The Mayo Civic Center Region I Wrestling Hall of Fame honored inductees and area teams and wrestlers on Monday, February 29th at the Southeastern Minnesota Wrestling Seniors Banquet in Rochester, Minn.
Mayo Civic Center Region I Outstanding Wrestlers
Class AAA: Taylor Venz – Farmington
Class AA: Ryans Epps – Cannon Falls
Class A: Ethan Cota – Kenyon-Wanamingo
2016 MCC Region I Wrestling Alumni Hall of Fame Class
Wrestling Family Legacy Award: Kuisle Family – Stewartville
Bill, Dennis, Jim, John, Mark, Rich, and Tom Kuisle. Most of their sons have all wrestled and coached as well.
The Kuisle family of Stewartville have been front runners in giving back to the sport of wrestling. All seven family members wrestled at Stewartville High School and have given back for 40 years as coaches, officials, MN/USA Wrestling members, and numerous other ways. Mark has served as long-time Section I Team and Individual Tournament Director. This is the first Family Legacy Award selected by the MCC Region I Wrestling Alumni Committee.
Athlete: Richie Douglas – Hayfield
This Hayfield High School graduate earned three NCAA Division II All-American honors at St. Cloud State University. Rich was one of the last non-Division I wrestlers to compete in the NCAA Division I Tournament in the early 1990s. Rich was a 105-pound state champion in 1986.
Coach: Jim Slifka – Medford
A 35-Year veteran coach, Jim was in Region I for 15 years. He produced 158 career wins and coached state champion John Michel in the one-class system. He is also a member of the MWCA Hall of Fame.
Coach: Bill Simpkins – GMLOK
Bill coached state tournament place winning teams in 2004 and 2005. He coached numerous state place winners and champions in 35 years. Bill has served as the MN-IA Border Battle Chairperson. His teams produced 258 varsity career wins.
Official: Constantine “Gust” Barbes – Rochester
Gust officiated many MSHSL Section and Region I tournaments over the years.
Assistant/Jr. High Coach: Larry Hovden – Owatonna
Larry has served for close to 30 Years as a junior high, youth, and freestyle and Greco-Roman coach at Owatonna. He has also been a leader in their wrestling club. Larry was selected as the National High School Assistant Coach of the year as well.
Contributor: Al Chihak – Stewartville
For the past 36 years Al Chihak has been one of the finest contributors in Section/Region I. He coached the youth program for 15 years at Stewartville. Al has served as a member of Southeastern Minnesota Wrestling Association and SEMWREC Board of Directors. He was this year’s Clash XIV Tournament Director.
2015 honoree Larry Kihlstadius (Albert Lea-Athlete) was in attendance to accept his honor at this year’s banquet.
The MCC Region I Hall of Fame Banquet is hosted by the Southeastern Minnesota Wrestling Association, the same group that hosts The Clash and other wrestling events. They honored the area 2016 graduating high school seniors and their teams before the Hall of Fame Program.