The annual SE Minnesota Seniors’ Banquet and Region 1 Hall of Fame dinner was held Monday, March 7th at the Rochester Downtown Marriott Grand Ballroom.
Region 1 Wrestling Hall of Fame award recipients:
- JIM CAMPBELL: A 15-Year Coach, who was the architect for the highly successful Plainview Program. Jim had a career coaching record of 124-37. He retired while on an 80 match regular season win-streak and the next season they were state runners-up.
- JON RHODES: A 34-Year Career Coach, with 20 of them coming at Harmony with a 249-99 -8 mark. Was District I coach of the year. Also coached 14 years in Tokyo, Japan where he was twice coach of the year at St. Mary’s.
- NEAL SKAAR: a 45-Year Coaching veteran, all at his alma matter Albert Lea. Neal’s head Coaching record was 222-49-5 for The Tigers, and a State team Championship. Neal, was a also a standout for The Tigers and Luther College.
- MIKE LANGALIS: This 2-Time State Champion from Apple Valley was a 2-Time NCAA II National Champion for NDSU, and a 2-Time NCAA I All-American Place Winner.
- GARY NEIST: Gary was an individual State Champion for The Albert Lea Tigers in the Mid-60’s. After starring at Luther College, Gary became the Only Region I athlete ever to occupy The starting spot on a Olympic Team in 1972, on The US Greco-Roman Team in Munich, Germany.
- RICK RUD: This Hayfield wrestling alumni, and long-time resident of Mantorville, MN, starts his 31st Year of officiating and has been a permanent fixture as an Official/Evaluator at the last 27 State Wrestling Tournament, and his 28th year at The Section I/Region I Tournament. Current Director of Southern Minnesota Officials Association that has an outstanding Internal Mentoring system for officials.
- BILL HINCHLEY: This Owatonna Resident has served as Minnesota/USA Wrestling President since 1993, and the long-time Head Official was selected as Wrestling USA Official of the Year in 2007.
Three Southeast Minnesota wrestlers receive “Wrestler of the Year” awards
The Southeast Minnesota Wrestling Coalition presented three area wrestlers with “Wrestler of the Year” awards. One wrestler from each class is given the award annually based on their overall high school wrestling careers. The three wrestlers selected accounted for more than 500 wins and ten trips to the state tournament during their high school careers.
From class A, Chad Matthees of Zumbrota-Mazeppa High School, was selected for the award. Chad’s career record was 123-30 and set a single season win school record this season with a 48-4 mark. Chad also set a school record with 74 career pins while maintaining a 3.3 cumulative GPA. According to his head coach, Link Steffen, “What’s most important about Chad is his genuine love for the sport of wrestling. He came to practice every day with a smile on his face and had a ‘feel-good vibe’ around him……he truly wanted to be at wrestling practice and nowhere else. This love of the sport is what eventually led Chad to the many accomplishments he attained.” Chad placed 5th in state last season and finished his high school career with a 4th place finish this weekend in the 189 pound weight class.
The unanimous choice to represent class AA was Garret Garness of Kasson-Mantorville High School Garret had a career record of 221-35 including 101 pins. Over the last 5 years, he’s appeared in the Minnesota State High School tournament 5 times including a 3rd place finish, two 2nd place finishes and a state championship. Garret was a two-time academic all-state selection with a 4.0 GPA and plans to wrestle at Ohio University after graduation. Garret capped his high school career with a 48-3 record during his senior season.
The class 3A award recipient was Cory Hansen of Albert Lea Area High School. Cory finished his high school career with a 164-24 record overall for the Tigers including winning four Section 1 AAA championships and being selected to the Big 9 All-Conference team four times. Doing his high school tenure, Cory also made four trips to the Minnesota State High School Wrestling tournament finishing in the top four three times.