Colorado Springs, Colo. -- The Gophers defeated Air Force by a score of 33-3 in their first dual of the season Friday evening in Colorado.
"Overall it was a pretty good performance," head coach Brandon Eggum said. "I am excited. You have to come out and wrestle, no doubt about it. But we have guys with good skills and they work hard. They do a lot of things right. I think it's going to be a fun year."
Minnesota won nine out of ten weight classes, gaining four bonus-point victories, including a pin at 141-pounds.
Dylan Anderson started the Gophers off at 197-pounds against Air Force. Anderson was aggressive throughout the match but could not overcome an early takedown, falling by a 5-4 decision. Rylee Streifel leveled the team scores at 3-3 with a confident victory at heavyweight. Streifel gained a first-period takedown and rode out the entire second period on his way to a 3-0 decision.
In his first dual match for Minnesota, Sean Russell rallied from an early takedown and pushed the match, looking for bonus-points. Russell scored four third-period takedowns to earn a 12-5 decision for the Gophers.
Ethan Lizak started quick at 133. He earned an early takedown and had momentum heading into the second period where he turned John Twomey for four. Lizak wrestled smart to end the match with a 6-0 decision.
Mitch McKee provided a spark for Minnesota at 141-pounds. The junior hit a quick takedown and turn to lead 6-0 in the first period. McKee then gained the fall, and the first bonus-point victory of the match for Minnesota at the 1:11 mark. McKee's six team points gave the Gophers a 15-3 lead after five matches.
Tommy Thorn gained three takedowns in his match against Alec Opsal. Thorn went on to win the 149-pound match with an 11-5 decision. Steve Bleise earned the Gophers first major decision of the match at 157. Bleise took a stalling call in the first period before tossing his opponent for another early Gopher takedown. Bleise continued to score, putting up 11 points in the second, leading to his 18-6 major.
Carson Brolsma gained takedown after takedown at 165. His four takedowns gave him an advantage over Tanner Johnson, but it was his final riding-time point however that secured his 11-3 major decision. Skatzka followed with the third Gopher major decision of the match. Skatzka worked assertively from the top position throughout the match, gaining the final nine points from nearfall and a ride time.
Owen Webster won the Gophers ninth and final match of the dual at 184-pounds against Tyler Wiederholt. Webster relinquished the first points of the match to Wiederholt, but was able to battle back into the match with two first-period takedowns. Webster defended a late attempt by the Air Force wrestler to claim the 8-6 decision and finalize the Gophers 33-3 victory.
Up next for Minnesota, select wrestlers will take part in the Bison Open Saturday Morning in Fargo, N.D. while the team will return to the dual portion of their schedule next Sunday, Nov. 18 when they take on Oklahoma State in the home opener.
197: Anthony McLaughlin (AF) dec. over Dylan Anderson (MINN), 5-4 | AF 3-0 MINN
285: Rylee Streifel (MINN) dec. over Matt Wagner (AF), 3-0 | AF 3-3 MINN
125: No. 5 Sean Russell (MINN) dec. over Sidney Flores (AF), 12-5 | MINN 6-3 AF
133: No. 6 Ethan Lizak (MINN) dec. over John Twomey (AF), 6-0 | MINN 9-3 AF
141: No. 9 Mitch McKee (MINN) fall over Garrett O'Shea (AF), 1:11 | MINN 15-3 AF
149: No. 18 Tommy Thorn (MINN) dec. over Alec Opsal (AF), 11-5 | MINN 18-3 AF
157: No. 13 Steve Bleise (MINN) major dec. over Alex Mossing (AF), 18-6 | MINN 22-3 AF
165: Carson Brolsma (MINN) major dec. Tanner Johnson (AF), 11-3 | MINN 26-3 AF
174: No. 20 Devin Skatzka (MINN) major dec. over Randy Meneweather (AF), 16-4 | MINN 30-3
184: Owen Webster (MINN) dec. over Tyler Wiederholt (AF), 8-6 | MINN 33-3