Gable Steveson wins second Big Ten title for Gophers wrestling

The No. 9 Minnesota Gophers placed fifth overall in the 2021 Big Ten wrestling championships.

Gophers Gable Steveson faces off with his opponent at Maturi Pavilion on Sunday, Feb. 9. The Gophers lost to Penn State 31-10.

Parker Johnson

Gophers Gable Steveson faces off with his opponent at Maturi Pavilion on Sunday, Feb. 9. The Gophers lost to Penn State 31-10.

Matthew Kennedy, Sports Reporter

For the second consecutive year, top-ranked heavyweight Gable Steveson has defeated No. 2 Mason Parris of Michigan, this time in a 12-4 major decision to win the Big Ten heavyweight title.

Steveson’s win vaulted the Gophers three spots in the overall conference standings in the championships. Minnesota finished in fifth place overall. Steveson was named Most Outstanding Wrestler of the championships following his title match.

“This ain’t a rivalry. I came here and did my job; I’m 2-0 against [Parris],” Steveson said to Big Ten Network after his win. “I’m going to see him next week, though, and I’m not worried about anything. I put my skills on display here, and it’s going to happen again.”

Since 1999, Minnesota has the most heavyweight Big Ten titles with 11. Steveson is the first Gopher to win more than one league crown since Tony Nelson won three straight from 2012-14.

“It’s a great tradition we have; If you want to be the champ, come to Minnesota,” Steveson told BTN on Minnesota’s heavyweight success. “Heavyweights out there, make sure you’re getting the right recruitment in. Look what we are doing at Minnesota; you could be next.”

Alongside Steveson, six Gophers ended up qualifying for the NCAA Championships – No. 6 Brayton Lee (157 pounds, finished third), Michael Blockus (149 pounds, finished fourth), Jake Allar (174 pounds, finished seventh), No. 13 Patrick McKee (125 pounds, finished eighth), Boo Dryden (133 pounds, finished eighth) and No. 10 Owen Webster (184 pounds, finished eighth).

Marcos Polanco at 141 pounds and 197-pounder Garrett Joles also competed in University Park, Pennsylvania this weekend, but did not place. No. 22 165-pounder Andrew Sparks did not perform due to an injury; he was set to face Nick South of Indiana in his first match. It is still up in the air if Sparks will receive an at-large NCAA tournament bid.

The NCAA tournament will commence in two weeks from March 18-20 at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The bracket selection show for each weight class will be revealed on March 10.