|No. 8 Minnesota at South Beach Duals|
|Date/Time||Friday and Saturday, Dec. 29 & 30, 2017 | 10:00 a.m. (CT) each day|
|Location||Deerfield Sports Complex|
|Social Media||@GopherWrestling | Facebook | Instagram|
The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers traveled down to Florida to take on the first ever South Beach Duals on Dec. 29 and 30. Minnesota will wrestle against Columbia, North Carolina, Columbia and Binghamton.
DAY ONE RECAP
The University of Minnesota took on day one of the South Beach Duals, and came away with nine individual victories between the two duals against No. 24 North Carolina and No 12 Cornell. Minnesota dropped the UNC dual 25-16 and the Cornell dual 22-19. No. 5 Ethan Lizak, No. 9 Nick Wanzek and Chris Pfarr all were able to pick up two victories on Friday, which included four bonus point victories. Pfarr, along with sophomore Owen Webster, each picked up ranked victories during the day. Pfarr was able to upset No. 16 Brandon Womack of Cornell, who was a 2017 All-American.
Listen to what @BrandonEggum had to say yesterday following the #Gophers first day at the #SouthBeachDuals
Weigh-Ins are in 25 minutes, wrestling an hour after that in Ft. Lauderdale. #GopherTough https://t.co/RaDz6VL9HQ
— Minnesota Wrestling (@GopherWrestling) December 30, 2017
The University of Minnesota sent five wrestlers to the 55th Ken Kraft Midlands Championships. Both Steve Bleise and Steve Polakowski made it out of day one, and will wrestle today in consolation brackets. Polakowski is wrestling at 125-pounds, while Bleise is at 149-pounds. You can follow the brackets here, or watch live on FloWrestling.
The University of Minnesota will take part in the first ever South Beach Duals event. The Gophers are one of a dozen teams that will take the mat in Ft. Lauderdale. Binghamton, Columbia, North Carolina and Cornell will be the Gophers three opponents during the two day event. Other teams include Franklin & Marshall, Kent State, Michigan State, Missouri, North Dakota State, Rider and SIU Edwardsville. The event will take place at Deerfield Beach Sportsplex.
LAST TIME OUT - FRESNO STATE
The last time the Gophers were in action on the mat was back on Dec. 10 when thye took on the Bulldogs of Fresno State. Minnesota was able to overwhelm Fresno State by a score of 38-7. The 38 points was the most points the Gophers were able to put up at home since 2013 when Minnesota crushed Wyoming 41-5 at the then-called Sports Pavilion.
"I was impressed with our aggressiveness today," head coach Brandon Eggum said after the dual. "The way each guy started matches and all the way through that seventh minute, I thought guys wrestled with passion and fans love seeing that and I'm proud of them.
EXTRA BONUS POINTS
Against Fresno State, eight Maroon and Gold singlets were able to pick up bonus point victories including two pints, four major decisions and two tech falls. It has been over six years since the Gophers have been able to pick up at least eight bonus point victories in a dual. Minnesota has picked up seven numerous times over that span.
Tommy Thorn has done nothing but dazzle this season. His seven falls this season puts him on the top of the team, one ahead of 133-pounder Mitch McKee. Thorn's quickest fall came against Fresno State when he pinned Chris Deloza for the second time this year (the first came in Las Vegas at the Cliff Keen Invite). Thorn's seven pins put him higher than last year's leader, Mitch McKee, who had six during the 2016-17 season.
This season, the Gophers have three seniors in their starting lineup, including Jake Short, Nick Wanzek and Chris Pfarr. Thus far this season, those three have accumulated a 22-10 (.688) record. In those 22 wins, these seniors have 11 bonus point wins. Including the non-starting seniors, they have combined to go 30-16 this season in dual/open tournaments.
Near perfect has been Lizak this season. The junior, 2017 NCAA Finalist, has brought his record to 13-1 this season. This season, he has outscored his opponents 127-25, including 44-2 in his last four matches (since his first loss at Cliff Keen). Nine of the 13 victories for Lizak have been bonus point wins, including the last four matches.
BOBBY BACK ON TRACK
Bobby Steveson was able to capture his first victory of the season against Fresno State in a high scoring affair. Steveson won his match by major decision and his 19 points were the second most he has scored in a match, his highest coming against Zach Nevills of Stanford at the 2016 Cliff Keen Invite when he scored 23 points in a 23-8 tech fall.
BACK IN THE NEUTRAL POSITION
The last time the University of Minnesota has taken part in neutral dual action was back in 2015 when the team took on the Northeast Duals in Troy, N.Y. The Gophers also took on North Carolina during that neutral site event. Minnesota's last victory at a neutral site was Feb. 17, 2014 when they defeated Cornell, who they will also face at the South Beach Duals.
The Gophers will send five wrestlers to the 55th Ken Kraft Midlands Championships in Hoffma Estates, Illinois on Dec. 29 and 30. Colin Carr, Steve Bleise, Carson Brolsma, Steve Polakowski and Jakob Bergeland will all participate. You can watch at FloWrestling ($) here. You can also keep up to date on the brackets here.
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