The beginning of the season is typically a time to shake off the rust and learn what type of team you have, but don’t tell a Minnesota softball team that. The No. 14 Gophers won all four games of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge this weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina to extend their season-opening win streak to nine games — a program record.
Carlie Brandt is listed as a utility player on Minnesota’s roster, and there may not be a more fitting description. The true freshman from Le Sueur, Minnesota has the ability to play almost every position for the Gophers, something that came into play on the first weekend of the season in Texas. During Minnesota’s second game against the Longhorns on Saturday, Brandt was warming up in the bullpen to come on and pitch in relief.
College wrestling is no easy feat — particularly in the Big Ten — but it’s even harder when wrestling as a true freshman. Gophers wrestler Mitch McKee is experiencing that firsthand this year, holding down the starting spot at 133 pounds despite lacking any collegiate experience prior to the season.
Winning the first five games is never a bad start to a season — especially when all those games were on the road.
A 5-0 record is never a bad start to a season, especially on the road to repeat. The No. 16 Gophers softball team (5-0) took its first steps towards another Big Ten tournament title last weekend in Austin, Texas, where it came away with five straight victories.
Even wrestling without the number one heavyweight in the country, No. 4 Ohio State proved its ranking on Sunday. The Buckeyes (11-2, 7-2 Big Ten) took down the 12th ranked Gophers (6-5, 5-4 Big Ten) at the Sports Pavilion 24-20, due in large part to the efforts of the other two top-ranked wrestlers on their roster. “It was a really good dual,” said Minnesota head coach Brandon Eggum.
At Minnesota, wrestling practice consists of a little light jogging, some warm-up somersaults and cartwheels and loud music ranging from “Somethin’ Bout a Truck” to “Gangsta’s Paradise” from mix CDs. In a room where photos of All-Americans and National Champions of the past adorn the walls, today’s Gophers starters work to emulate their predecessors, but they aren’t the only ones working to get better. Meet their practice partners —members of the team who don't typically start in dual matches but compete in open tournaments and practice with the team.
The Gophers softball team is hoping to build momentum on a Big Ten Tournament-winning season when it opens action this weekend. No. 16 Minnesota starts the year on the road in Texas — one of five warm climate tournaments the Gophers will play in this year.
The opening half of wrestling — typically the Gophers’ forte — proved to be their kryptonite against Iowa on Sunday. The No. 3 Hawkeyes (10-2, 6-1 Big Ten) took down No. 10 Minnesota (6-4, 5-3 Big Ten) 27-11 at the Sports Pavilion.
One of the biggest rivalries in college wrestling will be renewed this weekend, and one team looks to turn the tides on what has been a somewhat one-sided affair. No. 10 Minnesota (6-3, 5-2 Big Ten) hosts No. 3 Iowa (8-2, 4-1 Big Ten) on Sunday at the Sports Pavilion, and the Gophers are looking to grab their first win in the series since the 2013-14 season — a season in which Minnesota placed second in the NCAA Tournament.