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Gopher Sports: Non-Rev Roundup

Wrestling and Track Underway, Gymnastics to start this weekend

Gable Steveson warmed up before wrestling Christian Colucci of Rutgers at Maturi Pavilion Sunday January 6, 2019 in Minneapolis, MN.] The University of Minnesota hosted Rutgers in Big Ten wrestling action at Maturi Pavilion. Jerry Holt • Jerry.holt@ Getty Photos

With the Minnesota Golden Gophers non-revenue sports kicking into gear finally this past weekend, it’s time to bring back our non-rev roundup. Here is a look at how the teams who started their seasons faired last week, and a look ahead to this weekends opening weekend for a few others.

Gopher Wrestling:

The #14 Minnesota Golden Gophers opened the season with a duel meet at #8 Nebraska last weekend. It overall didn’t go well for the Gophers as the Cornhuskers would win 22-14. Minnesota picked up wins in four of the ten matches, but it wouldn’t be enough to counter Nebraska winning six and adding a pin by #4 ranked Mikey Labriola at 174 pounds.

The Gophers got two individual upset wins with senior Boo Dryden upsetting #15 Alex Thompson 9-2 at 133 pounds and true freshman Andrew Sparks upsetting Nebraska’s #10 Peyton Robb in his first collegiate match at 165 pounds. The Gophers got wins from two of their ranked wrestlers as well as #6 Brayton Lee picked up a 10-5 win at 157 pounds and #1 Gable Steveson had no trouble at heavyweight winning 23-8.

With the wins several Gophers joined the national rankings this week. Minnesota’s ranked wrestlers headed into this weekend’s matches include:

125: #17 Patrick McKee

133: #18 Boo Dryden

149: #17 Michael Blockhus

157: #6 Brayton Lee

165: #16 Andrew Sparks

184: #20 Owen Webster

HWT: #1 Gable Steveson

The Gophers will head to East Lansing this Saturday for a tri-meet with #16 Michigan State and Maryland. The Gophers and Terps will hit the mat at 1PM, and then the Gophers and Spartans will face off at 3PM. The matches can be streamed on BTN+

Indoor Track and Field:

The Gophers men’s and women’s Indoor Track and Field teams opened their season this past Saturday in Iowa City at the Hawkeye Border Battle. Both the men and women took home five individual event titles.

The men picked up a win from Alex Basten in the mile at 4:03:36, and had Owen Hoeft finish second at 4:03.54. Those two times are now the seventh and eighth fastest times in school history. For that finish Basten was honored with the Big Ten Co-Track Athlete of the Week award. Other men’s winners were Kion Benjamin in the 200 meters, Kyle Atkinson in the shot put, Phillippe Barnett in the weight throw and Khalid Hussain in the 3,000 meters.

The women were led by Bethany Hasz who took home the 3,000 meter run by nearly 20 seconds in a time of 9:24.49. That time is 13 seconds off of her career best and school record. Yet it is still the best time in the nation this season. Because of this she was honored with both the Big Ten Women’s track Athlete of the Week award and the U.S. Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association National Track Athlete of the Week honor.

The other four Gopher women picking up wins included Amira Young in the 200 meters, Val Larson in the 400 meters, Sophie Schmitz in the 1,000 meters and Erin Reidy in the mile.

The Gophers are back in action this weekend at the Husker Triangular on Saturday where they will face Nebraska and Iowa. Action is scheduled to begin at 11:30 AM with live video available from Nebraska HERE.

Women’s Gymnastics:

The #11 ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers women’s gymnastics team will take the mat for the first time this season when they host Iowa on Friday afternoon. The match has been moved to a 3:30 PM start and will air live on BTN.

Earlier this week the Big Ten preseason awards were announced and the Gophers were ranked #2 in the preseason coaches poll behind only Michigan. Those rankings are the same as last season. For the third season in a row the Gophers placed the same two gymnasts on the Gymnasts to Watch list from the conference in seniors Lexy Ramler and Ona Loper.

Loper is coming off her best season at Minnesota last year where she earned three all-around titles, one on uneven bars, and four each on vault and floor. During the final meet last season Loper recorded her first perfect 10 on vault and set a career-best 39.625 in the all-around to tie for ninth all-time in program history. Loper ended the season ranked No. 18 nationally and No. 4 in the conference on vault, No. 12 nationally and No. 3 in the B1G in the all-around and No. 4 in the conference on floor.

The only gymnast who may have had a better season than Loper was Ramler. She earned a perfect ten on the beam in back to back meets in January and became the first Gopher to duplicate the feat in one season. Ramler finished the 2020 season ranked No. 1 on beam in the nation, No. 6 on bars nationally and No. 1 in the B1G. She was tabbed No. 8 in the all-around in the NCAA and No.1 in the conference. Ramler repeated as the Big Ten Gymnast of the Year, Region 2 Gymnast of the Year, earned First Team All-American Honors (UB, BB, AA) and was named a Honda Sports Award Finalist for gymnastics. She is a legitimate NCAA Championship contender in perhaps her final season in the maroon and gold.

Women’s Basketball:

It hasn’t been a good season for Lindsay Whalen and her Gopher squad. Minnesota sits at 2-6 overall and just 1-5 in the Big Ten thus far. Minnesota’s most recent loss was a 69-60 defeat to Penn State last Sunday at Williams Arena. Sophomore point guard Jasmine Powell leads the team in scoring averaging 16.8 points per game, but she is also averaging five turnovers per game.

The Gophers will play two games over the next few days as they host #9 Maryland Thursday night at 5PM live on BTN and then play at Nebraska on Tuesday at 7PM once again live on BTN.