Not many athletes can say they’ve embarked on a professional athletics career before college.
Gophers wrestler Conrad Rangell can.
Rangell spent five years playing professional paintball and returned to school in 2010. He won California community college state wrestling championships in 2010 and 2011 before transferring to Minnesota in fall 2012.
At 26, Rangell is the Gophers’ oldest wrestler, even though he’s just a redshirt junior.
Redshirt freshman Sam Brancale won his first dual match and redshirt junior Scott Schiller defeated the nation’s top-ranked 197-pound wrestler, as the No. 2 Gophers defeated No. 18 Oregon State 28-12 on Saturday in Corvallis, Ore.
The Gophers won eight of 10 matches in the dual — a year after squeaking past the Beavers with an overtime decision in the final match.
“We just started out on a really good note,” head assistant coach Brandon Eggum said. “Right now, they’re all competing very well.”
The No. 3 Gophers wrestling team opened its season Saturday with eight individual titles at the Bison Open in Fargo, N.D.
Minnesota redshirt freshman Brett Pfarr won the 184-pound title, redshirt senior Tony Nelson won the heavyweight title and their teammates added six more individual titles as the Gophers won more than 75 percent of their matches.
“We’ve got a really well-rounded team,” Nelson said. “That’s why I think we walked away with eight titles.”