The #2 ranked St. Cloud State University wrestling team will travel to the 2016 NCAA Division II wrestling championships on March 11-12. The tournament will be held in Sioux Falls, S.D. at the Denny Sanford Premier Center. The first session of competition will begin at 11 a.m. on March 11 with the tournament wrapping up with the championship bouts beginning at 7 p.m. on March 12.
For complete information about the upcoming 2016 NCAA Division II championships visit the NCAA championship website.
The Huskies have qualified seven wrestlers for the upcoming NCAA championships, which is one more wrestler than SCSU brought to the 2015 NCAA championships that the Huskies won in St. Louis, Mo. The list of champions for the Huskies from the recent 2016 NCAA Division II Super 3 Regional tournament includeBrett Velasquez at 125-pounds, Jay Hildreth at 149-pounds, Clint Poster at 165-pounds and Austin Goergen at 285-pounds. Both Goergen and Poster were repeat champions at the NCAA Super 3 Regional this year.
The other three SCSU wrestlers to advance to the NCAA finals include Matt Nelson at 141-pounds, Clayton Jennissen at 174-pounds and Uthman Rabiu at 184-pounds.
Velasquez (21-2) will open action in the 125-pound bracket with a match against Zach Brown of West Liberty (17-9). This will mark Velasquez’ first trip to the NCAA tournament for the Huskies. At 141-pounds, Nelson (18-8) will match up against #6 Daniel Salazar (30-4) of Colorado Mesa in first round action. Nelson placed fifth at the NCAA finals in 2013 and will be making his second NCAA tournament appearance in 2016.
At 149-pounds, #5 ranked Hildreth (30-4) will square off against #7 Ty Lydic (22-5) of Seton Hall in first round action. Hildreth placed fourth in the 149-pound bracket in 2014 and is also making his second NCAA championships appearance. Both Nelson and Hildreth were redshirt athletes at SCSU in 2015.
#1 ranked Poster (35-1) will open his tournament in Sioux Falls with a first round match against Nick Swanson (23-9) of Colorado Mesa. This is Poster’s fourth trip to the NCAA tournament and he has finished third at the championships in 2014 and 2015 (157-pounds) and fourth in 2013 (157-pounds).
In action at 174-pounds, Jennissen (27-7) begins his run at the NCAAs with a match against Roberto Rivera of Notre Dame College of Ohio (12-10). This is Jennissen’s second trip to the NCAA championships. At 184-pounds, #8 Rabiu (20-8) will be making his NCAA tournament debut. Rabiu will open with a first round match against Taylor DeLong (19-13) of Indianapolis.
SCSU’s group is completed by #5 Goergen (32-1) at 285-pounds. A three-time NCAA qualifier, Goergen placed sixth at the NCAA championships in 2014 and was the runner-up at the NCAAs in 2015 at 285-pounds. He will begin NCAA tournament play with a first round match against Wheeling Jesuit’s Logan Bowman (14-12).
The Huskies captured the top spot at the 2015 NCAA Division II wrestling championships under the leadership of head coach Steve Costanzo. SCSU has been a perennial power in the world of NCAA DII wrestling with second place team finishes in 2011, 2012 and 2013 along with a sixth place team finish in 2014. SCSU has finished among the nation’s top eight teams seven times since 2009.