The Minnesota Golden Gopher lineup from where I sit is a rollercoaster. Extremely high in some areas and rather low in others. They don't have the numbers to compete for anything team wise, but have some outstanding individuals who should have outstanding individual performances.
NCAA: 20'NQ, 21'3rd
BIG 10: 20'WC, 21'8th
When you take 8th at the BIG 10's and turn that around into a 3rd place performance at the NCAA championships that in itself is a testimony to the brutal warzone that the BIG 10 is, as well as the phenomenal coaching staff at Minnesota. McKee is in the game for a spot against Iowa's Spencer Lee in both the BIG 10 and NCAA finals.
NCAA: 20'NQ, 21'NQ
BIG 10: 21'4th
BIG 12: 20'5th
MIDLANDS: 19'4th, 20'R12
As far as I'm concerned Michael Blockhus is All American material. He owns a 6-4 victory over both Tariq Wilson of North Carolina State & a 3-2 victory Yahya Thomas of Northwestern who both finished in 3rd place at last year's NCAA championships. A 15-3 major decision of Mike Van Brill of Rutgers as well as taking Oklahoma's Dom Demas into the tiebreakers also sticks out. Blockhus is also susceptible to loss, but has capabilities.
NCAA: 20'NQ, 21'6th
BIG 10: 20'4th, 21'3rd
Does Brayton Lee contend for the NCAA title this season? Oh, I so badly wanna say yes, and I do for many reasons, but there's one reason that's keeping me on the edge of no. As to why he does? His match Vs David Carr of Iowa State that ended in sudden victory could have gone either way. If he would have won that match, it would not have surprised me at all. As to why he doesn't? Ryan Deakin. It may tick Minnesota fans off to read me say that, and I'm sure I'll get an ear full of it, but at this point Deakin has his number. He hasn't been able to generate a single point in a 12-0 loss and in an 8-0 loss. If Lee is going to contend for the NCAA title this season, he's gonna have to figure Deakin out.
I'd also like to put in a word for Ryan Thomas as a suitable backup but he's no longer on the Minnesota roster. I'm thinking he may have transferred somewhere and I obviously missed it. Nevertheless with victories such as Jarrett Jacques, Jake Tucker and Elijah Cleary, his name deserves to be said.
BIG 10: 21'WC
I was kind of hoping to find out that Andrew Sparks and Shane Sparks were somehow related, and that Andrew had the same personality as Shane. Can you imagine that post match interview?
"I saw you do 10,000 moves during the 3rd period to put up 25,000 points against your opponent!!!!"
"Yes, I did. Coach Eggum said, BUT YOU HAVE TO SCORE NOW!"
It'd be like Matthew Lesko interviewing Billy Mays.
Warning: If you follow Johnnythompsonnum1 you'll have to have a since of humor. I'm a fun, knowledgeable wrestling fan, but I'm also weird.
I digress, back to business.
I'm anxious to see the California state champ get a full season. I think he's capable of doing some great things during his career. Wins such as 7-6 over Peyton Robb of Nebraska and 9-7 over Jake Tucker of Michigan State stick out in particularly. As of right now, calling NQ, but come midseason could be calling higher.
Bailee O'Reilly OR Jared Krattiger
Junior OR Sophomore
Record: 71-27 OR Record: 22-23
NCAA: 20'NQ OR
BIG 10: 20'WC OR
CKLV: 20'8th OR
2020 NCAA qualifier Bailee O'Reilly failed to qualify for the NCAA championships last season, but I think he makes a return this season. Capable of more? Maybe. A 13-2 major decision over All American Bernie Truax of Cal Poly sticks out. Yet the starter could also be Wisconsin transfer Jared Krattiger. Krattiger thus far hasn't be able to make it out of two BIG 10 tournaments, but he does have victories over Emil Soehnlen of Purdue and ironically enough Jake Allar of Minnesota.
O'Reilly or Krattiger I think the Gophers have an NCAA qualifier here.
NCAA: 19'3rd, 20'NQ*, 21'1st
BIG 10: 19'2nd, 20'1st, 21'1st
Minnesota recently updated their roster to reflect the 2021-2022 season and Gable Steveson is on it. Therefore I'm going to go with that information and treat Steveson like he will be a part of the 2021-2022 wrestling season. If you go to Anthony Cassar's Wikipedia page it mentions that he defeated Steveson, but at this point I think it ought to be its own freaking section. The man is unstoppable. No one is going to give this guy a match. He has but one challenge and one challenge only in NCAA wrestling this season. That is Spencer Lee of Iowa in route to the Danny Hodge trophy and that is it.
125 - 2nd
133 - DNQ
141 - DNQ
149 - Can see low end AA
157 - Champion (but gonna have to figure out Ryan Deakin)
165 - NQ
174 - NQ
184 - DNQ
197 - DNQ
HWT - Champion
I know I'll catch some hot wind from the Maroon and Gold faithful for seeing 4 empty spaces, but this is how I see it as of the preseason. I can be rest assured through, "but in high school" till the cows come home, but if you want to make a believer out of me I need results, specifically COLLEGIATE results. Maybe by midseason I'll see more.
As of now, I see 6 qualifiers, and 4 of them All Americans. One for sure champion, another that must first figure out a big problem but still in the discussion as champion. A potential runner-up and another who with a good draw and a good performance could find himself on the award stand.