Blockhus, Webster Earn Seeds for World Team Trials Challenge

MINNEAPOLIS – USA Wrestling has announced the seeds for freestyle competition at the World Team Trials challenge, as current Gopher wrestler Michael Blockhus and Minnesota alumni Owen Webster will both have a number next to their name when competition gets underway this weekend.

The tournament will take place from May 21-22 inside Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa, as FloWrestling will host all tournament coverage throughout the weekend.

Michael Blockhus will enter the tournament as the No. 6-seed at 70 kilograms following a solid performance at the U.S Open three weeks ago, which saw him place fourth in Las Vegas with a 6-2 record on the weekend. This weekend he will look to punch his ticket for one of the two vacant Final X spots as he competes among the likes of Alec Pantaleo, Ryan Deakin, Jordan Oliver, and Zain Retherford, among others.

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Six of the nine 2020 Olympic wrestling medalists receive Living the Dream Medal Fund bonuses in private New York ceremony

USA Wrestling and the Stewards of the Living the Dream Medal Fund hosted a special function Thursday night at a private residence in New York City, paying out the first bonuses to the 2020 U.S. Olympic wrestling medalists. Six of the nine Olympic medalist wrestlers received oversized checks as part of the ceremony.

The record $950,000 overall payout is based upon the historic performance of the U.S. Olympic wrestling team at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, where the USA came home with three gold medals, two silver medals, and four bronze medals. The previous record payout during an Olympic year came in 2016 when the fund paid out $600,000 to wrestling medalists from the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

The funding for the program comes from a group of individual donors who are called Stewards, along with support from USA Wrestling and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee.

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Pat Smith earns World Team Spot as Competition Wraps in Lincoln

LINCOLN, Neb. – A full weekend of wrestling wrapped up Sunday evening at the Senior World Team Trials in Pinnacle Bank Arena, as former Gopher Pat Smith highlighted the weekend by earning his third career World Team spot in the 72-kilogram Greco-Roman weight division.

Smith, who represented Minnesota Storm RTC as the top seed in his bracket, pinned Griffin Parriott in the quarterfinals and defeated Michael Hooker 4-0 in the semifinals en route to the Best-of-3 finals against Benji Peak (New York Athletic Club). In the finals, Smith continued his winning ways, sweeping the series with 3-3 and 6-4 victories to make his third World Team.

Another former Gopher, Alec Ortiz, competed in Greco-Roman at 77-kilograms as well but fell out of the tournament in the consolation semifinals.

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Webster joins Gopher Wrestling Club

MINNEAPOLIS – Former Minnesota 184-pounder Owen Webster has joined the Gopher Wrestling Club RTC, as announced by the club on Thursday morning.

Webster finished his career as a Gopher this past March as a two-time NCAA Qualifier and a three-time letterwinner in the Maroon & Gold. He posted a 48-30 career record and holds the record for the fastest pin in program history at 11 seconds.

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Steveson presented Hodge Trophy at Minnesota-Ohio State football game

2021 has been quite a year for Gable Steveson, who captured his first NCAA championship in March for Minnesota, then most recently captured an Olympic gold medal for the United States in freestyle wrestling in Tokyo … all around the age of 21.

And on Sept. 2, 2021, the heavyweight wrestler from Apple Valley, Minn., was honored by his Gopher faithful and WIN Publisher Bryan Van Kley, who presented Steveson the 2021 WIN Magazine/Culture House Dan Hodge Trophy, presented annually each year by ASICS, before over 50,000 Gopher fans during Minnesota’s nationally-televised game with Ohio State.

Steveson shared the nation’s most coveted award — named after the late Oklahoma University legend — with Iowa’s three-time NCAA champion Spencer Lee.

“The atmosphere at the season-opener for the Gophers was electric with them playing the No. 4 team in the country on a prime-time television night game on Fox,” Van Kley said. “Gable did an awesome job honoring his Gopher fans and getting them into a frenzy while he accepted the Hodge, the crowd chanting ‘U-S-A, U-S-A,’ as he held the award above his head in the end zone. Continue reading at →