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 gophersports.com

Four Gophers Named NWCA All-Americans

Four Gopher wrestlers were named All-Americans this weekend by the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA). The list includes 149-pound Brayton Lee, 174-pound Devin Skatzka, and heavyweight Gable Steveson on the First Team while 141-pound Mitch McKee is on the Second Team.

“During difficult times there are always people who rise to the occasion,” NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer. “It’s important that these athletes’ efforts and successes during the season are recognized. Congratulations to each of this year’s honorees and National Qualifiers.” ​​​

McKee, Skatzka, and Steveson were all 2019 All-Americans. So, McKee and Skatzka finish their careers as two-time All-Americans while Steveson still maintains his pursuit to become the Gophers’ 11th four-time All-American in program history.

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Brayton Lee Earns First Big Ten Award

Redshirt freshman Brayton Lee earned his first Big Ten Wrestler of the Week award after claiming the 149-pound Cliff Keen Las Vegas title, the conference announced on Tuesday.

Lee, who shares this week’s award with Purdue’s Dylan Lydy, went 5-0 on the weekend including his final three victories over top-ten opponents. As the five-seed Lee was the lowest seeded wrestler to win the title as well as the youngest wrestler to accomplish the feat this weekend.

After reaching the semifinals, Lee fell behind to then-No.5 Max Thomsen of Northern Iowa. Still, Lee showed off his conditioning with a late takedown to force sudden victory before he finished another leg attack early in the extra period. Lee then took care of business against Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso with a pair of takedowns in the championship bout for a 6-4 decision victory.

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Brayton Lee Wraps Up Junior Worlds

Brayton Lee dropped his first bout of the 2019 UWW Junior World Championships to Ashraf Ashirov (Azerbaijan) by 3-2 decision and was subsequently eliminated when Ashirov dropped his next match. 

Lee would have had a chance to advance via the repechage system if Ashirov had beaten Vasile Diacon (Moldova) and continued to win. Instead, Lee’s Estonian tournament experience is cut short after only one bout.

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Brayton Lee Receives Draw for Junior Worlds

Rising Gopher redshirt freshman Brayton Lee received his draw for the UWW Junior World Wrestling Championships which begin Monday in Talinn, Estonia.

When action kicks off at 2:30 am CT Lee will face the winner of Ashraf Ashirov (Azerbaijan) and Raul Zarbaliev (Israel). Ashirov finished 8th at the 2018 Cadet World Championships while Zarbilev finished 9th at the 2019 European Juniors.

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The MatBoss Podcast: Junior World Teamer Brayton Lee

Indiana native and 2019 U.S. Junior world teamer Brayton Lee joins The MatBoss Podcast with Chad Dennis this week. Lee talks about his redshirt season at Minnesota and his expected weight class next season, but most of the show focuses on Lee earning the spot to represent Team USA in Estonia later this summer at the Junior World Championships. Lee gets into a tactical and technical discussion about his freestyle wrestling abilities and where that came from.

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Brayton Lee Finishes Redshirt Season With Junior World Team

Brayton Lee just won’t give up. Whether he’s down in a match or facing a foe he’s lost to several times, Lee faces the challenge with confidence.

This past weekend at the 2019 UWW Junior Team Trials, Lee displayed that grit for the whole wrestling world to see. In his final three bouts in the bracket, Lee rallied in the second period. Against Sammy Sasso in a best-of-three series, who he had lost to earlier this May, Lee rallied to take down the Buckeye and show off his amazing conditioning.

“I just kept pressuring and keeping good position like the coaches were telling me,” Lee said. “Something Coach Eggum always talks about is wrestling every position, making them work, and staying aggressive the whole time.”

Lee finished his redshirt campaign in the Maroon and Gold with a 26-7 record with eight technical falls. The Brownsburg, Indiana, native won the National Collegiate Open and was runner-up at the Edinboro Open as well as the recent UWW Junior Nationals in Las Vegas. Both times against Sasso.

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