Gophers Head to Pittsburgh for NCAA Championships

The biggest tournament in college wrestling has arrived with the 2019 NCAA Wrestling Championships. The tournament, held in Pittsburgh, will close out the best Gophers season in recent years on a national level with eight individual representatives competing.

Full Schedule

  • Session 1: 11am CT (Pigtails and First Championship Round)
  • Session 2: 6pm CT (First round of consolations and second Championship Round)
  • Session 3: 10am CT (Quarterfinals and 2nd/3rd rounds of consolations)
  • Session 4: 7pm CT (Semifinals and 4th/5th rounds of consolation)
  • Session 5: 10am CT (Consolation semifinals, 3rd-place match, 5th-place match, 7th place match)
  • Session 6: 6pm CT (Championship finals and awards ceremony)

Television and streaming
All actions from Pittsburgh will be available on the ESPN family of networks or streaming on ESPN3. The main ESPN channel will share the second round on Thursday, the semifinals on Friday night, and the Championship round on Saturday evening.

For more information please click here.

Previewing the Tournament
The NCAA Wrestling Championships, also known as “March Matness“, is headed to Pittsburgh and PPG Paints Arena this spring. The Gophers are one of 13 teams with at least eight individual qualifiers.

Gable Steveson is the Gophers highest seed as the top-ranked grappler at heavyweight. No.6-seed Sean Russell, No.6-seed Ethan Lizak, No.7-seed Mitch McKee, No.9-seed Devin Skatzka, and No.10-seed Steve Bleise are the remaining wrestlers representing The ‘U’ in the top-ten.

The Gophers last placed in the top-ten in 2017 in St. Louis.

Transfer Impact
Three of the Gophers starters, and highly ranked wrestlers nationally, transferred to the university in the past two seasons. 157-pound Steve Bleise joined the Maroon and Gold last season while 125-pound Sean Russell and 174-pound Devin Skatzka are in their first seasons in Minneapolis.

All three notched over 15 victories this season and are seeded within the top-ten at the NCAA Championships. Bleise has over 35 victories as a Gopher while Russell and Skatzka both won over 25 times this season.

Finishing Up Business
Four Gophers will be finishing up their careers at the NCAA Championships as graduating seniors. The group includes Sean Russell, Ethan Lizak, Tommy Thorn, and Steve Bleise.

Lizak and Thorn have been in Minneapolis since they were freshman five years ago while Bleise and Russell transferred to the Gophers within the past two years. All five are previous NCAA qualifiers.

All four of the senior Gophers finished in the top-six at the Big Ten tournament including two third-place finishes for Russell and Lizak. Russell and Lizak will be pursuing a second and third All-American honor respectively.

Freshman history
Gable Steveson has already had a historic season even before the postseason has begun. Steveson, an Apple Valley High School graduate, is 30-1 after beginning his career with championships at the Daktronics Open and the Bison Open.

Steveson’s first dual victory in a Minnesota singlet came with his defeat of current top-seed Derek White, White’s only loss this season. Steveson remained unbeaten throughout his first career regular season.

Steveson has already passed career-best winning streaks from coaches Brandon Eggum, Luke Becker, and Zach Sanders. Steveson could be the first Gophers NCAA Champion since Tony Nelson won in 2013.

The last time….
For a full breakdown of the last time the Gophers placed an All-American, an NCAA finalist, or crowned an NCAA Champion, see below:

Last Minnesota NCAA Champion: Dick Mueller (1953 @ 123-pounds)
Last Minnesota NCAA finalist: Ethan Lizak (2017)
Last Minnesota All-American: Ethan Lizak (2018)

Last Minnesota NCAA Champion: Jayson Ness (2010)
Last Minnesota NCAA finalist: Ryan Lewis (2003)
Last Minnesota All-American: Chris Dardanes (2015)

Last Minnesota NCAA Champion: N/A
Last Minnesota NCAA finalist: Lonnie Rubis (1963 @ 147-pounds)
Last Minnesota All-American: Tommy Thorn (2017)

Last Minnesota NCAA Champion: Dustin Schlatter (149)
Last Minnesota NCAA finalist: Dylan Ness (2012)
Last Minnesota All-American: Dylan Ness (2013)

Last Minnesota NCAA Champion: Luke Becker (2002)
Last Minnesota NCAA finalist: Dylan Ness (2014)
Last Minnesota All-American: Dylan Ness (2014)

Last Minnesota NCAA Champion: N/A
Last Minnesota NCAA finalist: N/A
Last Minnesota All-American: Danny Zilverberg (2014)

Last Minnesota NCAA Champion: Marty Morgan (1991 @ 177-pounds)
Last Minnesota NCAA finalist: Marty Morgan (1990 @ 177-pounds)
Last Minnesota All-American: Logan Storley (2015)

Last Minnesota NCAA Champion: N/A
Last Minnesota NCAA finalist: Roger Kish (2006)
Last Minnesota All-American: Kevin Steinhaus (2014)

Last Minnesota NCAA Champion: Damion Hahn (2004)
Last Minnesota NCAA finalist: Brett Pfarr (2017)
Last Minnesota All-American: Brett Pfarr (2017)

Last Minnesota NCAA Champion: Tony Nelson (2013)
Last Minnesota Big Ten finalist: Tony Nelson (2014)
Last Minnesota All-American: Michael Kroells (2017)

Last Minnesota NCAA team title: 2007 in Auburn Hills, Michigan
Minnesota NCAA team titles: Three (2007, 2002, 2001)

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