Jake Short and Nick Wanzek share bond on and off the mat

The two wrestlers have been friends for a long time.

Redshirt seniors Nick Wanzek, left, and Jake Short, both from Inver Grove Heights, have known each other since first grade and now wrestle back-to-back in the Gophers lineup.

Maddy Fox

Redshirt seniors Nick Wanzek, left, and Jake Short, both from Inver Grove Heights, have known each other since first grade and now wrestle back-to-back in the Gophers lineup.

Owen Mageau

When attending a Minnesota wrestling dual, fans can expect to see redshirt seniors Jake Short and Nick Wanzek slotted next to each other in the lineup at 157 and 165, respectively. 

They appear in back-to-back matches much of the time, and the two are close outside the sport as well.

Wanzek and Short both grew up in Inver Grove Heights and met for the first time when they were on the same T-ball team in first grade. In second grade, Short started to play football and Wanzek was on his team. The two quickly formed a connection and have been friends ever since. 

“That’s when we started to become really close, because I was the quarterback and he was the running back,” Wanzek said. “I guess we just kind of had a connection, because we were both athletic and we competed against each other to be the best. Ever since then, we’ve just hung around each other and our friendship grew.”

The duo’s bond in football transferred over to the varsity level. Wanzek was the quarterback and Short was the running back of the Simley High School varsity football team in 2012.

The friendship between the two has carried over to their time at the University. They wrestle with each other often and are constantly pushing each other to be better. Also, they offer advice to each other on the mat. 

“There’s moments that you kind of get hot headed,” Short said. “It’s almost like when you type up an email, you don’t necessarily want to send it to that person, but you want to get those emotions out. That’s like what I have with Nick. … I can go to Nick and go like ‘this is how I feel right now,’ and he’d be right by my side and be like, ‘I can understand where you’re coming from.’”

They’ve lived together since their second year at Minnesota, and they influence what the other eats. 

Head coach Brandon Eggum said when they are on the road, Eggum will ask Short what he wants for dinner and Short will say he wants spaghetti with meatballs. Before Eggum can walk away, Short will ask what Wanzek ordered and then he’ll change his mind and say he wants what Wanzek is eating. 

The two will be together Friday, when the Gophers take on Penn State and Sunday, when Minnesota battles Northwestern at Maturi Pavilion.