MINNEAPOLIS – The No. 11 University of Minnesota wrestling program (11-2, 4-2 B1G) is set for their home finale on Friday night, as they look to go undefeated at home for the first time since the 2014-15 season against the No. 2 Iowa Hawkeyes (12-1, 5-1 B1G) inside Maturi Pavilion at 8:00 p.m. CST.
The dual will be broadcasted live on Big Ten Network with Ray Flores and Tim Johnson on the call. Fans can also follow along to match-by-match updates on Twitter at @GopherWrestling.
Minnesota is coming off the heels of a 24-9 win over No. 17 Illinois, where the Gophers claimed seven of the ten bouts, including three upset victories from Jake Bergeland, Cael Carlson, and Bailee O’Reilly
Tale of the Tape – The Hawkeyes
A recurring national powerhouse under head coach Tom Brands, the Iowa Hawkeyes come into the weekend as the second-ranked team in the country, suffering their first setback of the season last Friday night in a 23-14 loss against No. 1 Penn State.
Iowa houses a total of ten ranked wrestlers in their lineup, being led by three-time NCAA champion Spencer Lee and 2022 NCAA finalist Jacob Warner. The Hawkeyes also have some new faces in the lineup this season, with transfer additions Brody Teske and Real Woods, as well as first-year starters Cobe Siebrecht and Patrick Kennedy.
The Series with the Illinois
The Iowa Hawkeyes hold the all-time series lead over Minnesota with a record of 28-78-1 in a series that dates back to the 1922-23 season. Iowa has gotten the better of the Gophers in recent history, winning each of the last eight contests against the Maroon & Gold. The Gophers will look to get back in the win column this Friday night, as they look for their first win in the series since 2014, when they walked into Carver-Hawkeye arena and claimed a 19-15 victory.
First Meeting: L, 2-18 (2/21/1923)
Last Meeting: L, 10-22 (1/7/2022)
Longest Win Streak: W6 (1935-36 season-1941-42 season)
Longest Losing Streak: L19 (1/19/1974-1/30/1993)
Current Streak: L8 (1/30/2015-1/7/2022)
The Gophers traveled to Iowa City last January to compete against the Hawkeyes in their Big Ten opener, ultimately falling to the Hawkeyes by a score of 22-10. Iowa would claim seven of the ten contests, with Gable Steveson, Patrick McKee, and Brayton Lee getting their hand raised for the Maroon & Gold. With the dual kicking off at 165 pounds, Steveson would put Minnesota on the board first with a major decision over Tony Cassioppi. McKee by spoiling the debut of Drake Ayala with a 8-4 decision, before Brayton Lee closed out the dual with a 4-3 win over Kaleb Young, securing the winning takedown in the final 30 seconds of the bout.
With 20 ranked wrestlers amongst the two teams, Friday night’s dual could see a ranked matchup in all ten of the bouts.
The feature bout of the night comes at 125 pounds, as No. 6 Patrick McKee looks for the statement win of his career against top-ranked Spencer Lee.
2022 All-American Jake Bergeland will look for his second straight top-10 victory, as he is slated to compete against No. 2 Real Woods.
Michael Blockhus will look to break through for the first career win over No. 6 Max Murin at 149 pounds.
Either Andrew Sparks or Cael Carlson will see a great opportunity against a top-10 foe in Patrick Kennedy at 165 pounds.
No. 11 Bailee O’Reilly looks for his 75th career victory at 174 pounds, as he will toe the line against ranked competitor Nelson Brands.
Isaiah Salazar will look to keep his unbeaten conference streak alive and extend his 11-match win streak at 184 pounds.
Minnesota wraps up regular season competition next Saturday afternoon, as they will compete against the Wisconsin Badgers at 1:00 p.m. CST on Big Ten Network. The Gophers will then prepare for postseason action, beginning with the Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor, Mich., on March 4-5.
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