BURNSVILLE, Minn. – Former Southwest Minnesota State University wrestling standout Link Steffen will be inducted into the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Hall of Fame on Tuesday, July 12, the league announced on Wednesday. The induction ceremony will be held at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Moorhead, Minn., at the NSIC’s annual Summer Kickoff event. A social begins at 5:30 p.m. followed by the ceremony at 6 p.m.
Joining Steffen in the class of 2022 include: Maggie McNamara, Concordia University, St. Paul; Jim Kapitan, Minnesota State University Moorhead; Amanda (Madden) Mahlke, Northern State University; Matt Schneck, St. Cloud State University; Katie Wilson, Wayne State College; Ben Barrone, Winona State University.
Tickets for the banquet can be secured at northernsun.org/HOFBanquet. Registrations are due no later than July 1, as space is limited for this event.
Steffen was a dominant force for the Mustang wrestling team from 1994-98. A four-year letter winner, Steffen won the 1998 NCAA Division II individual national championship at 190 pounds, becoming the first NCAA National Champion at SMSU and third in the NSIC. A three-time NCAA national qualifier and two-time All-America (1997 & 1998), Steffen finished his national championship senior season with a school-best 39-1 record and was named the NCAA Midwest Region Wrestler of the Year. He earned the region honor after winning the 190-pound class at the Midwest Region meet in Edmond, Okla., to qualify for the NCAA Championships in Pueblo, Colo.
Despite an unblemished record versus NCAA opponents, Steffen entered the NCAA meet as the No. 6 seed and opened with a dominating 21-10 victory over Steve Divirgilo from UMass-Lowell. He then picked up a 6-3 victory over Andy Sistek from Nebraska-Kearney before earning a victory by fall at 2:39 over Edwin Lorne from Central Oklahoma in the semifinals. In the final, Steffen faced off versus Mike Schadwinkle from Adams State and following a scoreless opening period, Steffen scored on a reversal to go up 2-0 in the second period and cruised from there to earn an 8-1 victory and national championship.
Steffen’s only loss on the season was a 9-6 decision to two-time Junior College national champion, NCAA All-American, two-time Olympian, and UFC two-division world champion, Daniel Cormier from Colby Community College. Steffen and Cormier met in the championship match of an open tournament hosted by the University of Central Missouri.
Steffen, who placed fourth at the 1997 NCAA Championships at 177 pounds to earn All-American honors, was a two-time NSIC champion (1997 & 1998) and two-time conference runner-up (1995 & 1996). He finished his career with a 114-22 record, ranking third all-time in school history for winning percentage at .838.
Steffen also played two seasons for the Mustang baseball team (1995 & 1996) appearing in 34 games, finishing with a .292 career batting average with two home runs and seven doubles.
Steffen is currently the head wrestling coach at Zumbrota-Mazeppa High School where he has coached multiple team and individual state champions. He and his wife Jen have three children: Chase, Caden, and Avery.
Founded in 1986, the Northern Intercollegiate Conference (NIC – the former men’s conference) Hall of Fame was established to recognize and honor those who made significant contributions to the conference, to create favorable publicity and public relations for the league and to help preserve the history of the NIC, its member institutions, student-athletes, and other significant individuals affiliated with the league. For the first two inductions (1986 and 1990) each selection hailed from the NIC. In 1992, the Northern Sun Conference (NSC – the former women’s conference) and the NIC merged, creating the current Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC). After annual inductions since 2000, the NSIC Hall of Fame now boasts over 200 members and one team.
Each NSIC institution (that has been a league member for at least ten years) is asked to submit one candidate for consideration for induction into the Hall of Fame. Each of the candidates are derived from individuals who have been affiliated with the NSIC, NIC, NSC, and their member institutions.