Narrow defeats to higher-ranked opponents cost the Gophers in a 34-3 loss to No. 1 Oklahoma State on Sunday afternoon in a wrestling dual at the Sports Pavilion in which five of the first seven matches were decided by two points or fewer.
The Gophers missed out on early points when redshirt freshman Fredy Stroker scored two takedowns against three-time Big 12 champion Anthony Collica in losing a 6-4 decision at 149 pounds to open the meet, and third-ranked Carson Brolsma then lost 5-4 to the Cowboys’ Jonce Blaylock at 157.
“[Oklahoma State] is a great team. We knew that coming into it, but the guys are disappointed. They wanted to wrestle better,” Gophers coach Brandon Eggum said. “We knew there was going to be some strong match-ups and we need to capitalize on those opportunities. … We were pleased with a few of the guys’ efforts, even though we would have liked to win some of those matches.”
After a fall at 165 doubled the Oklahoma State lead to 12-0, another pair of narrow decisions against the Gophers kept the home team behind on the scoreboard. No. 14 Nick Wanzek, fresh off a top-15 upset win last Saturday against South Dakota State, gave No. 4 Kyle Crutchmer a challenge but ultimately fell one takedown short in a 7-5 loss at 174.
To close out the first half, Bobby Steveson had the opportunity to avenge a 12-5 loss to No. 5 Nolan Boyd from last year, but lost the match 2-1 on the riding time point, which was decided by just 14 seconds.
Second-ranked Brett Pfarr earned a victory for the Gophers coming out of the locker room in the second half, 7-2 over No. 6 Preston Weigel, but in an upset at heavyweight, Oklahoma State’s Austin Schafer evened his career series with No. 5 Michael Kroells with a 3-2 victory.
The Gophers (1-1) will compete in the Cliff Keen Invitational on Friday and Saturday in Las Vegas.
• Farmington High School sophomore Lauren Peterson, the Class 2A cross-country runner-up, placed fourth at the Foot Locker Cross-Country Midwest Regional on Saturday in Kenosha, Wis., with a time of 17 minutes, 38.1 seconds. The top-10 finish advanced Peterson to the national meet Dec. 10 in San Diego.
• St. Thomas, which beat Coe 55-6 in the second round of the NCAA Division III football playoffs Saturday, will be host to a D-III quarterfinal at noon Saturday against Wisconsin-Oshkosh, which eliminated St. John’s on Saturday with a 31-14 victory. The Tommies are 12-0, the Titans 11-1.