Gophers wrestling returns home with a victory

The Gophers wrestling team put on a show at the Maturi Pavilion as they downed the Purdue Boilermakers on Sunday.

Minnesotas Tommy Thorn takes on a Purdues Parker Filius at Maturi Pavilion on Sunday, Feb. 3.

Minnesota’s Tommy Thorn takes on a Purdue’s Parker Filius at Maturi Pavilion on Sunday, Feb. 3.

by David Mullen

The No. 7 Gophers (12-2, 5-1 Big Ten) wrestling team dominated the Purdue Boilermakers in the team’s first dual at Maturi Pavilion in three weeks. 

“I thought our guys came out with a lot of energy and looked great,” said head coach Brandon Eggum. “Overall, there were really good matches.”

Although the Boilermakers gained some momentum during the higher weight classes, the Gophers’ hot start to the dual ultimately put them ahead. The team won 24-11.

The Gophers took the first six matches of the dual starting with No. 6 Sean Russell at 125, who had missed the past three duals with an injury.

Russell quickly took down his opponent and dominated the entire match. He won by a major decision, putting the Gophers ahead 4-0.

No. 8 Ethan Lizak followed Russell by winning his fourth consecutive match. Heading into the final period, the match was tied at two. A two-point near fall was enough to give Lizak the victory.

No. 10 Mitch McKee continued the Gophers’ winning trend, registering a takedown within the first 20 seconds of the match. He followed with a four-point near fall and won the match with a 9-3 decision that put the Gophers ahead 10-0.

With all the momentum toward Minnesota, No. 19 Tommy Thorn dominated and won 16-3, after a strong opening period with two, two-point near falls and a takedown.

An overtime thriller for No. 8 Steve Bleise carried the Gophers into the halftime break ahead 17-0. Bleise and No. 13 Griffin Parriott were tied 3-3. In overtime, Bleise came out fast. He took down Parriott and continued the Gophers’ winning streak.

At halftime, “everyone was hyped up with [Bleise’s] win,” Thorn said. “We were all in a good mood, and every person was building off of the last match, which is what you want in these dual meets.”

After the short intermission, the Boilermakers started to make some noise of their own as they won their first match of the afternoon as Cole Wysocki took down Minnesota’s Carson Brolsma in a 5-3 decision.

Although Gophers No. 11 Devin Skatzka looked poised and evenly matched with No. 14 Dylan Lydy, it was the Boilermakers who came out on top of an overtime match.

Lydy overpowered Skatzka and threw him down, getting the needed takedown to win the overtime thriller.

Purdue went on, winning the next two matches by a decision in the 165 class and a technical fall at 197.

The day was capped off by the top-ranked freshman phenom at the heavyweight class, Gable Steveson, who earned three takedowns in the opening period. 

Steveson dominated. He won his 24th consecutive match with a major 16-6 decision. 

The Gophers will return to action Friday when the team travels down to Lincoln, Nebraska to match-up against the Cornhuskers.