As the No. 13 in the 174-weight class, Devin Skatzka's transition to the Gophers has been nearly flawless.
Skatzka transferred to Minnesota after a three-year stint at Indiana University. He matched up against his former team for the first time on Sunday.
“I enjoyed it. It was fun, but I had a little bit of anxiety wrestling my old team,” Skatzka said after the dual.
He won his match in an 8-3 decision after getting ahead early in the first two periods with multiple takedowns.
This makes his season record 21-7, which is one win shy of matching his total from 2018.
“He’s really good in a lot of different areas,” said head coach Brandon Eggum. “Just physically, he is very, very strong … his explosive power on his shots are great.”
Earlier in the week, Skatzka said that going against his former team was a unique opportunity, but it was strange getting prepared to go against his former teammates.
“It’ll be a little weird, I still have a pretty good relationship with a lot of the guys,” Skatzka said. He added that it helped that he was going up against a new addition to the Hoosiers and not one of his friends.
Eggum said it was a rare occurrence where someone like Skatzka transferred to another in-conference program.
“It’s funny because you remember when you were on the other side of the mat,” Eggum said. “You don’t know the other individuals at all … then you get to know them and see he’s an amazing individual.”
During his time in Indiana, Skatzka was an NCAA qualifier twice, had a 60-34 record and finished eighth at the Big Ten Championships in 2018.
Even though Skatzka said he enjoyed his time at Indiana, Eggum said he was looking for a change.
"He wanted some more opportunities as far as training partners … and a new atmosphere for himself to go and try and grow as a person,” Eggum said.
Eggum said that Indiana’s coaching staff made an unusual move and reached out to him about Skatzka.
“[They] let us know what a great person he was, which was pretty unique in a lot of ways,” Eggum said.
Although Skatzka ultimately chose wrestling in college, he was an all-around athlete while attending Richmond High School in Richmond, Michigan. He was a four-time state champion in wrestling, a star two-way football player and participated in baseball and track. He said his heavy involvement in multiple sports prevented him from wrestling at a national level and took away the possibility for more recognition.
“I didn’t wrestle around the country a lot. In high school I played a bunch of different sports, so I guess I didn’t get as much attention," Skatzka said.
Skatzka and the Gophers were expected to conclude the regular season against Rider on Thursday, but the dual was canceled due to inclement weather.