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships.

Skatzka reached the 79kg semifinals with four straight wins by a combined 46-1 point advantage. After his loss to top seed Isaiah Martinez, he pinned ninth-seeded Muhamed McBryde in the consolation semifinals and shut out fourth-seeded Michael O’Malley, 10-0, in the third-place match. Skatzka was a two-time All-American for the Gophers in 2019-20 after spending two seasons at Indiana University.

After falling to No. 3 seed Domonick Demas in his first match, junior Jake Bergeland responded with four straight victories to reach the consolation semifinals. He finished in sixth place at 65kg. Sophomore Michael Blockhus had a 4-2 record, including a 9-5 upset of fourth-seeded Jake Keating in the seventh-place match.

In the Junior Nationals division, sophomore Matt Ramos won his final six matches to claim third place at 57kg. Redshirt freshmen Marcos Polanco and Rowan Morgan finished with 2-2 records at 65kg and 92kg, respectively.

Senior Greco-Roman Results

77kg – No. 1 Alec Ortiz (First Place – 4-3 record)
Quarterfinals: Ortiz VSU Zachary Grimes (Colorado), 9-0
Semifinals: Ortiz VP01 No. 4 Fritz Schierl (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club), 6-3
Finals: Ortiz VP01 No. 3 Ryan Epps (Minnesota Storm), 2-1

Senior Freestyle Results

65kg – Jake Bergeland (Sixth Place – 4-3 record)
Rd of 16: No 3 Domonick Demas (Oklahoma RTC) VP0 Bergeland, 7-0
Cons16#2: Bergeland VSU Taylor Summers (Western Colorado Wrestling Club), 10-0
Cons8#1: Bergeland VSU Wil Guida (Tar Heel Wrestling Club), 10-0
Cons8#2: Bergeland VSU Noah Hermosillo (Cool Sunshine Wrestling), 19-9
Cons4: Bergeland VSU Dylan Droegemueller (Bison Wrestling Club), 11-0
ConsSemis: No. 2 Patricio Lugo (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club) VSU Bergeland, 10-0
Fifth Place: Henry Pohlmeyer (Wisconsin) VP01 Bergeland, 8-7

70kg – Michael Blockhus (Seventh Place – 4-2 record)
Rd of 32: No. 3 Tyler Berger (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) VP01, 10-7
Cons16#1: Blockhus VSU1 Micah Arakawa (Grapplers HI), 15-4
Cons16#2: Blockhus VSU John Arceri (New York), 10-0
Cons8#1: Blockhus VSU1 No. 7 Parker Kropman (Pennsylvania RTC), 18-8
Cons4: No. 6 Yahya Thomas (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club) VP0 Blockhus, 8-0
Seventh Place: Blockhus VP01 No. 4 Jake Keating (Cavalier Wrestling Club), 9-5

70kg – No. 5 Brayton Lee (Third Place – 5-1 record)
Rd of 32: Lee VSU Graham Rooks (Indiana RTC), 10-0
Rd of 16: Lee VSU Jordin Humphrey (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club), 10-0
Quarterfinals: Lee VSU No. 4 Jake Keating (Cavalier Wrestling Club), 11-0
Semifinals: No. 1 James Green (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club) VP01 Lee, 4-2
ConsSemis: Lee VP01 No. 6 Yahya Thomas (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club), 4-2
Third Place: Lee VIN No. 3 Tyler Berger (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club)

79kg – No. 5 Devin Skatzka (Third Place – 6-1 record)
Rd of 64: Skatzka VSU1 Kyle Hatch (Indiana), 14-1
Rd of 32: Skatzka VSU Casey Randles (Idaho), 10-0
Rd of 16: Skatzka VSU Jacob Schwebke (Iowa), 12-0
Quarterfinals: Skatzka VSU Josh Kim (New England RTC), 10-0
Semifinals: No. 1 Isaiah Martinez (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club) VFA Skatzka, 3:25
ConsSemis: Skatzka VFA No. 9 Muhamed McBryde (New York Athletic Club), 1:49
Third Place: Skatzka VSU No. 4 Michael O’Malley (Pennsylvania RTC), 10-0

Junior Freestyle Results

57kg – Matt Ramos (Third Place – 7-1 record)
Rd of 32: Ramos VFA Davian Guanajuato (Arizona), 1:14
Rd of 16: Richard Figueroa II (California) VSU1 Ramos, 14-1
Cons16#2: Ramos VSU1 Gabe Whisenhunt (Mat Sense Wrestling), 13-2
Cons8#1: Ramos VP01 Troy Spratley (Texas Pride Wrestling Club), 7-7
Cons8#2: Ramos VP01 Tristan Lujan (Michigan Wrestling Club), 6-2
Cons4: Ramos VSU Hunter Adrian (Massachusetts), 12-0
ConsSemis: Ramos VP01 Drake Ayala (Sebolt Wrestling Academy), 10-3
Third Place: Ramos VP01 Cooper Flynn (Tennessee), 9-4

65kg – Marcos Polanco (2-2 record)
Rd of 64: Polanco VP01 JaKerion Merritt (Central Michigan Wrestling Club), 8-7
Rd of 32: Polanco VSU Jack Marlow (Bulls Wrestling Club), 1:01
Rd of 16: Beau Bartlett (Penn State Wrestling Club) VSU Polanco, 10-0
Cons16#2: Matthew Bianchi (Askren Wrestling Academy) VP01 Polanco, 10-7

92kg – Rowan Morgan (2-2 record)
Rd of 32: Morgan VSU Zackery Burroughs (Ohio), 10-0
Rd of 16: Morgan VSU1 Cory Day (New York), 18-8
Qtrs: Zach Glazier (Hawkeye Wrestling Club) VSU Morgan, 10-0
Cons8#2: John Gunderson (Baraboo Wrestling Club) VSU1 Morgan, 18-4

Check out Gopher Wrestling at gophersports.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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