Minnesota Gophers Gable Steveson continued his run through his final collegiate season this weekend as he won his third consecutive Big Ten heavyweight championship on Sunday, and he didn’t even need to do a thing. Steveson won the Big Ten title on Sunday by forfeit after Iowa’s Tony Cassioppi did not come out for the match. Steveson runs his record to 13-0 on the season and he will be the #1 seed at the NCAA Championships in two weeks in Detroit.
Steveson as the #1 seed got an immediate bye to the quarterfinals. There he easily advanced on a technical fall over Ohio State’s Tate Orndorff 20-5. He advanced to the semifinals where he would face long-time rival Michigan’s Mason Parris. The two of them are not friends and Steveson has defeated him multiple times before including in the championship of both the Big Ten Tournament and NCAA Tournament last season. Gable had no problem and cruised to a 14-6 major decision win.
Steveson was set to wrestle Cassioppi who he is 3-0 all-time against, but he like several Iowa wrestlers took medical forfeits on Sunday in theory to preserve seeding and positioning for the NCAA Tournament. You can be sure that Gable will not forget this if he gets a shot at the Iowa wrestler in the NCAA Tournament. Gable was also awarded the Big Ten Wrestler of the Year and completed the only season in college wrestling history winning every single match by bonus points.
Minnesota had a good Sunday in the finals with all four of their wrestlers winning their respective placing matches. At 125 Patrick McKee bounced back from losing his opening match to Rutgers’ Dylan Shawver but then went on a tear in the back half of the bracket wining four straight matches including the third place match over Northwestern’s Mike DeAugustino on Sunday.
Minnesota got a second third place finish from Jake Bergeland at 141 pounds. He won his first two matches before being defeated by #1 seed and eventual champion Nick Lee of Penn State in the semifinals. He would battle back with a win in the wrestlebacks and then knocked off Michigan’s Stevan Micic fir third place on Sunday.
The Gophers got one more podium finish when at 149 pounds Micheal Blockhus took 5th place when Rutgers Mike Van Brill medically forfeited on Sunday.
Minnesota automatically advanced eight wrestlers to the NCAA Tournament by their placements in the Big Ten meet and two others will have a chance at at-large berths when they are announced later this week.