FORT WORTH, TEXAS – Gopher alums Sean Russell and Mitch McKee finished first and second, respectively, at the Last Chance Qualifier to advance to next week’s U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials. The duo joins 2021 NCAA Heavyweight Champion Gable Steveson in the trials in Fort Worth, Texas, April 2-3.
With the U.S. Olympic Trials looming, current and former Gophers will take part in the Last Chance Olympic Trials Qualifier in Fort Worth, Texas, on Saturday. NCAA Champion Gable Steveson has already qualified for the trials, which will be held in Fort Worth, April 2-3.
Competing for the Gopher Wrestling Club Regional Training Center are current Gophers Jake Bergeland, Keaton Kluever, Kasper McIntosh, Matt Ramos and Rowan Morgan, along with alums Sean Russell, Mitch McKee and Devin Skatzka. The Gopher Wrestling Club contingent also includes Daniel DeShazer and Elroy Perkin.
CINCINNATI – Minnesota junior Gable Steveson followed up Friday’s win against the No. 1 ranked United States heavyweight with a 10-0 victory against Jordan Wood of Spartan Combat RTC at the 2020 RTC Cup. The Gopher Wrestling Club (GWC) finished in sixth place following a loss by criteria in the quarterfinals against Spartan Combat and a 5-1 defeat against Ohio RTC in the fifth-place match.
Steveson needed just 3:26 to finish off a 10-0 win against Wood, a former two-time All-American at Lehigh. On Friday, Steveson earned a 4-1 decision against Nick Gwiazdowski from Wolfpack RTC. A two-time World bronze medalist, Gwiazdowski will be the top seed at the U.S. Olympic Trials in University Park, Pa., in April when the pair are likely to meet again.
In a potential preview of April’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Minnesota junior Gable Steveson defeated Nick Gwiazdowski, 4-1, at the 2020 RTC Cup in Cincinnati, Ohio. A two-time World bronze medalist, Gwiazdowski clinched the No. 1 seed at the trials prior to Steveson’s victory on Friday night.
The RTC Cup is a dual-team tournament featuring six of the nation’s top regional training centers. Steveson, along with sophomore Brayton Lee, have joined several Minnesota alums as part of the Gopher Wrestling Club (GWC).
The RTC Cup is a new senior-level freestyle dual meet format competition that includes teams from many of the best Regional Training Centers from around the country. The event is scheduled to go down on Friday-Saturday, December 4th-5th in Ohio without fans in attendance.
“Adding the team component to senior level wrestling will make for an incredible atmosphere,” said Gopher Wrestling Club Coach Dustin Schlatter. “As one of the largest RTCs we are thrilled to represent the University of Minnesota, the Twin Cities and the state of Minnesota in such a high level competition.”
The Gopher Wrestling Club will be competing against NJRTC/Southeast RTC (New Jersey, Rutgers, Princeton/Virginia Tech), SpartanCombat RTC (New York/Cornell), Ohio RTC (Ohio State), Wolfpack Wrestling Club (North Carolina State), and Cliff Keen Wrestling Club (University of Michigan).
With $200,000 total prize money invested, including $50,000 going to the winning team, every match and every point will be important.
Current and former Gophers led a Minnesota contingent at the US Senior Nationals this past weekend at Xtream Arena & GreenState Family Fieldhouse in Coralville, Iowa. Pat Smith and Alec Ortiz finished second and third in Greco-Roman, respectively, while Sean Russell placed fourth in freestyle.
Smith and Ortiz advanced to a semifinal matchup at 77kg with Smith moving on to the finals with a 4-1 victory. Smith fell in the championship bout against No. 3 Kendrick Sanders, while Ortiz rallied for a third-place finish.