Gophers’ wrestling takes seventh at Cliff Keen Invitational

Gophers wrestler Brayton Lee took home the lone title for the Gophers.

Redshirt Freshman Brayton Lee competes at Maturi Pavilion on Friday, Nov. 1. 

Kamaan Richards

Redshirt Freshman Brayton Lee competes at Maturi Pavilion on Friday, Nov. 1. 

by Nolan O'Hara

The Gophers’ wrestling team returned to action over the weekend, taking seventh at the Cliff Keen Invitational and leaving with a number of standout individual performances. 

Redshirt freshman Brayton Lee led the way for Minnesota, winning the 149-pound class with five straight victories. On his way to the finals, Lee earned four victories, including a standout semifinal victory over No. 5 Max Thomsen. In his finals match, Lee landed the first takedown, which was the difference-maker as he took the 6-4 decision to win his bracket. Along with Lee, three other Gophers placed at the Cliff Keen: 141-pound Mitch McKee, 174-pound Devin Skatzka and 165-pound Bailee O’Reilly. 

McKee placed second in his class after dropping the finals match, but took down No. 2 Dom Demas in a 5-2 decision. After topping the No. 2 ranked opponent, McKee lined up against top-ranked Luke Pletcher. McKee couldn’t pull off a second upset, falling in a 10-6 decision. Before falling in the finals, McKee topped two top-15 opponents, including Demas. 

After dropping an early match, Skatzka found himself in the consolation bracket, where he rallied off five-straight victories. He returned to the third place match, but lost by a narrow 7-5 decision in overtime to take fourth in the 174-pound bracket. 

O’Reilly won his first two contests, but fell in a 9-5 decision to No. 4 Isaiah White in the quarterfinal round. From there, he also found himself in the consolation bracket where he rattled off a major decision in his first match and dropped his second. O’Reilly competed once more in the seventh place match, but lost in a major decision to No. 14 Philip Conigliaro. O’Reilly was the last of the Gophers to place, taking eighth at the Cliff Keen. 

The Gophers will return to action Dec. 20 for their fourth dual of the season against South Dakota State.