Checking In with Bailee O’Reilly

For any young wrestler growing up in Minnesota, it is more than likely a dream to one day strap on the iconic Maroon & Gold singlet. For Bailee O’Reilly, that dream became a reality. After winning two state titles, O’Reilly found himself on campus just an hour up the road from his hometown of Goodhue, Minnesota. Two years of sitting behind All-American Devin Skatzka, and Bailee finally made his breakthrough into the starting lineup at 165 pounds.

Now, after a successful first season as a Division-1 starter, the redshirt junior is looking to use his experience to fill another role as a much-needed leader for this young Gophers core. Hear from Bailee O’Reilly as he reflects on his experience of fulfilling a lifetime dream, where his focus is going into next season, and more.

First of all, how’s your summer been since school ended?
O’Reilly: “Mid-June is when we found out that we were able to start training again, so I went back up to Minneapolis at the beginning of the summer, eased into training with some lifting and getting back on the mats. Other than that, I stayed at a cabin with my girlfriend for 4th of July. I live on a farm back home too, so when I’m back home, I’m helping out in the fields and stuff like that.” Continue reading at

Rutt brings big credentials as new RCTC wrestling coach

Travis Rutt is taking over as the Rochester Community and Technical College’s head wrestling coach, Randy Rager stepping down after 15 impressive seasons on the job.

The motherload would be if Rochester Community and Technical College’s new wrestling coach Travis Rutt was actually eligible to wrestle in a few matches this season.

That’s not going to happen, but Rutt would scare the heck out of opponents. The 29-year-old Rutt was one of the best 184-pounders in the country while competing at the University of Wisconsin, and then among the country’s best 197-pounders after transferring to wrestling power University of Oklahoma.

But it isn’t Rutt’s physical powers that he calls on anymore. Now, it’s his wrestling teaching acumen and people skills that he leans on, and he’s hoping it can help carry RCTC to new heights.

Rutt is taking over for Randy Rager, who stepped down at the end of last season after 15 years as RCTC’s head wrestling coach. The 43-year-old Rager hands off a program that he built into one of junior college’s best. RCTC won non-scholarship division national championships in 2014, 2017 and this past season. Rager was named national non-scholarship division Coach of the Year each of those championship seasons. Continue reading at

NWCA DI Leadership Group Takes a Position on the 2020-2021 Competition Season

Manheim, PA – The NWCA Division I Leadership Group (LG) sent a letter on Wednesday to all Division I Coaches, Athletic Directors, Senior Women’s Administrators and Conference Liaisons to recommend a shift to the 2020-21 season as a result of ongoing complications related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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NSIC Cancels Fall Competition & Championships; Suspends All Sports Competition Through December 31

BURNSVILLE, Minn. – In light of the NCAA Board of Governors’ decision to direct all institutions and conferences to meet specific requirements to conduct fall sports and the NCAA Division II Presidents Council’s announcement that all NCAA Division II fall championships are canceled, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference’s Board of Directors has canceled NSIC fall competition & championships, and has suspended all athletic competition through December 31, 2020.

The NSIC recognizes the value an NCAA championship experience provides for student-athletes and that was a factor in the analysis. However, health and safety concerns prevailed in the league’s decision. Additionally, current recommendations for testing, exposure, and quarantine make it very difficult for a season to be successfully completed at an institution or across the conference without severe disruptions.

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The Big Ten Conference Postpones 2020-21 Fall Sports Season

ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference announced the postponement of the 2020-21 fall sports season, including all regular-season contests and Big Ten Championships and Tournaments, due to ongoing health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In making its decision, which was based on multiple factors, the Big Ten Conference relied on the medical advice and counsel of the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee.

“Our primary responsibility is to make the best possible decisions in the interest of our students, faculty and staff,” said Morton Schapiro, Chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors and Northwestern University President.

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Checking In with Brayton Lee

Grateful. If there was one word to describe Brayton Lee, that would be the one. The Brownsburg, Indiana native has always been mindful of the opportunities that he has been given through the sport of wrestling, but not once has he taken those opportunities for granted when he steps out onto the mat. The once blue-chip recruit turned 149-pound hammer in the Golden Gophers lineup turned in an outstanding 25-6 record during his redshirt freshman campaign, but with the NCAA Championships being canceled just days before its scheduled start, Lee’s season came to a screeching halt.

Looking ahead to the 2020-2021 season, Brayton Lee is sure to be one of the most notable names in his weight class, as he competes for a national title once again. GopherSports had a chance to catch up with Lee for the first time since last season’s unceremonious end to talk about the season that was, his goals moving forward and more.

GopherSports: How’s your summer been so far for you and what have you been doing to stay busy?
Lee: “Summer’s been good. I’ve been wrestling a lot, I’ve been with my family a lot, I spent some time up at the University training … I got to travel, I went to Florida with my family which was great, but yeah, summer has been really good.” Continue reading at

SMSU Adds Transfer To 2020-21 Signing Class

MARSHALL, Minn. – Southwest Minnesota State University head wrestling coach Jesse Nelson announced today that Caden Steffen, a native of Zumbrota, Minn., has transferred from the University of Minnesota and will continue his academic and wrestling career at SMSU.

“Caden will be a great addition to the program,” Nelson said. “Caden’s dedication to the classroom and mat will fit our team goals. We are very excited to have him on board.”

Steffen competed the past two seasons at 184 pounds for the Gopher wrestling program, compiling 36 victories during open tournaments. He finished 17-6 during the 2018-19 season with four wins by fall, five by major decision and one by tech fall. He closed with a 19-10 record in 2019-20, which included a third place finish at the Last Chance Open. Steffen recorded with one win by fall, three by major decision and one by tech fall last season.

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Saint Thomas Academy Names Former East Ridge Coaches as Co-Head Wrestling Coaches

Matt Everson and Graydon Anderson bring passion for wrestling and developing young men to the Academy

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn. – Saint Thomas Academy has named Matt Everson and Graydon Anderson co-head varsity wrestling coaches. Both Everson and Anderson were most recently with the East Ridge High School wrestling program, as head coach and assistant head coach, respectively. Anderson also served as head coach for freestyle + Greco wrestling. Both bring passion for the sport of wrestling and years of coaching experience at the high school level to the Academy.

“I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Coach Everson and Coach Anderson to the Cadet athletic family,” said Interim Athletic Director Dan O’Brien. “They bring years of successful experience developing young men through the sport of wrestling. I’m confident they will be a great addition to Saint Thomas Academy.”

While at East Ridge, the duo developed a struggling program into section champions that ultimately placed 6th in the state team tournament in 2019. They had 9 individual section champions, 7 of whom went on to place in the 2019 state tournament.

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