The University of Minnesota wrestling program announced its 2017-18 schedule today, a schedule that will feature one of the toughest road schedules in the entire country with trips to four of the top five finishers from the 2017 NCAA Championships.
The Gophers will host six home dual meets this year with Michigan highlighting the schedule at the newly named Maturi Pavilion.
"We have a solid road schedule this year, our Big Ten schedule is the toughest in the country. Plus you add a team like Oklahoma State on the road, it adds another great test," said Coach Brandon Eggum.
"We head to Florida this year hoping to get some experience against different schools from different conferences. It's exciting to head down to Florida not only for us, but for our fans as well. It will be nice to be able to enjoy the warm weather down in Fort Lauderdale," added Eggum.
Minnesota will once again open the season with a trip to the Daktronics Open on Nov. 5, then the Maroon and Gold will return home to start the dual season when the Air Force Academy visits the Sports Pavilion before heading back out on the road.
The annual matchup with South Dakota State will come on Nov. 17 in Brookings. The Gophers won the matchup last season with a thrilling 18-17 victory, moving their overall record to 22-5 against the Jackrabbits.
The biggest test of the early season will come when Minnesota visits the 2017 third place finisher Oklahoma State Cowboys in Stillwater, Okla. on Nov. 19. The Gophers will look to avenge their 2016 loss to the Cowboys. The meeting this season will be the 30th time the two historic programs have met.
Minnesota will take a week off before heading to Las Vegas, Nev. for the Cliff Keen Invitational to begin the month of December. The 2017 trip will mark the Gophers fourth straight year at the Cliff Keen Invitational. The teams at the event are yet to be determined. Last season the Gophers finished fourth in the desert, with senior Jake Short set to defend his 157-pound title.
Minnesota will return home on Dec. 12 to host Fresno State. The dual with the Bulldogs will be first meeting between the two programs. Minnesota will then take a break for finals and the holidays before getting back to action on Dec. 29 when they travel to warm Ft. Lauderdale, Flor. for the South Beach Duals. The inaugural event will be host to nine other teams as of now including Missouri, Michigan State, North Carolina and Cornell.
After the holidays, the Gophers will return home for a match against the Michigan State Spartans to get the Big Ten season underway. Last season, the Gophers defeated the Spartans 20-17, and have now won the last nine meetings with Michigan State.
Minnesota will start its treacherous Big Ten road schedule with a dual against Ohio State on Jan. 12. The 2017 NCAA runner-up narrowly defeated the Gophers last season at home.
Breaking up the rough road schedule, Minnesota will return home for duals between Illinois and Michigan. Last season, the Wolverines finished 10th at the NCAA Championships, the sixth Big Ten team in the top ten.
Minnesota will look to repeat the results of the last meeting in State College when the Gophers defeated Penn State 17-16. Minnesota has won 13 of the past 14 meetings with the defending National Champions.
After a quick return home against Northwestern, the Gophers will finish the regular season with four straight road matches. Highlighted by the Hawkeyes on February 2, the Gophers will also take on Rutgers, Maryland and Rider before the Big Ten Championships in East Lansing.
GopherSports.com will have you covered for Gopher Wrestling news this season, from the opening match of the Daktronics Open through the final seconds of the NCAA Championships. As Minnesota prepares for the upcoming year, stayed tuned right here for news and, for the latest updates, follow Gopher Wrestling on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates.
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