NEW BRIGHTON, Minn. — The National Wrestling Media Association released the annual Division I attendance figures for college wrestling home duals.
In the previous 13 years, the University of Iowa’s wrestling program led the nation in home attendance. One thing it hadn’t done, though, was put over 10,000 fans into Carver-Hawkeye Arena for every dual in a season.
That changed in 2019-20 as the Hawkeyes averaged a record 12,568.4 with seven home dates for a total of 87,979. It’s not the largest total Iowa’s ever produced, but the 87,979 is the largest total attendance for events solely at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The top crowd in Carver-Hawkeye was the 14,905 against Penn State.
The Gophers Wrestling program is pleased to announce the addition of 2020 California State Champion Andrew Sparks to the 2024 recruiting class.
Sparks underwent a meteoric rise in the wrestling community as he went from a nonplacing competitor to the state champion in 2020 as he knocked off then-No.2 Cael Valencia. Plus, the middleweight prospect also took home the title at “Battle for the Belt” and took bronze at the “Doc B.”
Bobby Steveson came into the University of Minnesota from nearby Apple Valley High School as the top-ranked 195-pounder in the country. A champion at the USA Wrestling Junior Nationals, Steveson looked to be one of the anchors for the upper weights for the Gophers.
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.
Manheim, PA – The National Wrestling Coaches Association has announced the 2020 Division I All-American teams. Each year the NWCA recognizes the outstanding work of the DI Student-Athletes by naming the All-Americans based on their achievements in the national championship, however, this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic the championships were canceled.
All-American honors were based on each wrestler’s overall body of work through the conference tournaments and up to the national championships.
Andrew Sparks capped off an outstanding senior season at Calvary Chapel High School in California by claiming a title at the CIF State Wrestling Championships. Sparks defeated Cael Valencia (St. John Bosco), one of the nation’s top wrestlers, in the state finals at 160 pounds.
Sparks’ run to the state title solidified him as one of the nation’s top 160-pounders and caught the attention of many of the nation’s top college wrestling programs. On April 6, Sparks announced his commitment to the University of Minnesota. InterMat recently caught up with the Gopher commit.
What has life been like for you since being in quarantine during this pandemic?
Chase O’Connor sits about 10 feet from University of Minnesota Athletic Director Mark Coyle.
They’re occupants of the same U of M athletics administration office, Kasson-Mantorville graduate O’Connor showing up 20-25 hours per week as a student worker in that space, taking phone calls and problem-solving them.
O’Connor has gotten to know Coyle well, and from his many conversations with him, has become familiar with his athletic director’s duties.
It’s a position he’d like to have someday. If not at Minnesota, then some other major university.
“I want to keep working in college athletics,” O’Connor said. “My end goal is to be an athletic director at a Division I university. I’m trying to build relationships now with the higher-ups that I’ve gotten to know. I really like (Coyle). He’s easy to relate to. I’m the first person he sees every day when he walks through the door (at work). His office door is 10 feet away from me.”
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