Mankato, Minn. — Including four starters from a year ago, the Minnesota State wrestling program begins the 2019-20 season boasting three All-Americans and a total of five wrestlers who have a history of reaching the national tournament.
The Mavericks went 9-2 (7-1 NSIC) in duals last season and after posting a second-place finish at the NCAA Division II Super Region V tournament, placed 31st at the national championship tournament.
Veteran head coach Jim Makovsky, who enters his 31st season of college coaching with a career record of 302-136-4, will look to a trio of former All-Americans to lead this year’s team.
Junior Kyle Rathman (Apple Valley, Minn.) posted a seventh-place finish in earning All-America honors at last year’s national tournament at 149 lbs. Rathman finished with a team-high 19 wins and enters 2019-20 owning a 41-15 career record. Senior Zach Johnston went 14-6 with an 8-3 dual record last year at 174 lbs. after putting up a 24-8 mark in 2017-18 and a seventh-place finish at the 2018 national tournament. Senior Matthew Blome, who finished the 2017-18 campaign with an 18-8 record at 197 and earned All-American honors as a freshman in 2016-17, returns after a medical redshirt year in 2018-19.
The Mavericks also return a pair of national qualifiers from a year ago in seniors Louie Sanders and Logan Saltou. Sanders, wrestling at 141 lbs., earned a 15-7 overall record last year and placed second at the NCAA DII Super Regionals and mad his first NCAA DII Wrestling Championship appearance. Saltou was 18-9 a year ago while wrestling at 165 lbs. He placed third in the NCAA DII Super Regionals and earned a place in the NCAA DII Wrestling Championships.
Junior Trenton McManus went 7-7 overall last year and is projected to start at 125 for his junior campaign. Sophomore Kolbe O’Brien wrestled at 141 lbs., and claimed a 17-4 overall record in 2018-19. Sophomore Kolbe O’Brien fashioned a 16-4 record last year while wrestling at 157 lbs. Sophomore Brandon Moen held a 6-1 overall record at 184 lbs. before a season-ending injury interrupted his first season with the Mavericks last year. Sophomore Trevor Turriff posted a 13-7 overall record at 184 lbs and earned a sixth-place NCAA DII Super Regionals result. Sophomore Max Villnow wrestled at 185 lbs., and went 15-12 overall in his first year of college wrestling last year.
Newcomers to the roster include Kyler Rieck (157, Spirit Lake, Iowa/Spirit Lake H.S.), Cole Gille (125, Pulaski, Wis./Pulaski H.S.), Julian Purney (133, Galesville, Wis./Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau H.S.), Kyle Cavanaugh (149, Caledonia, Minn./Caledonia H.S.), Mike Smith (165, Amery, Wis./Amery H.S.), Nic Leo (184, Ankeny, Iowa/Ankeny Centennial H.S.), Shane Gibson (184/197, Livingston, Mont./Park H.S.) and Sam Nordquist (165/174, Zumbrota, Minn./Zumbrota-Mazeppa H.S,/North Dakota).
“We have a good group of leaders who have all tasted some success. All of them will need to take another step up in commitment and leadership for our team to take that next step in wins/losses/national team points,” said Ty Eustice, assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. “We really battled well to be 9-2 last year during the regular season. There was a lot of adversity that we had to navigate, we learned that we have some resilient young guys. If we can stay healthy and have all our guys training and feeling good going into the post-season, then we will have a chance to have some good success. That will require more discipline and effort in all areas.”
Minnesota State begins its season at the Yellowjacket Open in Rochester, Minn., on Nov. 2, 2019.