Michael Kroells is just as comfortable explaining the essence of aerospace engineering, his major, as he is detailing the technical skills required to pin a 260-pound body.

The Gophers junior heavyweight with the 3.9 grade-point average embraces the razzing that comes with maintaining such a stringent study schedule.

“I knew I liked science and math, so I asked the guidance counselor, ‘What do you think is the hardest [engineering major]? Aerospace?’ So I said, ‘I’m going to take aerospace,’ and I’ve stuck with it,” Kroells said. “It probably sounds like the most fancy [major] and most exotic. … I get teased for it.”

Kroells’ commitment to achieving the toughest goals has carried over into wrestling. Last season, the 265-pounder wrestled in more matches (44) and matches against ranked opponents (23) than anyone on the Gophers roster. He is the program’s only returning All-America.

The Gophers have two months to prepare for their first match, and Kroells is doing it his way: with milk. He drinks as many as four gallons a week, and he downed 13 cups during last week’s run to the State Fair. “I’m a big guy now, so I eat a lot of food and drink a lot of milk.”

JASON GONZALEZ