Gophers wrestlers Sean Russell and Gable Steveson, the top seed at heavyweight, advanced to the semifinals of the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas.

Russell (8-1), the third seed at 125 pounds, won three matches easily on a technical fall, a pin in the second period and a major decision before a 1-0 win over Travis Piotrowski of Illinois on an escape in the quarterfinals.

Steveson (11-0), a freshman, won three matches. He had a pin, an 18-3 technical fall and, in the quarterfinals, a 14-6 major decision over AJ Nevills of Fresno State.

Two Gophers lost in the quarterfinals. Ethan Lizak (8-2) at 133 and Devin Skatzka (9-3) at 174.

The semifinals will be held at noon Saturday, the finals at 5 p.m.

U softball slate tough

The Gophers softball team released its 2019 schedule and it includes 24 games against teams that played in the NCAA tournament last season, including Florida State, the defending national champion, and Florida, another team that played in the Women’s College World Series.

“This is a championship-caliber schedule,” Gophers coach Jamie Trachsel said. “It was put together to not only challenge us to play our best every day but also to develop and prepare us throughout the season for conference play and our quest for championships in May and June.”

Minnesota, 41-17 last season, when it captured its third Big Ten tournament title in a row, will spend the first seven weeks and 32 games away from home. The Gophers will make three different trips to the state of Florida, including the first two of the season.

The Gophers’ home schedule will begin against Purdue on March 29-31.

Etc.

• Lindsey Kozelsky and Max McHugh of the Gophers swept first place in the 100-yard breaststroke in the Minnesota Invitational, finishing in 59.73 seconds and 52.14, respectively. Teammate Tevyn Waddell won the 200 freestyle (1:46.58).

• Freshman Amira Young of the Gophers won the 200-meter dash (24.70 seconds) at the South Dakota State Holiday Invitational. Running unattached, Minnesota’s Jack Wellenstein took first in the men’s 400 (47.68) and Teddy Frid in the 60 hurdles (8.16). The men’s 4x400 relay (3:16.08) also won; the four runners were Grant Fuller, Ben Psicihulis, Jonathan Webb and Zach Nelson.