Gopher Wrestling Sending Five to U.S. Open Championships

MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota wrestling will be represented by five Gophers this week at the 2024 U.S. Open Championships in Las Vegas.

Max McEnelly, Brandon Morvari, Gavin Nelson, and Tyler Wells are all scheduled to compete in the U20 Freestyle competition, while Rhett Koenig is set to take part in both U20 Freestyle and Greco-Roman. All five were true freshmen for Minnesota last season.

The U.S. Open Championships takes place April 24-28 at the South Point Casino and will be streamed on FloWrestling.

Koenig will open the competition Wednesday at 11 a.m. CT with his Greco-Roman tournament, while the Freestyle portion of the event runs Friday and Saturday.

Wells went 16-8 this past season at 133 pounds for Minnesota, including a 6-3 mark in duals and 5-2 record in the Big Ten. He reached the Blood Round of the NCAA Championships as the No. 20 seed thanks to wins over the No. 14 and No. 12 seeded wrestlers. Other highlights of his freshman season included winning the season-opening Bison Open, an upset of then-No. 17 Kurt Phipps of Bucknell in Wells’ dual debut and a sudden-victory win over then-No. 8 and eventual Big Ten champion and All-American Dylan Shawver of Rutgers.

Both McEnelly and Morvari saw brief time in the starting lineup this season.

McEnelly was 15-0 this year at 184 pounds, including a last-second win over then-No. 22 Brian Soldano at Rutgers in his dual debut. McEnelly recorded a team-best eight tech falls and added one pin and one major decision on the year. He won titles at the Bison Open, Daktronics Open, Cougar Clash, and Soldier Salute.

At 125 pounds, Morvari posted an 11-9 record and made his dual debut at Illinois in a hard-fought overtime loss. Morvari came in fourth at the Bison Open, fifth at the Jim Koch Open and Mat-Town Open II, and sixth at the Soldier Salute.

Nelson and Koenig saw action this year at open tournaments.

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Competing at 197 pounds, Nelson went 15-8 on the season and led the team with nine wins by major decision. He also tied for fourth with three pins. Nelson was runner-up at both the Bison Open and Daktronics Open, and he posted a fourth-place finish at the Cougar Clash, a fifth-place result at the Edinboro Open, and placed sixth at the Soldier Salute.

Koenig was limited to just seven matches this year at 141 pounds, going 3-4. He made his collegiate debut at the Jim Koch Open with a 2-1 record, finishing as runner-up. Koenig also competed at the Soldier Salute, sporting a 1-3 record.

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