Minnesota rebounds against Air Force

The Gophers won three matches in a row to close out a victory Saturday.

Gophers wrestler Brandon Kingsley dominates Air Force wrestler Zach Stepan in the 157 pound weight class match-up on Saturday at the Sports Pavilion.

Liam James Doyle

Gophers wrestler Brandon Kingsley dominates Air Force wrestler Zach Stepan in the 157 pound weight class match-up on Saturday at the Sports Pavilion.

Jack White

Minnesota defeated Air Force in a dual meet on Saturday at the Sports Pavilion, bouncing back after losing three duals a week ago.
 
The Gophers won 22-12 over the Falcons, finishing with an overall record of 6-4 in the meet. 
 
“I think we made progress from last week, and that’s the thing we were trying to do,” head coach J Robinson said. “We’re not where we wanted to be as far as being aggressive and going after people, but we made progress, and that’s important.”
 
Redshirt freshman Skyler Petry started out the meet for the Gophers at 125 pounds with a close victory. 
 
The match was tied at 5-5 in the second period before Petry pinned Drew Romero to take the lead 7-5 in the closing seconds. Petry edged Romero by a final score of 9-7 after the third period.
 
Redshirt junior Sam Brancale was bested in the second match of the dual by No. 13 senior Josh Martinez. Brancale came back from a two-point deficit to take the lead 3-2 by the end of the first period, but Martinez took Barnacale down in the closing seconds to win the match by three points.
 
“He needs to be able to keep the pressure on Martinez more,” Robinson said. “It’s an ongoing thing we talk about. When you put pressure on people it wears them out, and it gives you other opportunities.”
 
Redshirt junior Brandon Kingsley took only 48 seconds to defeat senior Zach Stepan in the fifth match. Kingsley earned a fall, which gave the Gophers six points and a 12-6 lead over Air Force.
 
“I knew his basic strategy was going to be to go for that low shot,” Kingsley said. “I felt like when he knew that I countered that shot right away, he kind of fell off, and I was able to get to my offense incredibly fast.”
 
Air Force tied the dual at 12-12 with three matches remaining, and redshirt sophomore Chris Pfarr and freshman Anthony McLaughlin had a tight contest to see which team would retake the lead.
 
The match went into overtime, and Pfarr eventually won, gaving Minnesota a three point lead after 11 minutes of wrestling thanks to having more riding time than his opponent.
 
“Basically, I knew I had to grind it out,” Pfarr said. “I feel like my conditioning is better than most people’s, so as the match goes on it is to my advantage, I feel like. That’s what our coaches preach. The longer it goes in the match, it’s better for us because we have been training for those positions and that time. I wasn’t too nervous; I was just ready to go.”
 
Redshirt junior Michael Kroells ended the meet with a 6-3 win over Marcus Malecek to give the Gophers a 10-point victory. 
 
“The season’s pretty young,” Robinson said. “We’re only in our third week, but we made a little bit of progress.”