Five Former Bison to Be Inducted into NCAA Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame on March 10

Five former North Dakota State University student-athletes are scheduled to be inducted into the 20th class of the NCAA Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame on Thursday, March 10, at the Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. The ceremony will begin at 6 p.m.

NDSU BisonNorth Dakota State’s Todd Fuller (174, 1998-02), Steve Saxlund (167/184, 1997-01), Nick Severson(Heavyweight, 1998-02), George Thompson (134, 1994-98) and Ryan Wolters (190, 1994-98) are part of the 20th Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame class that consists of 11 individuals and one former coach.

The Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame ceremony will be held in conjunction with a reception for coaches and dignitaries preceding the start of the 54th annual NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships. Tickets for the reception can be reserved at a cost of $25 by emailing Sean Derry at sfsaintern@siouxfalls.com.

Fuller, Saxlund, Severson, Thompson and Wolters join former NDSU wrestling head coach Bucky Maughan, Bill Demaray (177), Brad Rheingans (190), Lee Petersen (142) and Mike Langlais (142/150) in the Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame, which has enshrined 128 members.

Rounding out the 2016 Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame class are Augustana University’s Tom Meester (2001-05) and Sam Herriman (1975-79); Minnesota State Mankato’s Matt Petsinger (1997-01), and South Dakota State’s coach Jason Liles (1993-12), Pat Dorn (1985-89), Paul Konechne (1997-01) and Ryan Resel (1995-99).

The NCAA Division II National Wrestling Championships were first held in 1963.  For the first 11 years, it was called the NCAA College Division Tournament. In 1974, when the NCAA started the divisional concept, approximately half of the College Division schools continued competing in the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships and about half went into the NCAA Division III.  Since 1963, there has been 53 teams crowned National Champion and 534 individual national champions. Legendary North Dakota State coach Bucky Maughan led the Bison to four NCAA Division II national championships. Twenty-one NDSU wrestlers claimed Division II national titles from 1971 to 2003.

Todd Fuller (174 pounds, 1998-02)
Todd Fuller was recruited to wrestle for North Dakota State University by coach Bucky Maughan. He was a four-time state qualifier for Maple Lake High School in Minnesota. His high school record was 186-39, placing third twice, and winning a State Championship as a senior. He was also a four-time letter winner in football and baseball and was a four-time all–conference baseball player. Todd was a three-time NCAA Division II national champion at 174 pounds for North Dakota State University in 2000, 2001 and 2002, including his selection as the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the 2002 NCAA Division II National Championship. He was a member of back-to-back national championship teams for the Bison in both 2000 and 2001. A three-time North Central Conference finalist, Fuller won a pair of conference championships in 2000 and 2002. He was a member of the 2001 NCC Championship team. He was selected the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association’s Collegiate Male Athlete of the Year in 2001-02 after compiling a 35-4 record, including 14-1 in duals with 11 pins. Fuller finished his career with a 101-29 record including 42-8 in duals and 30 pins. He currently ranks ninth all-time at NDSU with the 101 wins. A two-sport athlete at NDSU, Fuller pitched and played outfield for the Bison baseball team. Fuller is a co-owner of 3X Gear with teammate and fellow inductee Steve Saxlund. The 3X Gear company is a screen print & embroidery company that has their own brand of singlets, fight shorts, hoods, and quarter zips. He also is the co-owner of the Herds and Horns Bar and Grill and is the co–founder and co–director of the Rumble on the Red Wrestling Championship. Todd and his wife Katie live in Fargo, North Dakota. Katie was an all–state basketball player. They have two children, a daughter Chloe (9), who is a competitive gymnast and a son TJ (8), who is involved in wrestling, football and baseball.

Steve Saxlund (167/184, 1997-01)
Steve Saxlund put together one of the finest all-around careers in North Dakota State University wrestling history, on and off the mat, attaining elite status on the mat and in the classroom. Saxlund was a three-time NCAA Division II national champion – at 167 pounds in 1997-98, and at 184 in both 1999-2000 and 2000-01, earning Most Outstanding Wrestler honors in 2001. He was the NCAA Division II runner-up at 174 pounds in 1998-99. Saxlund was a driving force behind three of the Bucky Maughan-coached NCAA Division II national championship teams in 1998, 2000 and 2001. He dropped only two matches to Division II competition in his career. Saxlund was a four-time North Central Conference Most Valuable Wrestler and individual champion. He was part of conference championship teams in 1998 and 2001. He only had one loss in NCC competition. A 2001 graduate from NDSU with a bachelor’s degree in biology, Saxlund is one of four Bison wrestlers to receive an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. He went on to earn his master’s degree in sports and recreation management. Saxlund was NDSU’s 2001 Albrecht Presidential Trophy and NCC Honor Athlete recipient. He was a four-time National Wrestling Coaches Association and NCC All-Academic first-team selection. In the community, Saxlund was a member of NDSU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council, serving as the Code of Conduct Officer. He was involved with the council’s Halloween Party, Valentine Blood Drive and Spring Clean-up all four years. Saxlund volunteered as an elementary school wrestling coach and also made hospital visits to children. Saxlund is currently third all-time at NDSU with a 107-19 record including 42-5 in duals with 20 pins. That was highlighted by a 30-4 ledger including 13-1 in duals as a senior with eight pins. He placed second and seventh at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invite during his career. Saxlund also earned USA Wrestling and FILA Junior Freestyle All-American status. His prep wrestling career at Pipestone-Jasper High School was highlighted by the 1996 Minnesota Class A state championship at 160 pounds. Coached by his father, Dick Saxlund, he compiled a 186-26-1 record including two other state tournament placings and runner-up finish at the High School Nationals. Saxlund, a member of his high school’s Hall of Fame, was a Prep Wrestling Coast-to-Coast All-American after going undefeated at 36-0 as a senior. He was a three-time academic all-state selection. Saxlund is co-owner of 3X Gear with former teammate and fellow inductee Todd Fuller. The screen print and embroidery company has its own brand of singlets, fight shorts, hoods and quarter-zips. He is the director of the Rumble on the Red Wrestling Championships, the largest high school-sanctioned event in the country featuring 1,300 wrestlers in a two-day tournament at the Fargodome. Steve and his wife, Angie have three daughters, Brooklyn (9), Peyton (7) and Brynlie (3).

Nick Severson (Heavyweight, 1998-02)
Nick Severson was a two-time NCAA Division II national champion at heavyweight for North Dakota State University and had a flair for the dramatic. Severson helped Bucky Maughan and the Bison capture the 2001 NCAA Division II national team championships with a pin at 5:59 of South Dakota State’s Jon Madsen, which proved to be the turning point in NDSU topping the Jackrabbits for the crown. A four-time North Central Conference place-winner, Severson claimed the 2002 NCC heavyweight title and was a member of two conference championship teams. Following a slow start to his collegiate career, Severson fashioned a 47-4 record over his final two seasons including a perfect 23-0 in duals with 25 pins. His senior season produced a 30-3 record, 12-0 in duals, with 17 falls. Severson continued to compete following his career at NDSU. He was a 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier and went on to finish fourth at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. Severson placed fourth at the 2003 U.S. World Team Trials and finished fifth in Greco-Roman at the 2003 U.S. Nationals. He also placed eighth at the 2004 and 2011 U.S. Nationals. Severson won a state championship for Hayfield (Minnesota) High School. He had 106-66 record during his four-year high school career including 39-2 as a senior. Severson was also a three-year letterman on the football field. Severson graduated from NDSU in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in construction management and started his own residential construction company in 2004. He was an assistant coach for Rochester Community & Technical College during their drive to the 2014 national championship. His resume also includes an assistant coaching stop at Byron (Minnesota) High School from 2005-09. Nick and his wife, Angie, have four daughters, Jade, Ruby, Pearl and Ivory.

George Thompson (134, 1994-98)
George Thompson heeded the advice of Milbank (South Dakota) High School coach Bob Hirsch and decided to pursue wrestling instead of basketball. It proved to be a wise decision. Thompson’s collegiate wrestling career hit a high note when this four-time All-American won the 1997 NCAA Division II national championship at 134 pounds for North Dakota State. He also claimed the North Central Conference crown that season. He was a member of the 1998 national championship team coached by legendary Hall of Fame head coach Bucky Maughan, as NDSU placed in the top 10 three times during his career. The Bison also won a pair of conference titles. He finished his career with a 99-35 record including 34-9 in duals and 17 pins. Thompson is one of four NDSU wrestlers to receive an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and was selected to the 1998 NCAA Division II Wrestling All-Academic Team. He was inducted into the Bison Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015. Thompson graduated with honors from NDSU in 1998, and earned his master’s degree in sports administration from the University of Northern Colorado. Alongside then U.N.C. head coach and current NDSU senior associate AD for development Jack Maughan, he served as the top assistant for seven years. He coached several All-Americans and helped guide that program through the reclassification to Division I. He also co-founded the Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament in 1999. It is one of the largest high school sanctioned events in the country and he served as tournament director through 2014. Competing for Milbank High School, Thompson won his first individual South Dakota state title as a freshman on the Bulldogs’ 1990 state championship team. He won a pair of individual conference titles, four individual region titles, a State “A” individual runner-up finish, and three State “A” Individual titles. Over that span, Milbank won four conference team championships, and had four top six State “A” team finishes. He was inducted into the South Dakota Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2014. Currently, Thompson is the Director of Operations for Colorado Orthotic and Prosthetic Services and resides in Greeley, Colorado, with his two children, daughter Leila and son Chayse.

Ryan Wolters (190, 1994-98)
Ryan Wolters rebounded from a knee injury to become the 1995 NCAA Division II champion at 190 pounds for North Dakota State University. He was a three-time Division II All-American overall for head coach Bucky Maughan and the Bison, placing third in 1998 and fifth in 1996. Wolters was a member of the 1998 NCAA Division II national championship team and was also a student assistant coach for the 2000 national champions. A four-time North Central Conference place-winner, Wolters claimed the 1995 NCC title at 190 pounds. Named to the 1995 Amateur Wrestling News All-Freshmen Team, he finished his NDSU career with an 82-31 record including 31-8 in duals with 19 pins. Wolters was a state champion for Fargo South High School and earned North Dakota’s Mr. Wrestling. He finished with a 97-17 record for the Bruins. Wolters also served as an assistant coach for South in 2001. He was inducted into North Dakota’s Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2009. Wolters graduated from NDSU in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education with coach and health minors. He started working for UPS in 2001 and was promoted to his current position as Fargo Hub Supervisor in 2005, where he is in charge of all warehouse operations. Ryan and his wife, Marissa, reside in Fargo. He enjoys traveling, camping and helping coach his nephews in youth wrestling.

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