During a post-practice sparring match, redshirt freshman Skyler Petry and junior Sam Brancale wrestle "live" to emulate a real competition setting while withholding their full effort.
The wrestling team runs laps for a cardio warmup at the start of practice.
With divided sinks labeled "no spit" and "spit," wrestlers can either hydrate themselves or spit out any saliva or mucus loosened by their oxygen-demanding exercises.
Sweating through their heavier athletic clothes, Fredy Stroker, left, Colin Carr and Chris Pfarr opt to execute conditioning exercises after practice. Weight management is second nature to most wrestlers, who know that an extra pound on the scale could mean disqualification from competing within their weight class.
Sophomore Jake Short shows his cauliflower ear, a scar common among wrestlers. The scar forms when blunt trauma damages cartilage, which then fills with fluid that can be drained. Short, who said he has been wrestling since he could walk, described the cauliflower ear as a badge of honor and a symbol for the sacrifices that wrestlers make.
Stripped down to briefs, wrestlers await inspections and weigh-ins by a match official inside their locker room in the Sports Pavilion.
Moments before weighing in, redshirt freshman Skyler Petry displays his trimmed fingernails to an official. Wrestlers follow inspection standards like these to prevent them from having potential advantages on the mat. For example, wrestlers must have clean-shaven faces to avoid the possibility of facial hair scratching an opponent.
The wrestling team prepares to step onto the scale to be weighed by an official. Within the hour before each competition, officials make sure that each athlete's weight does not exceed the limit for his competitive class.
After their weigh-in, wrestlers fuel themselves with a hot meal for their dual meet, less than an hour away.
Junior Sam Brancale focuses, silently hopping between feet as he waits to compete in front of more than 2,000 fans at the Sports Pavilion.
Head coach J Robinson delivers a speech to the team before a home dual meet at the Sports Pavilion. Robinson, who has led the Gophers wrestling team for 30 seasons, described these moments before competition as a time when each athlete practices his own method of becoming focused. Robinson said the goal of his pre-competition speech is to "have them believe in their training" so that "when they step on the mat, when they step into the arena, they are mentally tuned and ready to go."