Fight | 10/14/2021 16:21:00
Our Meet the Freshman series continues as we feature another member of the 2021 Incoming Class. Next up is the State Champion, three-time State Finalist and a native of Little Falls, Minn. Gabe Nagel.
GopherSports: First question, explain why you chose the University of Minnesota?
Nagel: Yeah, I mean some of my earliest memories of watching the Gophers were in 2012 with guys like Dylan Ness, Scott Schiller, the Dardane brothers, you know, so growing up, the Gophers have always been on top for me. I had always considered Minnesota to be the best, so when it came time to choose a school, it would have been quite difficult for another school to convince me to go elsewhere. I’ve always thought the Gophers are the best.
GS: With this childhood dream in mind to represent Minnesota, what does it mean to you now that you are in the Gopher training room and now you represent Maroon & Gold.
Nagel: Yeah, that’s crazy. I know I’m from a small town, it’s a rare opportunity for kids to wrestle in college and have the opportunity to go to Division I, so it’s cool to show people that I could do it. It was tough at times, but I was willing to drive the extra hour to find mates, and I was willing to break through those glass ceilings. Four years ago it might have seemed impossible, but now that I’m here it’s unreal, so see how it all worked out.
GS: Now that you’re in the gym and have access to those training partners you alluded to, who are the guys in the gym you’ve worked with that have helped you improve?
Nagel: Yeah i worked with Bailee O’Reilly and Isaiah Salazar, Bennett Tabor is another I worked with. It’s great to have these guys there because if you make a mistake they’ll let you know. They’ll take you down, transform you and everything in between, so you’ll have to elevate yourself just to compete with the guys in our room. It’s great to be able to improve with these guys in the short time I’ve been here.
GS: How has your interaction with your teammates and coaches been since you’ve been on campus?
Nagel: All around the team has been great. We freshmen pretty much live together in the same building, so I feel like I get along pretty well with them. All around, I think even the veterans were more than welcoming and helped with this transition to college.
GS: Just tell us about the team as a whole and your vision for our program going forward?
Nagel: Yeah, I mean if you look at our rookies and the guys we already have in the room, our future is extremely bright. It’s exciting because if you watch us wrestle you can see that everyone is fighting hard and hungry for a national championship. You think of guys like Brayton and Pat, they’re already leaders and they’ll continue to lead for the next couple of years. So not only will we have good recruits now and in the future, but we will also have the established leaders who will continue to push us.
GS: You talked a little bit about having this opportunity to be able to fight Division I, and of course Minnesota is in the Big Ten. Just say how excited you are to be able to wrestle on the biggest collegiate wrestling stage.
Nagel: Yeah, I mean, there were opportunities to get out of the Big Ten and even some successful Division II schools that had reached out, but at the end of the day I knew the Big Ten was the best, so in in the end and the opportunity to wrestle here presented itself, it was pretty much obvious.
GS: For those who may not have had the chance to see you compete yet, just describe your wrestling style and what we can expect from you in a Gopher jersey.
Nagel: Yeah, I think my wrestling style isn’t too crazy. I think one of my best parts of my wrestling is my top level wrestling. There might be games where I would lose, but I would turn a guy or pin him. This strength has always helped me in high school, but now that I’m here I’m looking to compete in the hall and improve, because that’s where the majority of games are decided in varsity wrestling.
GS: Finally, how do you see your university career? What are some goals and expectations you might have for yourself as you approach your stay in Minnesota?
Nagel: Yes, entering college I always thought I might not be the top ranked guy, but I knew I would be able to work hard and I always supported him. Every day I try to work harder than everyone else in the room. So while I might not be the top ranked guy, I think before my time is up here I will be competing for a national championship. It’s something that coaches have talked about turning stranger guys into NCAA champions and I believe I can be the next guy.