Champs again … and again and again

An M flag waving in the wind

Three familiar names in Gopher sports won national championships as their seasons concluded: Gable Steveson in wrestling, Sarah Bacon in women’s diving, and Max McHugh in men’s swimming.

Steveson won his second straight NCAA title as the nation’s dominant heavyweight, less than a year after his Olympic gold medal in Tokyo. He beat Arizona State’s Cohlton Schultz by a score of 6-2 in the title match.

Steveson finished with a 85-2 career record, including 13 falls, 21 technical falls, and 24 major decisions. He ends his Gopher career on a 52-match win streak and holds the highest win percentage in the history of the program.

McHugh defended his national championship in the 100 breaststroke on March 25, posting the second fastest time in history at 49.90 for his third national title in two years. A day later, McHugh posted a runner-up finish in the 200 breast.

With his title in the 100 breast, McHugh became just the third Gopher men’s swimmer to win national championships in consecutive years.

Bacon continued her dominance in diving. In the last event of her collegiate career at the NCAA Championships on March 18, Bacon repeated as national champion on the 3-meter springboard, claiming the fifth individual title of her illustrious career.

She left no doubt that she's one of the greatest divers in the sport's history. And Bacon's five individual titles tie her with men's swimmer Steve Jackman and men's gymnast John Roethlisberger for the most in Minnesota annals.