Minnesota cruises past Bucknell

The No. 14 Minnesota wrestling team (1-0) won nine matches en route to a dominant, 37-3, season-opening victory at Bucknell (1-2) Thursday night in Lewisburg, Pa.

In the first ever meeting between the schools, the Golden Gophers secured five bonus point-victories, including a pair of pins, two major decisions and one tech fall.

Sixth-year senior Patrick McKee set the tone early as he made his season debut against Owen Bell at 125 pounds. After an early takedown, McKee secured the fall at 1:52. It was the 22nd pin of McKee's career, moving him into a tie for 28th in program history with Dan Zilverberg and current Gopher assistant coach Zach Sanders.

Competing in his first collegiate dual, freshman Tyler Wells sure didn't look like a newcomer as he upset No. 17 Kurt Phipps at 133 pounds in an 11-5 decision. Wells had three takedowns in the win, one in each period. In each of the last two, he countered attacks from Phipps and turned them into takedowns of his own.

Redshirt sophomore Vance VomBaur earned his second tech fall win of the season, dispatching Braden Bower, 17-3, at 141 pounds. The match appeared as though it was going to be relatively low scoring as VomBaur had a takedown in the first period and an escape in the second, but he piled up 13 points thanks to four takedowns in the final period.

The lone ranked matchup of the night proved to be the closest as No. 18 Drew Roberts squeaked by 33rd-ranked Dylan Chappell, 2-1, at 149 pounds. Chappell looked like he had a 3-0 lead at the end of the first period, but Minnesota challenged the call and no points were awarded. Roberts started the second period on bottom and escaped to lead 1-0 after five minutes. Chappell started on bottom to start the third period, but Roberts rode him long enough to secure the riding point. Chappell escaped with 10 seconds left in the bout but Roberts held him off for the win.

Sixth-year senior Michael Blockhus sent the Gophers into the intermission with a 19-0 lead after a 7-1 decision over Nick Delp. Ranked eighth in the country at 157 pounds, Blockhus had takedowns in each of the first two periods and rode Delp for much of the second and third periods.

Bucknell got its lone victory of the evening at 165 pounds as No. 31 Noah Mulvaney topped Gopher redshirt sophomore Blaine Brenner, 11-5, but Minnesota responded with a major decision from Sam Skillings at 174 pounds to clinch the dual win. Skillings defeated Myles Takats, 10-2, thanks to takedowns in each period.

Like McKee, senior Isaiah Salazar also made his season debut Thursday night. Ranked sixth at 184 pounds, Salazar put up the highest score on the night with an 18-3, tech fall win over Mikey Bartush. An ankle pick gave Bartush an early 3-0 lead, but Salazar quickly escaped. After a takedown of his own, Salazar added a pair of four-point near falls to take a commanding 12-3 lead into the second period and never looked back.

Redshirt senior Garrett Joles also had to post a comeback victory, besting Logan Deacetis at 197 pounds, 8-3. Deceaties scored a single-leg takedown, but Joles reversed it right before the end of the opening stanza. Joles started on bottom in period two and used another reversal to take the lead. A takedown in the third period plus riding time granted him the victory.

In the finale, Bennett Tabor picked up his first career pin by outlasting Dorian Crosby in overtime. After a scoreless first period, Tabor rode Crosby nearly the entire second frame, including a pair of mat returns, but a stalling call gave Crosby a point and then he got an escape to lead Tabor 2-0 heading to the final period. Tabor, however, used an escape plus his riding time to force overtime at 2-2. He needed only 21 seconds into overtime to take down Crosby and get the pin.

Prior to the dual, a pair of exhibition matches took place with redshirt seniors Sebas Swiggum and Rowan Morgan each recording major decisions. Swiggum beat Riley Bower, 14-4, at 157 pounds, while Morgan topped Hayden Linkerhof, 12-3, at 197 pounds.

Minnesota is back in action Saturday with a pair of duals in Fairfax, Va. First up is a contest with Morgan State at 12:30 p.m. CT, followed by a matchup with host-George Mason at 2 p.m. Both duals can be streamed on ESPN+ with live results available on TrackWrestling.com.br />

125: #7 Patrick McKee pinned Owen Bell (BUCK), 1:52 | 6-0 MINN
133: Tyler Wells dec. #17 Kurt Phipps (BUCK), 11-5 | 9-0 MINN
141: #31 Vance VomBaur maj. dec. Braden Bower (BUCK), 17-3 | 13-0 MINN
149: #18 Drew Roberts dec. #33 Dylan Chappell (BUCK), 2-1 | 16-0 MINN
157: #8 Michael Blockhus dec. Nick Delp (BUCK), 7-1 | 19-0 MINN
165: #31 Noah Mulvaney (BUCK) dec. Blaine Brenner, 11-5 | 19-3 MINN
174: Sam Skillings maj. dec. Myles Takats (BUCK), 10-2 | 23-3 MINN
184: #6 Isaiah Salazar tech. fall Mikey Bartush (BUCK), 18-3 | 28-3 MINN
197: #19 Garrett Joles dec.Logan Deacetis (BUCK), 8-3 | 31-3 MINN
285: Bennett Tabor pinned Dorian Crosby (BUCK), 7:21 | 37-3 MINN

Exhibition Matches:
157: Sebas Swiggum maj dec. Riley Bower (BUCK), 14-4
197: Rowan Morgan maj dec. Hayden Linkerhof (BUCK), 12-3