Gophers Prep for UNI Open in Cedar Falls

MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota is set for their fourth road trip in five weeks, as they will travel south to Cedar Falls, Iowa this weekend to participate in the UNI Open on Saturday, Dec. 11. The Gophers are expected to bring the majority of the roster to the event, with several grapplers competing unattached.

The last time the Gophers were represented in the UNI Open was back in 2018 where three Minnesota wrestlers competed in the finals, including current 125-pounder Patrick McKee.

Among the schools expected to be in attendance are host school Northern Iowa, Iowa State, Missouri, and Wisconsin, with other Division-I programs expected to register some of their backup wrestlers as well.

Fans can follow along with live updates on Twitter at @GopherWrestling, or they can check in to the tournament page for live results and bracket updates here.

McKee’s Stacked Slate
This weekend’s 125-pound bracket has the potential to be one of the best open tournament brackets of the season, as there could be as many as five ranked competitors in the bracket if all wrestlers attend. McKee, who is currently slotted in at No. 8 in the FloWrestling polls, could face the likes of No. 12 Eric Barnett (Wisconsin), No. 13 Brody Teske (Northern Iowa), No. 17 Noah Surtin (Missouri), and No. 23 Kysen Terukina (Iowa State). Against the field, McKee holds a 5-1 record with two falls and one major decision.

NCAA Finals Preview?
If the stars align in Cedar Falls on Saturday evening, we could see a feature bout between two national title contenders in No. 4 Brayton Lee, and the reigning NCAA champ David Carr of Iowa State. These two competitors met last season at the NCAA Championships, as Lee gave Carr his toughest match of the tournament, but ultimately fell in sudden victory, 4-2. Now, this early season clash could give us a sneak preview of a potential championship showdown in March.

The Old Stomping Grounds
This weekend’s UNI Open will be a familiar scene for at least one Gopher wrestler, as Michael Blockhus will return to Cedar Falls for the first time since transferring to Minnesota in November of 2020. This will be Blockhus’ second time competing in the event, as he placed 4th in the 141 pound bracket in 2018.

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