Oakes in midst of third bout with leukemia

By Kaitlin Merkel

Minnesota pitching coach Todd Oakes is facing a third fight with acute myeloid leukemia.

Oakes first dealt with the blood and marrow cancer in 2012 and had it reappear in the fall of 2014.

The Gophers hired an interim pitching coach last year, Scott Matyas, while Oakes focused on his treatment. He is able to attend almost all of the team’s practices this year but will stay at home for the majority of Minnesota’s first 20 games, which all come on the road.

“The rigors of travel, leaving on Thursday and getting back at midnight on Sunday, I’m not quite up to yet health-wise,” Oakes said. “Depending on how I feel I might make a trip here and there.”

Head coach John Anderson made all of the visits to the mound in the team’s first four games in Arizona this past weekend and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Wrestling team heavy on Minnesotans

By Jack White

The Gophers wrestling program is reliant on in-state talent this year, with 26 Minnesota natives on the roster. But head coach J Robinson said an ideal mix is to have half in-state wrestlers and half not.

“We’re probably a little heavy on the state right now, but we want the best kids to stay in-state and we go after the best kids,” Robinson said. “For the most part we kept the majority of good kids in state.”

Liebler competes in Winter Cup

By Tommy Jaakola

Junior Zach Liebler competed in the 2016 Winter Cup this past weekend in Las Vegas, Nev., while most of his teammates took a week off.

Gymnasts compete in the meet in hopes of securing a spot on the U.S. National team, and Liebler took part in four events. He scored a 14.150 on the floor exercise, a 14.800 on the vault, a 13.800 on the high bar and a 12.550 on the still rings.               

“Competing at Winter Cup with some of the most talented gymnasts in the country was a humbling experience,” Liebler said. “Despite not having the best warm-up, I managed to complete my vault with a small hop on the landing. Floor was an area where I could have performed much better. For the mistakes I made, I was content with my score.”