Lineup Battles Loom For Golden Gophers

University of Minnesota has more depth than they’ve had in a long time

By Matt Krumrie

The Minnesota Gophers head into the 2022-2023 season with talent, experience, and question marks.

It’s a unique mix but should make for a fun and exciting season of Gophers wrestling.

The team has depth, talent, and experience, led by returning All-Americans Patrick McKee (125), Jake Bergeland (141), and Brayton Lee (157). They have experience most college teams would covet, with eight other wrestlers previously qualifying for the NCAA championships. Those eight include Jake Gliva (133), Marcos Polanco (141), Michael Blockhus (149), Cael Carlson (165), Andrew Sparks (165), Bailee O’Reilly (174), Isaiah Salazar (184), Michial Foy (197).

Combined with the returning All-Americans, the Gophers feature a roster with 11 wrestlers who have competed in the biggest tournament in the sport of college wrestling - the NCAA Division I championships.

But they also have question marks at several weights. One of which is, who will emerge at 285 replacing Gable Steveson? Steveson was a man on a mission throughout his Gophers career, ending his career on a 52-match winning streak on his way to three straight undefeated seasons and two consecutive NCAA titles. Steveson, an Olympic Gold medalist, was also a two-time Dan Hodge trophy winner, given annually to the top wrestler in college wrestling.

What’s interesting is that even though the Gophers have question marks, the Gophers lineup includes multiple wrestlers at many weights who can all start and make an impact - because they already have proven to do that.

“One of the things I’m excited about this season is that we have more depth than we’ve had in a long time,” said head coach Brandon Eggum, now in his seventh season as head coach of the Golden Gophers. “You know it’s the nature of the beast that it’s a real physical sport and you’re going to deal with hiccups throughout the season so it’s really important for us to have that depth. I expect to see some guys battling for some spots.”

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