St. Cloud State Wrestling – Season Wrap-up

St. Cloud State University (19-2, 6-1 NSIC) set a new team standard by capturing 2nd place at the 2011 NCAA Division II championships on March 11-12 in Kearney, Neb. This is the best finish at a national championship for the Huskies since the program started in 1949-50. The previous best efforts for the Huskies were 3rd place finishes at the NAIA tournament in 1963 and 1965. In NCAA Division II action, the best finish prior to 2011 was a 7th place finish in 2010 and 1983.

  • SCSU scored 90.5 team points at the NCAA championships, while Nebraska-Omaha won its third consecutive team title with 102.5 points. NSIC rivals Augustana (81.5) and Upper Iowa (66.0) completed the top four at the tournament. This was the most points scored at a national meet by the Huskies in team history. The previous high was 50 points scored at the NCAA tournament in 2010.
  • SCSU senior John Sundgren captured 1st place at the NCAA championships in the 157-pound bracket. He is the first Husky to win a national title since Gene Hanemann won his title in 1995. This is the 12th individual national title for a Husky wrestling since 1958, and it is just the 2nd NCAA Division II individual national title for a Husky wrestler. Sundgren won the crown with a 4-0 victory over Dillon Bera of UW-Parkside. He went 4-0 in action at the NCAA championships and is a two-time All-American and 4-time national qualifier.
  • SCSU sophomore Jacob Kahnke capped his season with a 2nd place finish at the NCAA DII championships in the 285-pound bracket. Kahnke was 3-1 at the national meet and lost in the finals to Matt Meuleners of Northern State by a 4-3 margin. Kahnke ended his season with a 29-2 record. This marked his second consecutive top 4 finish at the NCAA championships.
  • SCSU grapplers to earn 3rd place finishes at the NCAA championships were senior Gabe Suarez (141-pounds) and junior Tad Merritt (165-pounds). Suarez went 5-1 in NCAA action and gained 3rd with a 3-2 win over Jay Sherer of Augustana. Suarez is a four-time qualifier and two-time All-American at SCSU…Merritt also posted a 5-1 record at 165-pound, and claimed 3rd place with a 4-1 win over Joey Wilson of UN-Kearney. Merritt is a three-time All-American at SCSU (all top 4 finishes for Merritt).
  • SCSU sophomore Shamus O’Grady placed 4th in the 174-pound bracket at nationals. He is a two-time All-American for the Huskies at 174-pounds. O’Grady went 3-2 in action at the NCAAs, and he lost a 7-6 match to Victor Carazo of Grand Canyon in the bout for third. SCSU’s 6th All-America award was posted by junior Jacob D. Horn, who placed 5th at 149-pounds. This was Horn’s first trip to nationals. He charted a 4-2 record that ended with a 7-5 win over John Paukovits of Kutztown in the fifth place match.
  • Tad Merritt set a new team record for victories in 2010-11. Merritt charted a 40-4 overall record this winter, which surpasses the old season record of 38 wins held by Merritt (38-6 in 2008-09), Dustin Darveaux (38-10 in 2001-02), Gene Hanemann (38-5 in 1994-95) and Andy Reigstad (38-11 in 1993-94). Merritt currently owns 106 career wins at SCSU in his first three seasons of competition. The current SCSU career win record is held by Dustin Darveaux with 142 from 1999-03.
  • SCSU seniors who finished their collegiate wrestling careers in 2010-11 were John Sundgren, Gabe Suarez, Chad Kubasch, Erik Rogness and Westy Hanson. Sundgren finished his career with a 92-32 record over 4 seasons, while Suarez was 106-37 in four seasons of competition. Suarez was one of just three Huskies to earn 30-plus win this season. In 2010-11, Suarez was 30-9 overall.
  • Shamus O’Grady was the other Husky to win 30-plus matches this seasons along with Merritt and Suarez. O’Grady was 30-9 in action at 174-pounds this winter.
  • THE CHAMPS! St. Cloud State captured its first NCAA Regional title with a first place finish a at the 2011 NCAA DII Super Regional #3 on Feb. 27 in Sioux Falls, S.D. SCSU led the tournament with 131.0 points, while Augustana placed 2nd at 120.0. Mankato (99.0), Upper Iowa (99.0), UW-Parkside (74.0), Moorhead (49.0), Indianapolis (42.5), SW Minnesota State (38.5), Northern State (34.0), Mary (21.5) and Newman (16.0) completed the field.
  • SCSU sophomore Shamus O’Grady earned top honors at the NCAA Regional at 174-pounds and was named the tournament’s MVP. He was joined on the top step of the award stand by SCSU junior Tad Merritt, who won first at 165-pounds and sophomore Jake Kahnke claimed first at 285-pounds.
  • SCSU wrestlers who earned bids to the 2011 NCAA championships were Eric Ellington (133), Gabe Suarez (141), Jacon D. Horn (149), John Sundgren (157), Tad Merritt (165), Shamus O’Grady (174), Lucas Munkelwitz (197) and Jacob Kahnke (285). This marks the fourth consecutive NCAA bids for Suarez and Sundgren. SCSU wrestlers making their third consecutive NCAA appearances are Munkelwitz and Merritt, and second time NCAA wrestlers for SCSU are O’Grady and Kahnke. This will mark Horn’s first trip to the NCAA tournament. Last year, Kahnke, Merritt, Suarez and O’Grady all gained All-America status for the Huskies, who placed 7th as a team in 2010.
  • The 19 wins is a team record for most dual wins in a season for the Huskies. The old record of 16 wins in a season was set in 1970-71 by the Huskies under the leadership of coach John Oxton.
  • The Huskies were ranked #2 in the finalDII Coaches’ Poll behind Nebraska Omaha. Here is a rundown of SCSU’s nationally ranked wrestlers in the final 2010-11 poll: Gabe Suarez (#6 at 141-pounds), Jacob D. Horn (#5 at 149-pounds), John Sundgren (#4 at 157-pounds), Tad Merritt (#2 at 165-pounds), Shamus O’Grady (#3 at 174-pounds) and Jake Kahnke (#1 at 285-pounds).
  • The Huskies shattered the team’s dual match point record for a season. SCSU had 599 points in dual matches this season, which breaks the old team record of 515 points set in 2009-10. In contrast, SCSU allowed only 164 dual match points this winter. SCSU set a team record by allowing just 7.81 points per dual match this season. The old team record of 8.06 points allowed per dual match was set in 1963-64.
  • SCSU placed 3rd at the 2011 NWCA Division II National Duals on Jan. 8-9. The third place finish is the best in team history for the Huskies at the DII National Duals.
  • The St. Cloud State University wrestling team (14-7, 5-2 NSIC/3rd) captured 7th place at the 2010 NCAA Division II wrestling championships on March 12-13, in Omaha, Neb.
  • 2011 marks the Huskies best NCAA finish in team history at 2nd place. The previous best efforts were 7th place in 1983 and 2010. This also marked the best finish for the Huskies at the NCAA tournament since Steve Costanzo took over as head coach in 2006-07. This marked the 9th time since 1975 that SCSU has charted a top-10 place at the NCAA championships. SCSU placed 7th in 2010 and 19983 and SCSU placed eighth at the nationals in 2009, 1986 and 1976. SCSU placed 9th in 2003 and 1984 and 10th in 1975. SCSU also placed third at nationals during the 1963 and 1965 seasons as an NAIA affiliate.