The Big Ten Championships provided plenty of excitement for Minnesota this year. As a team, the Gophers returned to the conference’s top five for the 20th time in the past 21 seasons. Individually, nine different Gophers automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships, the largest Minnesota contingent in the event since 2014.
Eight different Gophers placed at the Big Ten tournament, led by Brett Pfarr’s runner-up finish at 197 pounds. Ethan Lizak took third at 125, Michael Kroells took fourth at heavyweight and Jake Short finished fifth at 157. Three different Gophers finished sixth: Mitch McKee (133), Tommy Thorn (141) and Nick Wanzek (165). Bobby Steveson jumped up from the 10th seed at 184 to take seventh, and Chris Pfarr rounded out the automatic qualifiers by wrestling for, and winning, true ninth at 174.
With Big Tens now complete, the only event left on the 2016-17 schedule is the biggest of them all, the NCAA Championships. The national tournament gets started on Thurs., March 16 and will run through Sat., March 18.
GopherSports.com is your home for all Gopher Wrestling news throughout the 2016-17. Whether you’re looking for competition highlights, features on the wrestlers you’re seeing on the mat each week or team stats, we will have it all for you right here. Be sure to follow Gopher Wrestling on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates.
Gophers Score Big in the Classroom
Whether measured by grade point averages, conference rankings or individual academic accolades, 2016-17 set a new academic standard for Gopher Wrestling
Bleise Becomes Newest Gopher
Two-time NCAA qualifier Steve Bleise will transfer from Northern Illinois and join the Gophers this fall
McKee Earns Junior World Team Spot
Mitch McKee will represent the USA at 60 kg in Finland this August, while Tony Nelson earns a senior national team spot by finishing third at 125 kg