McKee named Big Ten Co-Wrestler of the Week

Patrick McKee was awarded the honor after his fantastic performance in a Michigan State tri-meet last Saturday.

Patrick McKee competes at the Maturi Pavilion on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019.

Kamaan Richards

Patrick McKee competes at the Maturi Pavilion on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019.

Matthew Kennedy, Sports Reporter

The No. 14 Minnesota Gophers wrestling squad came out of Lansing, Michigan with a 48-0 route over the Maryland Terrapins (0-3) and a 28-6 blowout over the host Michigan State Spartans (1-1) in the final.

A key cog of the sweep was redshirt sophomore Patrick McKee. The 17th ranked 125-pounder won a 19-6 major decision over King Sandoval of Maryland.

“I was happy about the result but I was hoping for more than just a major decision. I kinda ran out of time at the end to get a tech fall or a pin,” McKee said. “But, it felt good to showcase some of my takedowns and get back to the stuff that I’m used to.”

He also came back from a 3-0 deficit versus the then second-ranked 125-pound wrestler in the country, Rayvon Foley of Michigan State, to complete the 10-6 upset decision.

“The first period I gave up a takedown, but honestly I didn’t feel too bad. Soon in the second period I could feel him [Foley] fading a bit and getting tired,” McKee said. “My ability to go hard for the last six minutes after a not-so-great first minute made me the more resilient wrestler and why I came out with the win.”

During the second period of the match versus Foley, McKee registered four takedowns. He has since risen to No. 12 among 125-pound grapplers in the nation. McKee this season is also coming back from a torn LCL and PCL on his left knee.

“It’s a pretty rare wrestling-caused injury, since it takes so much force to tear those two ligaments,” he said. “Honestly, it was really the first time ever I’ve been injured from wrestling and it took a lot of mental exercise to come back strong and be positive.”

The now 15th-ranked Gophers will head back to Maturi Pavilion to take on the top-ranked Hawkeyes at home at 8 p.m. on Friday.

“If we wrestle Iowa with the same mentality and attack-mindset that we had versus Maryland and Michigan State then we shouldn’t have any problems,” McKee said.

Mckee has a rich family history in the Gopher program, as his brother Mitch had a successful career donning the maroon and gold, and the sky is the limit for Patrick McKee to continue to be a major impact in this 2021 wrestling season and beyond.
“Around the state I feel like a lot of people know about our family so I want to represent us well. Mitchell is a big role model for me but I want to go out and do bigger things than he has done as well,” McKee said. “Being an All-American like him is something to chase but is not the ceiling, I want to keep grinding and one day possibly become a national champion.”