Gable Steveson, 17, was 3-1 in the 125-kilogram freestyle division of the Marine Corps U.S. Open wrestling championship in Las Vegas and could finish as high as third place. If he makes the top seven, he will advance to the World Team Trials Challenge on May 18-20 in Rochester.
Steveson, of Apple Valley, beat Cal State-Bakersfield’s Dominic Balmer 10-0 in 59 seconds and Purdue’s Shawn Streck 14-0 in 1:13. In the quarterfinals, the fifth-seeded Steveson lost 11-0 in 4:05 to No. 4 Adam Coon, who just completed his senior season at Michigan with an NCAA runner-up finish. Steveson beat Zach Roseberry 11-0 in 1:49 in his first consolation match.
Former Gophers two-time NCAA champion Tony Nelson, Steveson’s teammate with the Minnesota Storm wrestling club, also can finish as high as third at 125 kg. Nelson went 3-1, making the quarterfinals before losing 5-1 to Jake Varner, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist.
Hayden Zillmer of the Storm advanced to the 92-kg final with a 14-2 win in 4:33 over Enock Francois. Zillmer, a former North Dakota State All-America from Crosby, Minn., will face Olympic bronze medalist J’den Cox in the final Saturday.
Zach Sanders, a Gophers assistant coach wrestling for the Storm, lost 8-4 to top-seeded Tony Ramos in the 57-kg freestyle semifinals. Current Gophers junior Skyler Petry (57 kg) and Carson Brolsma (74 kg) still were alive in the consolations, as were brothers and former Gophers Jayson Ness (65 kg) and Dylan Ness (70 kg).
Apple Valley’s Seth Gross lost 18-13 to Nahshon Garrett in the 61-kg semifinals.
In Greco-Roman, three Storm wrestlers lost their title matches. Former Gopher Pat Smith lost 9-0 in 2:12 to RaVaughn Perkins at 72 kg; Barrett Stanghill fell 8-0 in 2:00 to Geordan Speiller at 82 kg; and Joe Rau lost 14-10 to Ben Provisor at 87 kg.
Other Storm wrestlers who placed in Greco-Roman were Logan Kass (fifth at 72 kg), Alec Ortiz (fourth at 77 kg), Richard Carlson (third at 82 kg), Eric Twohey(fifth at 97 kg), Donny Longendyke (fourth at 130 kg) and Malcolm Allen(seventh at 130 kg).