The independent news source for the University of Minnesota campus, now only a click away. Subscribe to the Minnesota Daily's e-newsletter for full sports coverage, updates from the newsroom, and a pick of the week's top features.
The Minnesota Daily has been training student journalists and serving the University of Minnesota community since 1900. With your help, we will continue to produce award-winning journalism and provide excellent training for students in all areas of news production. We collect donations through GiveMN; please click below and donate today!
Every day, every hour
Minnesota Daily photographer Liam James Doyle captures a day in the life of a University of Minnesota wrestler.
By the end of wrestling practice, the Gophers’ basement training area is limp from exhaustion. Its cushioned floor is slick with sweat smears, and only the athletes’ jagged panting can slice through the thick, muggy air.
The 90-minute practices are only part of a daily grind for the University of Minnesota’s 44 wrestlers, who equip themselves for competition through a disciplined lifestyle unique to the sport.
Each wrestler maintains a regimen of healthy eating, sleeping and exercising, in hopes of making the most of their seven minutes on the mat.
“Having the lifestyle of a wrestler is getting up super early to do extra lifts. It’s putting in all this extra work,” freshman Carson Brolsma said. “You never know if it’s going to pay off.”
Wrestlers compete in different weight classes to even the playing field, and risk disqualification if they fall outside the class’s parameters within the hour before competition.
Aside from ineligibility, straying from one’s strategy comes with high stakes in a sport where your body is your only tool.
“If you’re not any good in football, you get knocked down in two seconds. If you’re not any good in swimming, they lap you by three laps. If you’re not any good in tennis, they volley past you,” head coach J Robinson said. “But in wrestling, if you’re not any good, you get beat up. You physically get beat up.”
The sport’s special challenges leave wrestlers with a close community and a sense of self-control they say transcends beyond the mat.
A Minnesota Daily photographer followed the Gophers wrestling team from practice to competition, capturing a series of moments that trace the ins and outs of life as a University wrestler.