STATE COLLEGE, PA. – Gophers wrestling standout Gable Steveson repeated as Big Ten heavyweight champion Sunday, dominating No. 2 seed Mason Parris of Michigan with a 12-4 major decision.
Steveson was named Most Outstanding Wrestler of the championship, the first Gopher to receive that honor since Mack Reiter in 2005, and Steveson is the program's first wrestler to win multiple league titles since fellow heavyweight Tony Nelson won three in a row from 2012 to '14. It's the Gophers' 11th heavyweight crown in the Big Ten since 1999.
"It's a great tradition we've got at Minnesota," Steveson, who had to wrestle only once Saturday, told the Big Ten Network after his victory. "If you want to be the champ, come to Minnesota ... you could be next."
In his rematch with Parris from last year's final, Steveson earned his points on five takedowns, an escape and riding time. The junior from Apple Valley improved to 12-0 on the season and 62-2 in his college career.
He is one of seven Gophers, who placed fifth as a team, to automatically qualify for the NCAA championships, which begin March 18 in St. Louis. At-large selections will be announced Wednesday.
Brayton Lee finished third at 157 pounds with a 6-3 victory over Michigan State's Chase Saldate. Michael Blockhus finished fourth at 149 pounds after losing 2-1 in overtime to Rutgers' Mike Van Brill. Jake Allar placed seventh at 174 pounds and Patrick McKee (125), Boo Dryden (133) and Owen Webster (184) finished eighth.
Nine of the 10 top seeds won individual titles. Team champion Iowa won four, and Spencer Lee — who defeated Purdue's Devin Schroder 21-3 for the 125-pound championship — was chosen Big Ten Wrestler of the Year.
Nebraska's Taylor Venz, a senior from Farmington, lost 10-5 in the 184-pound final to Penn State's Aaron Brooks.