One Champion as NDSU Wrestles at Pair of Open Tournaments over Weekend

FARGO, N.D.—Unattached 197-pound freshman Michael Nelson took home an individual title as North Dakota State University had wrestlers competing at the Finn Grinaker Open at Concordia College on Saturday, Nov. 16, and the Daktronics Open at South Dakota State in Brookings on Sunday, Nov. 17. Seven wrestlers placed in the top six overall.

Nelson (Dover, Minn.) compiled a 4-0 record including a major decision in the opening round to win the Finn Grinaker Gold Division 197-pound championship. Nelson improved to 7-1 this season, placing first and second in a pair of tournaments. Teammate, unattached 197 Ty Moser finished sixth in the Gold Division.

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Maroon and Gold Add Five to 2024 Class

The Gopher wrestling program is pleased to announce the addition of five new commits in the 2024 graduating class. Sam Skillings, Brady Spaeth, Isaiah Salazar, Aaron Nagao, and Ben Lunn are all officially now Maroon and Gold grapplers.

Collectively, the new class represents four different states and has won multiple combined state titles.

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Gophers Earn Seven Daktronics Open Titles

Across the border in South Dakota at the Daktronics Open, the Minnesota wrestling team earned six bracket titles plus a round-robin title.

Pat McKee, Mitch McKee, Baylor Fernandes, Bailee O’Reilly, Owen Webster, and Bobby Steveson all won their brackets while Devin Skatzka came out on top of the 174-pound round robin.

At 141-pounds Mitch McKee continued his torrid start to the season at 141-pounds with his second Open title in as many weeks. McKee notched his fifth consecutive pin in the second round to put him in Gopher’s history when it comes to consecutive pins.

He joins Jayson Ness, Tommy Owen, Owen Elzen, Brock Lesnar, Tim Hartung, and Chad Kraft at that spot on the list.

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Sloan wins Daktronics Open title

BROOKINGS, S.D. – Tanner Sloan won the 197-pound title Sunday to lead the South Dakota State wrestling team to a strong showing in the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open at the Sanford-Jackrabbit Athletic Complex.

A redshirt freshman from Alburnett, Iowa, the top-seeded and sixth-ranked Sloan won both of his matches in decisive fashion. After receiving a first-round bye, Sloan posted a pin of North Dakota State’s Cole Wetzig in 2 minutes, 41 seconds.

In the championship match against Minnesota’s Dylan Anderson, Sloan raced out to a 10-0 lead in the opening minutes of the match with a takedown and pair of four-point near-falls. He closed out the title bout with a 16-3 major decision.

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Three Mavericks Finish In Podium Position At Luther Open

MANKATO, Minn. — Minnesota State finished the Luther Open on Saturday with three wrestlers claiming a podium finish in their brackets, and 14 total Mavericks placing at the tournament.

Kyle Rathman (Jr., 149 lbs.) wrestled in the Elite 149 bracket where he finished 3-1 to earn a second-place finish at the tournament. Rathman won by fall over Klayton Keller of Cornell College in 2:21 in his first match. He then won in a 15-4 major decision over Chance Throndson of Upper Iowa. An 8-2 victory over Brady Fritz of Wartburg put Rathman in the championship match where he ultimately fell to Iowa’s Vincent Turk by a 13-7 decision.

Zach Johnston (Sr., 174 lbs.) posted a 2-1 record in the Elite 174 bracket in earning a second-place finish at the tournament. Johnston got off to a fast start with a fall over Luther College’s Tyler Menegay at 2:43. He then won with a 7-1 decision over Luke Silva of Coe College. Johnston ultimately lost in a 16-5 major decision in the championship match to Kyle Briggs of Wartburg College.

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Ortloff and Foster Lead Dragon Wrestlers at Finn Grinaker Open

MOORHEAD, Minn. — Runner-up finishes from sophomore Braydon Ortloff and sophomore Evan Foster led the way for the Minnesota State University Moorhead wrestling team at the Finn Grinaker Open hosted by Concordia College on Saturday in Moorhead.

Ortloff went 3-1 at 157 pounds, highlighted by pins over Northern State wrestlers Bryan Burnett and Walker Carr. He suffered a tough 8-7 loss to Braydon Huber of Mary in the finals.

Foster also went 3-1 at 174 pounds. He pinned Minot’s Isaac Bertalotto in 4:19 in the opening round and won his next two matches by decision before losing to St. Cloud State’s Devin Donovan, 7-3 in the finals.

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