Sophomore Owen Webster is living his childhood dream with Minnesota, but that was not always the case.
Webster transferred to Minnesota after a successful year on the mat with Division III Augsburg. Even though he had a good time at Augsburg, it was always a goal for Webster to wrestle at Minnesota, and now he is a starter in his first year with the team.
“It didn’t happen right away, so my goal last year was to transfer," Webster said. "As soon as I got done [last year], I started my application, so I could get over and start practicing with the Gophers. I’ve always wanted to wrestle [at Minnesota].
During his lone year at Augsburg, Webster learned some valuable lessons that he is now using at the Division I level. He finished with a 33-2 overall record at 184 and placed third at the Division III NCAA tournament. He was 10-0 in major decisions, 4-0 in technical falls and 9-1 in matches ending with a pin.
Webster said he improved in wrestling from the top while with the Auggies. However, the area that he improved the most, he said, was his academic life.
“A big [area of improvement] is probably school,” Webster said. “I wasn’t that great in school during high school, then I got to Augsburg and started doing really well. First semester, I had a 3.7 [grade point average] and second semester I had a 4.0. That was definitely a big improvement and gave me more confidence during school. I learned some nice study habits over there and have been transferring them over.”
Webster hasn’t had much trouble with his transition to Division I wrestling. He had a 5-0 decision victory in Minnesota’s first dual against Air Force on November 12. He followed that up with a 6-2 decision against South Dakota State before suffering an injury in Minnesota’s dual against Oklahoma State. His performance so far has impressed his coach.
“He’s fresh to our program here,” head coach Brandon Eggum said. “He transferred here in September. We’ve always had an opportunity to watch him growing up as a Minnesota kid, so we’ve seen that he’s a great competitor. That’s probably one of his biggest skills. He’s a really good competitor. He has the ability to wrestle well in all three positions."
In the dual against Oklahoma State, Webster partially dislocated his kneecap. The injury caused him to miss the Cliff Keen Invitational this past weekend. He has been putting in a lot of work to get back. Webster said he’s done some leg movements, icing and a lot of biking to strengthen his knee and regain stability in it. The hard work has paid off for him.
Webster will be back on the mat when Minnesota faces Fresno State (1-3, 0-1 Big 12) at Maturi Pavilion on Sunday.