St. Cloud State’s Bianchini, Costanzo, and Eischens earn NSIC Awards

The St. Cloud State University wrestling team made a clean sweep of the 2019-20 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference awards as the Huskies claimed the league’s top three honors. SCSU senior Kolton Eischens (Pierz, Minn./Healy H.S.) was named the 2019-20 NSIC Co-Wrestler of the Year, freshman Joey Bianchini (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Immaculate Conception H.S.) was named the NSIC Rookie of the Year and SCSU’s Steve Costanzo was named the NSIC Coach of the Year.

A senior for Pierz, Minn. and a graduate of Healy H.S., Eischens posted an 18-1 record with eight falls for the Huskies in 2019-20 at 174-pounds. He ended the season ranked #2 in the nation at 174-pounds and captured first place honors at the 2020 NCAA DII Super Region V championships in the 174-pound bracket. A two-time All-American for the Huskies (4th in 2019 and 6th in 2018), Eischens was one of nine SCSU wrestlers that qualified for the 2020 NCAA DII championships that were canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

A three-time All-NSIC award recipient, CoSIDA Academic All-American, and an Academic All-NSIC award winner during his career, Eischens finished his career at SCSU with a 75-12 record. Eischens is the sixth SCSU athlete to earn the NSIC Wrestler of the Year award. He shared the honor in 2019-20 along with Nick Baumler of Upper Iowa.

Previous NSIC Wrestlers of the Year for SCSU include Vince Dietz (2019), Clint Poster (2016), Tim Prescott (2015), John Sundgren (2011) and Tad Merritt (2009).

Bianchini scored a 20-1 record for the Huskies in 2019-20 at 141-pounds. He was the lone freshman to earn All-NSIC honors this season and was the champion of the 141-pound bracket at the 2020 NCAA Division II Super Region V tournament. Bianchini was a qualifier for the 2020 NCAA DII championships and also placed first in tournaments a the Cobber Open, Buena Vista Open, and the UW-Eau Claire Open. He is the sixth SCSU wrestler to earn the NSIC Rookie of the Year award. Previous SCSU wrestlers to earn the NSIC Rookie of the Year award include Garrett Vos (2019), James Pleski (2017), Brett Velasquez (2016), Larry Bomstad (2015) and Austin Goergen (2014).

In his 14th season as head coach at SCSU, Costanzo led the Huskies to a 16-0, 8-0 NSIC season. The nation’s number one ranked team in the final NCAA DII poll, St. Cloud State captured its ninth consecutive NSIC championship in 2019-20. The Huskies also claimed its fourth consecutive NWCA DII National Duals title in 2020 and won its fourth consecutive NCAA DII regional title this winter.

Costanzo saw nine of his wrestlers qualify for the 2020 NCAA DII championships and seven SCSU grapplers claimed individual regional titles in 2020. This marked the eighth time that Costanzo has been selected as the NSIC Coach of the Year. He has also earned this elite NSIC honor in 2019, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013, 2012 and 2011. Of note, the Huskies will open the 2020-21 season with an active 64 dual match win streak (an NCAA DII record). The Huskies have not lost a dual match since a loss to Indianapolis on Jan 14, 2017.

NSIC Wrestling All-Conference teams were announced back on February 25 following the NSIC regular-season schedule. SCSU had nine wrestlers gain All-NSIC honors in 2019-20.

2019-20 NSIC All-Conference

First Team All-ConferenceWTYR    SchoolHometown
Dean Arevalo125Sr.MINOTRiverside, Calif.
Garrett Vos133R-So.SCSUBonifacius, Minn.
Joey Bianchini141R-Fr.SCSUElk Grove Village, Ill.
James Pleski149R-Sr.SCSUStacy, Minn.
Jake Barzowski157R-Jr.SCSUPark Ridge, Ill.
Devin Fitzpatrick165R-Jr.SCSUMahtomedi, Minn.
Kolton Eischens174Sr.SCSUPierz, Minn.
Tyree Overton184R-Sr.SCSURock Island, Ill.
Nick Baumler197Sr.UIUWest Union, Iowa
Triston Westerlund285R-Sr.UIUAlbert Lea, Minn.
Second Team All-ConferenceWTYRSchoolHometown
Hunter Pfantz125R-FR.SMSUState Center,  Iowa
Justin Folley133Sr.UIUMatteson, Ill.
Hunter Burnett141R-Fr.AUGIEPipestone, Minn.
Kyle Rathman149Jr.MSUApple Valley, Minn.
Braydon Huber157R-Fr.UMaryPost Falls, Id.
Nathan Baca165So.MINOTBrighton, Colo.
Ben Kelvington174Sr.AUGIEJordan, Minn.
Marcus Placide184Jr.NSUMinneapolis, Minn.
Noah Ryan197R-So.SCSUMantorville, Minn.
Ezayah Oropeza285FrSCSUBurnsville, Minn.

Check out Huskies Wrestling at scsuhuskies.com and on Twitter and Facebook.

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