MINNEAPOLIS – Head Coach Brandon Eggum and the University of Minnesota wrestling program announced the addition of four incoming student-athletes for the Class of 2023, as Max McEnelly, Gavin Nelson, Ethan Riddle, and Rhett Koenig are all set to join the program next season.
“We’re really excited for this class. They’re not only great wrestlers, but also great people. That’s something that’s important to our coaching staff and our team. We have a great culture, and we want people who help us on and off the mat. These guys fit into our culture,” head coach Brandon Eggum said.
Max McEnelly, a Waconia, Minn. native, is a three-time Minnesota state champion for Waconia high school, posting a perfect 138-0 record in his past three prep seasons. He slots in as the pound-for-pound best wrestler in the state of Minnesota according to The Guillotine and is ranked as the No. 8 recruit in MatScouts’ Class of 2023 Big Board. McEnelly is also highly accomplished in freestyle, becoming a Fargo national champion in 2021 and a U17 World bronze medalist this past summer at 92-kilograms.
“We’re really excited about Max and what he can bring to our program. He’s already shown that he’s one of the best wrestlers not only in the state of Minnesota or in the nation, but one of the best wrestlers in the world,” said Coach Eggum. “He has an outstanding work ethic and a great attitude, and we’re looking forward to having him in the room and helping him develop because I know he is chomping at the bit to wrestle at the collegiate level.”
Gavin Nelson hails from Inver Grove Heights, Minn., and is a two-time state champion for Simley high school under head coach and Gopher alumni Will Short. Nelson is a four-time state placewinner and the second-ranked pound-for-pound wrestler in Minnesota per TheGuillotine. Nelson is also a highly-touted recruit nationally as the No. 23 wrestler in MatScouts Class of 2023 Big Board and was also a 2021 Cadet World Team member at 92-kilograms.
“Gavin is another one of those highly-touted recruits in the nation, and we’re really happy to have him in a Gopher singlet,” said Coach Eggum. “He’s one of those guys that committed to us early on in the process, and we’ve really been able to build a strong relationship with him. He’s been determined since a young age to excel in our sport and win at the highest level, and we’ve been really impressed with his drive and desire to get better each and every day.”
Heading across the border, Ethan Riddle comes out of Germantown, Wis. Riddle earned his first Wisconsin state title at 160 pounds in Division-I and is a two-time state placewinner and three-time state qualifier. WIWrestle has Riddle ranked as the No. 8 pound-for-pound senior in the state of Wisconsin, and MatScouts puts Riddle at No. 138 in the Class of 2023 Big Board.
“It has been really fun to watch Ethan’s progression throughout the summer and into this current preseason,” said Coach Eggum. “He’s competing at a very high level and has continued to beat some of the top guys in the country. He wrestles loose, he scores a lot of points, and he’s going to be a great asset to our team. He’s really showing the trajectory that he’s on right now, and we’re excited to watch him continue to develop into one of the nation’s top wrestlers this season.”
The final signing of the class is yet another Wisconsin native Rhett Koenig, hailing out of Prairie Du Chien, Wis. Koenig is a three-time Wisconsin state champion in Division-III, and currently holds a 119-9 career prep record. Koenig also excels academically, sitting at the top of his class with a 4.0 GPA.
“Rhett is really a hard-nosed individual who wrestles at an extremely high pace, and that type of wrestling always goes a long way in our sport,” coach Eggum said. “We think his style is going to mesh well in collegiate wrestling and in the Big Ten Conference, and all of his attributes along with his positive attitude bodes well for his future. If you look at his work ethic not only on the mat but also in the classroom, I think that speaks volumes about the type of person he is.”
The “U” opens their regular season this weekend on Saturday, November 12 as they head to Fargo, N.D. for the Bison Open. Minnesota’s home opener comes on Sunday, November 20 as they play host to Binghamton inside Maturi Pavilion.