Home Opener Set for Sunday vs. South Dakota State

MINNEAPOLIS — After opening the dual season with a 3-0 East Coast road trip, No. 13 Minnesota hosts No. 12 South Dakota State in its home opener Sunday at Maturi Pavilion. The match is scheduled to start at 12 p.m. and will be available to stream on B1G+ with live results on TrackWrestling.com.

Minnesota leads the all-time series with South Dakota State, 27-5, including 11 straight wins dating to 1977. The teams have met each season since the 2015-16 campaign, except for 2020-21 when the Gophers faced a conference-only slate.

The Golden Gophers are looking to win their season opener for the second straight year after topping Binghamton, 19-15, to open 2022-23. Minnesota has won four straight home openers since the 2019-20 season. Since the beginning of last season, Minnesota has won six of its last seven home duals at Maturi Pavilion.

South Dakota State is led by head coach Damion Hahn, a two-time NCAA champion and four-time All-American for Minnesota (2000-04). A three-time Big Ten champion, Hahn was the conference’s Male Athlete of the Year in 2004. He was inducted into the University of Minnesota’s M Club Hall of Fame in 2018.

Last season in Brookings, trailing 16-7 with four bouts remaining, the Gophers rattled off four-straight decision victories to complete the comeback and beat No. 24 South Dakota State, 19-16. Isaiah Salazar won with a major decision victory over Bennett Berge, 12-0 at 184 pounds, while Patrick McKee defeated Tanner Jordan by a 7-3 decision at 125 pounds. The match of the night came at 141 pounds, where Vance VomBaur upset former All-American and sixth-ranked Clay Carlson by a score of 6-4. With the dual on the line, Michael Blockhus closed out the comeback win with a 4-1 decision victory over Alek Martin at 157 pounds.

Sunday’s dual could feature as many as five ranked matchups, according to Intermat, with the Golden Gophers having the edge at 125 pounds with No. 6 Patrick McKee taking on No. 22 Tanner Jordan, as well as at 184 pounds with No. 7 Isaiah Salazar facing No. 19 Bennett Berge. In addition, Minnesota has the advantage on paper at 133, 141 and 149 with No. 20 Jake Gliva, #31 Vance VomBaur and No. 19 Drew Roberts, respectively, taking on unranked Jackrabbit foes.

Fans arriving on campus should park in the Gold, Ski-U-Mah, Victory, or Gopher surface lots east of Huntington Bank Stadium or the Oak Street or Fourth Street Parking Ramps south and west of 3M Arena at Mariucci. Limited ADA space is available at University Avenue Ramp for fans with the appropriate state issued handicap designated tag or pass.

Military Appreciation: All current military members and veterans can receive a discounted ticket to the dual. Visit the ticket office on the day of the dual to receive your discounted ticket.
Pre-match Youth Clinic: For $12, your child will receive a ticket to the dual and a chance to participate in a pre-match youth clinic taught by the Gophers. All participants will receive a Gopher Wrestling water bottle.

The Golden Gophers moved up one spot in the latest NWCA Coaches Poll from 14th to 13th. Minnesota is also No. 16 in the WIN Tournament Power Index and No. 18 in the InterMat TPI. As a team South Dakota State enters Sunday ranked 13th by the NWCA, WIN TPI and Intermat TPI.

Eight Gopher wrestlers are ranked in at least two of the major polls, while 10 Gophers appear in at least one poll.

Patrick McKee and Isaiah Salazar lead the way by appearing in all four: Intermat, WIN, Flo and OpenMat. McKee is slated 3rd by WIN, 6th by InterMat and OpenMat and 8th by Flo, while Salazar is ranked 5th by WIN and 7th by the other publications.

New to the polls this week, Tyler Wells found himself ranked 17th by Flo at 133 pounds, while Bennett Tabor also entered the Flo rankings at No. 33.

Full rankings for Minnesota can be found on Page 5 of the notes.

Minnesota began the dual season with a 3-0 record following a East Coast road trip last week.

The Gophers kicked things off with a 37-3 win at Bucknell Thursday. In the first ever meeting between the schools, the Golden Gophers secured five bonus point-victories, including a pair of pins, two major decisions and one tech fall. The victory marked the most points and the largest margin of victory for Minnesota in a season opener since shutting out Portland State, 54-0, to start the 2008-09 campaign.

Among the highlights, at 133 pounds freshman Tyler Wells made his collegiate dual debut by knocking off the Bison’s 17th-ranked Kurt Phipps in an 11-5 decision. The lone ranked matchup of the night proved to be the closest as No. 18 Drew Roberts squeaked by 33rd-ranked Dylan Chappell, 2-1, at 149 pounds.

on Saturday, the Gophers shut out Morgan State, 52-0, and followed that with a 37-6 victory over host-George Mason.

The Golden Gophers had little trouble with Morgan State, a first-year HBCU program, as they won all nine contested matches by bonus points. Two victories were by pin, while six were tech fall and one was a major decision (MSU forfeited at heavyweight). Only one bout made it past the second period and no takedowns were recorded by the Bears. The shutout was the team’s first since a 48-0 win over Maryland in Jan. of 2021, and it was the Gophers’ largest win, and first time reaching 50 points, since a 53-0 victory over Duke in Jan. of 2019.

Against the Patriots, Minnesota recorded six of its seven victories by bonus points. Four wins were by tech fall, two by major decision and one by injury default.

Those Gopher wrestlers that didn’t travel to the East Coast headed to Brookings, S.D., for the Daktronics Open the following day. Minnesota claimed two individual titles as redshirt freshman Hunter Lyden (165) and true freshmen Max McEnelly (184) won the championships.

Lyden captured the Daktronics Open title at 165 pounds. Facing off with Northern Iowa’s Evan Yant, Lyden trailed 4-1 going into the final period, but he escaped within the first 20 seconds to cut the margin to 4-2 and then used a takedown before riding out Yant over the final 1:22 to claim the victory. Lyden opened the day with a 4-1 sudden victory over South Dakota State’s Brock Fettig, then held off Iowa State’s Connor Euton, 8-7, to reach the finals.

McEnelly rolled through the competition at 184 pounds by a combined score of 44-12. He opened the day with two tech falls, running his total to six in six matches at that point of the season. In the finals, he faced his toughest competition yet but a first-period takedown was enough in a 5-4 decision over CJ Walnorth of Northern Iowa. It’s the second title of the season for McEnelly, who also won 184 at the Bison Open to kick off the season.

True freshman Gavin Nelson was the runner-up at 197 pounds. He scored a pair of major decision in the quarterfinals and semifinals to earn a spot against No. 24 Wyatt Voelker of Northern Iowa in the finals. Voelker’s first period takedown and escape in the third was enough to combat Nelson’s escape in the second stanza. Nelson also finished as runner-up at 197 at the Bison Open, and his only two losses this season have come by decision to ranked opponents.

Three other Gophers finished in sixth place with Theo Cha at 149 pounds, Tim Stapleton at 165 pounds and Kyler Wong at 157 pounds.

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