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Shannon Scovel | NCAA.com | February 18, 2019

Tracking Gable Steveson’s undefeated freshman wrestling season

Will a freshman dominate the mat in the 285 lb weight class this year?

Meet Gable Steveson, the freshman heavyweight wrestler making headlines for his undefeated season and dominating victories. Everything you need to know about Steveson's career at Minnesota so far can be summed up in a single stat: 27-0.

MORE: Division I wrestling championship records | Wrestling teams ranked

That's right, 27 wins and not a single loss for the true freshman prodigy from Apple Valley. A four-time Minnesota state champion in high school, Steveson has continued his success in college, topping ranked opponents weekly on his way to becoming the newest NCAA wrestling star. Steveson stands as the only undefeated ranked true freshman in the country.

Let's take a look back at every single one of Steveson's 27 wins so far this season to see how he got here:

Feb. 17: Steveson cruised to win No. 27 with a technical fall over Indiana's Fletcher Miller

Against unranked Miller, Steveson showed off his aggressive, fast-pace style early, racing out to a 6-2 lead with over two minutes of riding time at the end of the first period. He tacked on five more points over the course of the next two minutes to enter the third period ahead 11-3 before burying Miller and notching his fifth tech fall of the season. Steveson's has one more dual against Rider to round out his dual meet season, and he should have no problem ending the regular season without a loss. 

Feb. 10: In a Top-10 heavyweight battle, Steveson takes down Maryland's Youssif Hemida 7-3 for win No. 26

Last year, Maryland heavyweight Youssif Hemida wrestled his way on to the NCAA tournament podium for the first time, finishing eighth and becoming the 19th All-American in the Terps' wrestling program. This year, true freshman Steveson confidently controlled Hemdia in Minnesota's dual against Maryland in early February, taking him down multiple times to earn a solid 7-3 victory. The win marks Steveson's 12th ranked victory on the year and his 26th collegiate victory. His three points also helped the Gophers blank the Terps 45-0 and earn their first shutout win over a Big Ten team since 2012. 

Feb. 8: Steveson earns win No. 25 with a 13-5 major decision over Nebraska's No. 10 David Jensen
 

In a ranked Big Ten battle, Steveson found bonus points against Nebraska's No. 10 David Jensen to notch a 13-5 major decision over the junior Cornhusker. His four team points brought the final score to 21-18 but still weren't enough to lift Minnesota past Nebraska. Steveson's win did however move him to 19th on the Gophers All-Time consecutive winning streak, and with the season he's having, expect him to continue to climb up that ranking. 

Feb. 3: In a 16-6 major decision, Steveson dominates Jacob Aven of Purdue for win No. 24

Steveson exerted utter dominance over Purdue's Aven in this 16-6 major decision, scoring his first two takedowns within the first minute and refusing to give up a single takedown against the Boilermaker. All of Aven's points against Steveson came from escapes, and this early February dual proved that Steveson isn't slowing down. 

Jan. 25: Steveson notches his 23rd win, this time over Wisconsin's Trent Hillger 11-2

In this top-10 Big Ten matchup, Steveson handled Hillger in major decision style, fighting for a fall early and then settling for back points and ultimately an 11-2 victory. Hillger fought offensively, but Steveson's shots were too much, as the Minnesota freshman put Hillger on the mat and held him there throughout nearly the entire duration of the match. The win marked another ranked resume-builder for the unstoppable freshman who had beaten Northwestern's ranked Conan Jennings the previous weekend. Hillger, on the other hand, dropped his second consecutive dual after losing to Jennings just two days before Steveson took down the same Wildcat wrestler. 

Jan. 20: Steveson handles Northwestern's Conan Jennings 9-5 for win No. 22

In typical Steveson style, the Minnesota freshman came into this match firing, scoring his first takedown off the opening whistle and racking up three more before the match was done. He worked to turn Jennings in the first period, but managed just riding time after his initial early takedowns. Jennings proved to be one of the few opponents to hold Steveson to a decision, but his points came only from escapes and a "hands to the face" call, as he failed to put the undefeated Gopher on the mat.  Steveson left this latest Big Ten dual with win No. 22 before heading into his battle with ranked Nebraska wrestler Trent Hillger. 

Jan. 18: Illinois' Deuce Rachal falls to Steveson just 1:43 into the match to give Steveson his 21st win

Illinois' Rachal started this match ready for Steveson's aggressiveness, but even preparation couldn't prevent him from taking an early fall against the undefeated Minnesota freshman. Steveson put Rachal on his back just 1:43 seconds into the match to notch his fourth pin of the year and open to the Illinois dual with six team points. Rachal then dropped to 5-13 on the season after the loss, and the Illinois redshirt senior would go on to be pinned in his next two matches against Iowa's Sam Stoll and Nebraska's David Jensen. 

Jan. 13: Steveson notches a solid 12-3 major decision over Iowa's Connor Corbin for his 20th win

Instead of sending out ranked heavyweight starter Sam Stoll, Iowa sent out Connor Corbin to be taken down in major decision fashion by Steveson. The Minnesota freshman cruised to a quick 6-1 lead at the end of the first and continued to rack up points in the final four minutes. He held Corbin to just two points for almost six minutes before allowing the Hawkeye redshirt freshman a third and final point on an escape. 

Jan. 6: Steveson kicks off 2019 with a technical fall over Christian Colucci of Rutgers 17-2 to secure win No. 19

Steveson performed a textbook tech fall against Rutgers' Christian Colucci on January 6, controlling nearly every second of the first period with a takedown, four near fall points and 2:54 of riding time. This complete effort continued into the second period, where he hit an escape and three more takedowns before wrapping up the tech fall in the third with an escape and a final takedown. Allowing just two escapes, Steveson ended the match over 90 seconds early to put five points on the board for the Gophers and end the dual against Rutgers 22-15. 

Dec. 30: A forfeit against Utah Valley gives Steveson win No. 18

Utah Valley's ranked heavyweight Tate Orndorff opted not to wrestle Steveson a second time this season, and rather than pull a redshirt for the weight, the Wolverines took a forfeit against Steveson in this dual. The Wolverines fell to Minnesota 36-6 in the team dual. Orndorff did not wrestle against N.C State in the South Beach Duals either. Steveson, however, wrestled all his matches, the previous resulting in a pin over the previously mentioned Berthold. 

Dec. 30: Steveson pins Kent State's Spencer Berthold in 1:44 for win No. 17 

In his third match of the South Beach Duals, Steveson made quick work of Kent State's Spencer Berthold in just 1:44, dismantling the redshirt freshman in the first period for his second consecutive pin. Steveson was one of five Gophers to record a pin against Kent State and his six team points helped Minnesota soar past the Golden Flashes 51-0. 

Dec. 29: Cory Gilliland-Daniel falls in 1:43 to Steveson has the freshman notches his 16th win

In his second match against Gillilland-Daniel in one month, Steveson took care of business, pinning the North Carolina redshirt senior in just 1:43. The win moved him to 16-0 overall and helped Steveson notch his second South Beach dual win of the weekend. He would go on to end the series of duals with another pin and a forfeit win to round out the weekend. 

Dec. 29: A 9-4 decision over Lehigh's Jordan Wood gives Steveson his 15th victory

Jordan Wood proved to be the only wrestler among Steveson's last seven opponents to stop the Minnesota heavyweight from winning by more than six points, but even Wood couldn't stop Steveson completely. Steveson fought for a 9-4 victory over the 2018 NCAA qualifier to earn another Top-10 win and set himself up for a dominant South Beach Duals weekend. 

Dec. 8: Fresno State forfeits at 285 pounds, giving Steveson his 14th win by default

Fresno State did not send anyone out to wrestle Steveson in the December 8 dual, so let's take this moment to relive Steveson's undefeated title run at the Cliff Keen Invitational. Remember, the freshman is 14-0 just two months into the season. 

Nov. 30: Steveson earns his 13th win and first Cliff Keen title with a 12-4 major over Utah Valley's Tate Orndorff 

If people expected Steveson's last match of the Cliff Keen tournament to go any differently than the first four, they were proven wrong, as Steveson confidently forced his way to the top of the podium with a 12-4 major decision over Tate Orndorff. Steveson finished as Minnesota's only tournament champion, and the Gophers left Las Vegas with a sixth-place team finish. 

SELECTION SHOW SCHEDULE: 2019 NCAA championships winter selection show schedule

Nov. 30: Steveson tops North Carolina's Cory Gilliland-Daniel 9-3 in the Cliff Keen semifinal for his 12th win

Steveson's semifinal battle with North Carolina's Cory Gilliland-Daniel was the first of what would ultimately be two wins over the Tar Heel, and, in this first match, Gilliland-Daniel kept the contest close. He held Steveson to just his sixth decision win of the year, but Gilliland-Daniel also gave up nearly three minutes of riding time, a testament to Steveson's ability to control a match, even without earning bonus points. 

Nov. 30: A major decision for Steveson against AJ Nevills of Fresno State 15-6 at Cliff Keen gives him win No. 11 

Last year, Fresno State's AJ Nevills finished second at the Big 12 tournament, falling to Oklahoma State's Derek White but still earning a silver and advancing to the NCAA tournament. This year, Steveson took care of both White and Nevill before December. The Minnesota freshman picked up a 15-6 major decision over Nevills in the quarterfinals of the Cliff Keen tournament to score up his 11th win and let his potential NCAA tournament opponents know that he shows no mercy. 

Nov. 30: Steveson earns a tech fall (and his tenth win) with his 18-3 victory over Virginia Tech's John Borst.

Steveson earned his tenth collegiate victory in style, teching Virginia Tech's John Borst to advance to the Cliff Keen quarterfinals and stay alive in the prestigious national tournament. The Hokie redshirt spent the previous year competing in open tournaments, but his 21-5 record suggested that he could have been competitive at Cliff Keen...as long as he wasn't wrestling Steveson. The Minnesota heavyweight stormed past Borst in just 2:49 seconds, proving his strength against another young competitor. 

Nov. 30: Steveson wins first Cliff Keen match with a second-period pin over Michigan's Luke Ready for win No. 9

After eight wins, Steveson had clearly cemented himself as a wrestler to watch, and he continued building this reputation as he worked his way through the Cliff Keen Invitational tournament. Steveson kicked things off in his first match win a pin over Luke Ready, taking less than five minutes to finish his bout against the unranked Wolverine. Ready would go on to lose a 3-2 decision to Nebraska's Patrick Grayson in the consolation bracket and end his tournament 0-2. Steveson, on the other hand, would just go on to keep winning. 

Nov. 25: Steveson earns another tech fall against Blake Wolters of South Dakota State 18-3 to hit his eighth win

Steveson's win over Derek White earned him Big 10 Wrestler of the Week honors. But that win, No. 7, was just laying the groundwork for what would be another dominant performance against the Jackrabbits. Steveson plowed past South Dakota State's Blake Wolters, a first-year starter for the Jackrabbits, to earn his second technical fall of the year. He joined teammates Sean Russell, Ethan Lizak and Devin Skatzka with tech falls against the Jackrabbits, helping Minnesota take the team win 35-6. The win marked Steveson's eight of the year and would be the catalyst for his first pin just five days later.

Nov. 18: In his home debut, Steveson shocks Oklahoma State's Derek White 8-2 in win No. 7 

In his toughest test thus far, Steveson stunned Oklahoma State's Derek White, a redshirt senior NCAA qualifier who missed All-American Status by one match in 2018. The Minnesota freshman started aggressive and offensive, dropping White to the mat just 30 seconds into the match for an early takedown and four near-fall points. White notched an escape point, but Steveson pushed on. Both athletes recorded one more escape point and Steveson picked up riding time to put the match away at 8-2.

Nov. 10: Steveson earns his biggest victory, and his sixth victory,  with a win over Arizona State's Tanner Hall 3-1

Fighting for his second title in six days, Steveson faced Arizona State's All-American Tanner Hall and snuck past him 3-1 in sudden victory during the finals of the Bison Open. Hall offered Steveson his first non-Big Ten test, and Steveson showed he had the stamina and strength to take down any challenger. Steveson's talent and skill ultimately proved too much for the senior Sun Devil, but the match did give Steveson an insight into what wrestling experienced athletes looked like and eased him into the mindset he would need before taking on his next opponent. 

Nov. 10: The winning continues for Steveson as he tops North Dakota State's Dan Stibral 11-6 to earn victory No. 5

The Minnesota freshman continued his winning streak, advancing to the final of his second collegiate tournament in less than a week. Steveson's 11-6 win over redshirt junior Dan Stibral sent him to the finals of the Bison Open where he would face Arizona State's Tanner Hall. Though just five matches into his collegiate career, Steveson was showing the nation just how dominant he would become against not just unranked opponents, but top-5 challengers as well. 

OTHER WRESTLERS TO WATCH: 5 wrestlers we underestimated this season

Nov. 10: Steveson records his first tech fall, and his fourth season victory, over Samuel Erckenbrack

Steveson needed just 4:42 to earn his first tech fall of his collegiate career, taking down Minnesota State Morehead sophomore Samuel Erckenbrack with ease in the first round of the Bison Open. With a 20-5 win, Steveson moved on in the Bison Open tournament to face North Dakota State's Dan Stibral, a wrestler who would beat Erckenbrack later in the tournament for the third-place title. 

Nov. 4: Steveson wins the Daktronics Open after beating teammate Rylee Streifel 8-4 to notch his third win 

Steveson stormed his way into the finals of the Daktronics Open to face none other than Rylee Streifel, his redshirt junior teammate.  A starter last year, Streifel ended the 2018 season with an eighth-place finish at the Big Ten Tournament, but he couldn't stop Minnesota's newest heavyweight from taking over the weight class. Steveson topped Streifel 8-4 to win the Daktronics Open title and send his fellow Gopher home with a silver medal. 

Nov. 4: Steveson earns his second win over another Nebraska wrestler Christian Lance, Nebraska 12-6

After taking down Emerson, Steveson moved on to face another Cornhusker, this time wrestling junior Christian Lance. The Minnesota freshman took down this Big Ten opponent as well, topping the Nebraska junior 12-6 to advance deeper into the 285-pound bracket. The loss sent Lance down to the consolation bracket as well where he finished third. Steveson, on the other hand, was just getting started. 

Nov. 4: Steveson makes his college debut with a win over Nebraska's Austin Emerson 15-6

Steveson wasted no time establishing himself as a collegiate powerhouse in his debut as a Gopher, topping Nebraska's Austin Emerson in a major decision to open his Big Ten career at the Daktronics Open. Emerson dropped down to the consolation bracket of the tournament after his loss to Steveson and ultimately finished fifth while his Minnesota opponent claimed the top spot in the weight class. That's win No. 1. 

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