The University of Minnesota wrestling team started their season by claiming seven titles at the Daktronics Open in Brookings, S.D. Sunday.
"I was happy with the effort from the team today," head coach Brandon Eggum said. "Our energy was good when we wrestled. I thought that the guys had good passion and it looked like they were having fun out there."
The Gophers won seven out of ten weight classes at the tournament and placed 17 in top-3 places at the open. Sean Russell, Ethan Lizak, Mitch McKee, Steven Bleise, Carson Brolsma, Dylan Anderson and Gable Steveson all took first-place in their respective weight classes.
Ethan Lizak won his third Daktronics title while finishing first at 133-pounds. After moving up a weight class in the off season, Lizak scored 52 points and conceded only three while gaining three technical falls at the tournament. Lizak rounded out his 4-0 record with a fall in 1:28 in his opening match. The senior now has 92 career wins, moving him into 49th on the all-time wins record for the Gophers.
Sean Russell and Gable Steveson each won a title in their first tournament donning the Maroon & Gold for Minnesota. Russell finished 3-0 with a tech fall at 125-pounds while Gable Steveson won the heavyweight bracket with three wins of his own. Steveson looked in control throughout the tournament, picking up a 12-6 major decision in his first match and a 12-6 decision in the semifinals. The 285-pound final was an all Gopher affair with Steveson ultimately gaining an 8-6 decision over redshirt junior Rylee Streifel.
Bleise, Brolsma and Anderson all wrestled tough and won their championship matches by narrow margins. Bleise had his 149-pound final decided by riding time as the Chelsea, Mich. native rode tough throughout the match and gained the victory by a score of 8-7. Brolsma claimed a sudden victory takedown to defeat fellow Gopher Jake Allar in dramatic fashion at 165-pounds. Brolsma and Allar took their match into overtime after finishing 1-1 after seven minutes on the mat, where Brolsma defended an Allar takedown and scrambled for two. Anderson stepped up to 197-pounds and wrestled confidently throughout the day. Anderson posted two falls early in the tournament and reached the final on the back of an 18-3 technical fall. In the final, Anderson scored a third period takedown and defended a last ditch effort to win the 197-pound bracket.
Mitch McKee went 3-0 in Brookings on his way to the 141-pound championship. McKee gained two falls and received a forfeit in the final to win his second Daktronics title in two seasons.
Seven Gophers finished second in South Dakota. Skyler Petry, Hunter Marko, Tommy Thorn, Jake Allar, Devin Skatzka, Owen Webster and Rylee Streifel all took second in their respective weight classes. Minnesota additionally had ten wrestlers place at the tournament: Patrick McKee (Third), Steve Polakowski (Fourth), Jake Gliva (Sixth), Brent Jones (Third), Brayton Lee (Third), Ryan Thomas (Fifth), Kasper McIntosh (Sixth), Bailee O'Reilly (Third), Caden Steffen (Third) and Garrett Joles (Fifth).
Minnesota will next travel to Colorado to take on Air Force in their first daul of the season on Friday, Nov. 9 at 8:00 p.m.