CHATTANOOGA – The University of Minnesota wrestling program completed a full weekend of action at the Southern Scuffle presented by Compound Sportswear on Monday night, as they capped off a top-five team finish inside McKenzie Arena.
The Gophers finished the tournament with ten total placewinners in the event, finishing in fifth place as a team with 96 points.
Aaron Nagao rounded out a 4-1 weekend by placing third at 133 pounds. After falling in the semifinal round to Chattanooga’s Brayden Palmer, Nago responded on the backside with two nice showings, earning a 6-1 decision over Iowa State’s Zach Redding before dominating Bucknell’s Kurt Phipps by a score of 10-3.
141-pounder Jake Bergeland also responded from a semifinal round loss to take third place as he took an overtime thriller over No. 11 Dylan Droegemueller (North Dakota State) in the consolation semifinals, then defeated Rider’s McKenzie Bell in the third-place bout.
Bailee O’Reilly would place fourth on the day after he split his matches during Monday’s action. O’Reilly dropped a 9-3 decision to Missouri’s Peyton Mocco, then battled back on the backside with a 14-4 major decision over Northern Colorado’s Andrew Berreyesa before ultimately forfeiting out of the third-place match.
Fellow Gopher teammates Andrew Sparks and Cael Carlson would battle in the fifth-place bout at 165 pounds, where Sparks would take a 5-3 decision in sudden victory.
Jared Krattiger was the Gophers’ other 174-pound placewinner. He fell to fourth-ranked Dustin Plott (Oklahoma State) by a score of 4-0 in the semifinals, then defaulted out of the remainder of the tournament.
Garrett Joles also placed sixth at heavyweight, as he tallied a 3-3 mark on the weekend.
Minnesota’s final placewinners came at 149 pounds, where Blaine Brenner took a medical forfeit over fellow teammate Marcos Polanco in the seventh-place match. Polanco defeated stud freshman Jordan Williams (Oklahoma State), and Brenner defeated Binghamton’s Michael Zarif to reach the consolation quarterfinals, but both would final in the next round to head to the seventh-place bout.
Troy Spratley was Minnesota’s final placewinner on the day, placing eighth at 125 pounds. Spratley made quick work of Binghamton’s Micah Roes with a fall in 1:07 but would fall in Stanford’s Nico Provo in the next round before medically forfeiting out of the seventh-place match.
Looking ahead, the Gophers will now turn their focus to the Big Ten season as they will hit the road to Evanston, Ill., to take on Northwestern in their first conference competition of the season on Saturday, January 7.