13 inducted into the 2024 Bartelma Minnesota Wrestling Hall of Fame

2024 MWCA Award Recipients Honored

Benson, Minn. – Thirteen new members were inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Dave Bartelma Hall of Fame on Saturday, May 4th, in Benson, Minn.

The new inductees honored were Luke Eustice, Ty Eustice, Wes Haglund, Mike Hendrickson, Chuck Marks, Jim Richardson, Dean Salo, Doug Salo, Ray Thorkildson, and Mike Thorn. Pioneer Inductees Ardell Knudsvig (who started the program in Ada, MN), Gary Brantl (who started the program in Plummer, MN), and Chuck Keogh (who started the program in Waubun, MN) were also honored. Those in attendance each gave a speech.

MWCA Coach of the Year honorees for 2024 were Class A – Matt Mauseth of Chatfield, Class AA – Kurt Becker and Bill McDonald of Watertown-Mayer, and Class AAA – Dan Engebretson of Mounds View.

The MWCA selected Matt Mauseth of Chatfield as the State Head Coach of the Year. Marty Morgan of Mounds View was selected as State Assistant Coach of the Year. Mauseth and Morgan, along with MWCA Mr. Minnesota Wrestler Alex Braun of Woodbury and Ms. Minnesota Wrestler Lanna Walter of Sauk Centre-Melrose, represent Minnesota as The National Wrestling Coaches Association’s State (NWCA) award winners, which qualifies them for further NWCA Scholastic Awards at the Regional and National levels.

The MWCA presented State Champion and Runner-up team awards based on the unofficial individual state tournament scoring to Class A—1st Kenyon-Wanamingo, 2nd Jackson County Central; Class AA—1st Simley, 2nd Becker; Class AAA—1st St. Michael-Albertville, 2nd Eden Prairie; Girls—1st Apple Valley, 2nd Bemidji. View the 2024 individual-based top-ten State team scores.

Craig Nasvik of White Bear Lake Area, Dennis Benz of Rock Ridge, Brian Bos of Pipestone Area, and Mark Madigan of Simley were recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award for their coaching longevity (30+ years).

Read the program biographies of the latest inductees below.

Photos by Jeff Beshey:

Inductee biographies by Bill Schmidt

Luke Eustice, Athlete

Luke attended Blue Earth Area High School, graduating from there in 1999. Luke was a three-time state champion and a state runner-up with a career record of 163-18. Luke was an avid freestyle wrestler as well and was crowned an All-American in Cadet freestyle, placing 2nd in 1996 and 6th in Junior Freestyle in 1999

Luke continued his wrestling at the University of Iowa, where he was a three-year starter with a career record of 86-26. Luke was an All-American in 2002 with his 2nd place finish. He was a two-time Big Ten Runner-up, placing 2nd in 2002 and 2004, as well as a two­ time Midlands Runner-up in 2002 and 2003. He was named the Iowa Most Improved Wrestler in 2002. Luke also competed in the 2004 NWCA All-Star Classic, which was held in Cedar Falls, IA, that year.

After college, Luke competed internationally, placing 2nd in the Sunkist Kids Freestyle Open in 2004 and 3rd in 2005. He placed 2nd in the NVAC Christmas Championships in 2005. He also competed in the Dave Schultz Memorial Invitational, where he placed 3rd in 2005. Luke also placed 5th in both the 2005 and 2006 World Team Trials. After competing, Luke served as Director of Operations for the University of Iowa from 2006-2019 and was instrumental in organizing and running the Grapple on the Gridiron held in Kinnick stadium, which is still the largest crowd to watch a wrestling meet with over 42k spectators on Nov. 15, 2015.

Luke resides in Iowa City, IA, where he is now the Director of the Iowa City Area Sports Commission. Luke is married to Jenny Eustice, and they have two children: Peyton, 12, and Charlie, 10.

Ty Eustice, Athlete

Ty Eustice attended Blue Earth Area High School, graduating from there in 2001. He wrestled collegiately at the University of Iowa, where he was a two-time NCAA All-American, four-time NCAA Qualifier, and Midlands Champion. In 2006, the two-time team captain was a NCAA Finalist and won the team’s Most Valuable Wrestler Award. Ty finished with over 100 career wins during his four years of varsity competition. Ty graduated from Iowa in 2006 with a degree in Art and eventually obtained a Master’s in Sports Management from Minnesota State University-Mankato in 2008.

Before wrestling collegiately, Eustice was a four-time High School State Champion in Minnesota and a five-time State Place winner. Eustice was also a National Freestyle All­ American in the Cadet, Junior, and FILA Junior age groups. During Ty’s senior year of high school competition, he broke the Minnesota State record for takedowns in a career, helping the Bucs to a Team State Title in Class AA. Ty still owns the Blue Earth Area program record for career wins with 191.

In October 2021, Ty joined the NCAA Div. I Davidson College Wrestling program as head assistant coach. In just his first season, Eustice helped lead Davidson to its most successful season since 2005, notching five dual wins. Additionally, three ‘Cats were named to the RPI Rankings for the first time in program history. An additional three were named to the NWCA All-Academic Team as well.

Eustice made the move to North Carolina from Minnesota State University, Mankato, a program he had coached in two separate stints. During the 2007 and 2008 seasons, the Mavs crowned two individual national champions and 12 individual All-Americans, as well as winning the 2008 NWCA National Duals Championship. In his second stint at Minnesota State, 2018-2021, Eustice helped coach seven All-Americans and 15 National Qualifiers, including two NCAA finalists.

From 2012 to 2017, Ty helped manage and operate J Robinson Intensive Camps in Minneapolis, MN, as the Director of Wrestling Operations and then as Executive Director.

Eustice currently resides in Davidson, NC, with his wife Dani and two children, Camryn (8) and Grayson (6). Ty’s oldest son, Jack (18), resides in Rochester, MN, and will join the UW­ Eau Claire baseball team in the fall of 2024.

Wes Haglund, Coach

Wes, along with 5 brothers, was raised on a farm near Kerkhoven by his father and mother, who was a war bride from Germany. He and his brothers – who all wrestled – worked hard, handling all hay bales by hand. He was no stranger to the challenges of farm work. He started as a basketball player but joined wrestling during his sophomore year – and was an immediate fixture on a very good Kerkhoven team. His disciplined mindset and dedication provided the foundation of his success, in which he qualified for the regional tournament 3 times and made the semi-finals in his senior year at 112 pounds. He graduated from high school in 1971 and went on to wrestle for Roy Minter at Willmar Community College for one year.

Wes’ passion for coaching led him to initiate the first-ever youth wrestling program in 1977 in Murdock, a town that never had the option of high school wrestling. Soon after, the consolidation of Murdock and Kerkhoven allowed him the convenience of coaching without the hassle of hauling mats back and forth. He proudly coached the grade school for 28 years, building a career record with his staff of 307 wins and 112 losses from 2000 – 2021. Together, they have coached an impressive 115 state tournament qualifiers, 49 of which reached the awards stand. He had 11 who were state champions, 7 of whom were undefeated, 10 with 150 wins, four with 200 wins, and 12 who were runners-up. Over his career, he saw 30 wrestlers achieve over 100 wins each and had 4 Division I wrestlers – three at the U of M and one at SDSU. He also notably coached his late nephew Troy, who was a State Champion for Willmar. His team made the Section Final four for 16 consecutive years, as well as the State Tournament four times. They won the state title in 2009 – especially impressive considering they were one of the smallest teams, only having 27-37 graduating seniors in the state.

Wes has been coaching at some level for 48 years, and his formula for success has not changed much. He treats each wrestler as an important part of the team, regardless of how good he/she is. He sees their potential and works very hard to instill confidence, a solid work ethic, and good sportsmanship. He is well-known and respected throughout the state and always takes time to shake hands and visit with others in the great fraternity of wrestling.

Wes has two children, Brandt and Ryanna, and five wonderful grandchildren: Blake, Lucas, Harper, Sawyer, and Harrison. He is also grateful for his loving partner, Dee, who encourages him and offers endless support.

Mike Hendrickson, Coach

Mike Hendrickson began his Varsity wrestling career for the Morris Tigers in 1977 as an eighth grader. He was coached by his father, National Hall of Fame and Dave Bartelma Hall of Farner, Alan Hendrickson. As a senior, Mike was a runner-up in the 1982 MSHSL State Tournament. He continued his wrestling career at the University of Minnesota Morris while wrestling for the late Craig Olsen. At Morris, Mike earned NAIA All-American honors in 1986. In doing so, he helped the Cougars reach their highest-ever team place at the National Tournament in Minot, ND. At UMM, Mike earned his elementary education degree and coaching certificate.

After graduation, Mike got a teaching job in Little Falls. During his 34-year teaching career there, he taught 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades. Mike coached wrestling for 34 years, football for 15 years, cross country for 15 years, and baseball for 8 years. His wife, Allison, a native of Little Falls, is also a teacher. She and Mike’s two daughters were always very supportive of his extracurricular activities. One of Mike’s greatest pleasures was coaching his daughters, Mattia and Kendal, in cross country.

At Little Falls, Mike was able to emulate two great wrestling coaches. They were Dave Bartelma Hall of Farner Bill Hubbard and Ben Bendson. The two former Head coaches were instrumental in starting and then developing a strong wrestling tradition in Little Falls. Mike took it upon himself to continue that legacy started by these two gentlemen.

Over the years Mike was fortunate to work with many great assistant coaches. They all shared in the mantra that became Flyer wrestling. “Nothing in life worth fighting for is easy. You need to earn your victories. Good things happen to people that work hard!” Coach Hendrickson’s vision for the Flyer program was to create something kids would be proud to have been involved in. He takes great pride in seeing the many former Flyer wrestlers who come back each year to the wrestling room because they miss being a part of something special. He also sees it in his coaching staff. They have been mostly Flyer alumni who chose to continue to be a part of the program. In Coach Hendrickson’s 34 years at Little Falls, he coached wrestling at all levels, including elementary, middle school, and high school. Mike was the Head coach for the last 25 years of his career. His teams recorded over 400 victories during his tenure, and they earned 3 State team appearances. Their highest finish was 4th place in 2006. Mike was named AA State Coach of the Year in 2006. Individually, he coached over 80 State entrants and 21 State medalists, including six finalists.

Currently, Mike is a wrestling official with the St. Cloud Official’s Association.

Chuck Marks, Coach

Chuck Marks attended Herman-Norcross High School, graduating from there in 1968. He was a District 21 Champion as well as a Pheasant Conference Champion in 1968. Chuck attended Fergus Falls Junior College and continued to wrestle, becoming a national qualifier at 115 lbs. Upon graduating from Fergus Falls, he continued to attend college at Moorhead State, wrestling there as a starter for one season. Chuck graduated in 1973 with a degree in Social Studies.

After finding himself in Colorado, he went back to St. Cloud State University and earned a degree in Special Education in 1977. Chuck began teaching in Belgrade in the fall of 1977, and he served as assistant wrestling coach from 1978-1980. He was the head coach in Belgrade from 1980-1988 and the head coach at BBE from 1988-2001. He attained a record of 166 -153-6. His teams produced several team conference titles, 23 state entrants, and 11 state place winners. At least a dozen of his wrestlers continued to wrestle at the college level, and several became coaches. There were also several coaches Chuck worked with who became head coaches.

Chuck stepped back into coaching after the loss of Rich Vos from 2011-2013, helping wherever he was needed. He has been a fixture at varsity and youth tournaments at BBE and has helped with the state tournament for the past 22 years. Chuck was very committed to producing not only good teams and good wrestlers, but he had the “whole child” at heart. He was considered a very good Special Education and also Social Studies teacher during his career.

Chuck’s wife’s name is Janet, and they have three grown kids (Adam, Katie, and Abby) as well as four grandkids.

Jim Richardson, Contributor

Jim attended Hayfield High School, graduating from there in 1985. Jim played football and wrestled, and he was a two-time Class A state entrant at Heavyweight, placing fourth his senior year with a season record of 28-3. That summer, he placed second in the Junior Nationals in Fargo, losing 8-8 in overtime in the finals. Jim continued his wrestling at NDSU, redshirting his freshman year, then transferred to Rochester Community College, where he was a two-time NJCAA qualifier and an All-American his second year with a fourth-place finish.

Jim continued to train with the Minnesota Strom, winning the University Greco­ Roman qualifier (now called U-23 Nationals). He placed fifth in the 1988 Greco-Roman Olympic trials. Jim continued to work on his Law Enforcement degree while training with the Kozlowski twins at the University of Minnesota. Jim coached under J Robinson at the U and also coached under Gordy Morgan at the University of St. Thomas. He later joined Paul Thein’s staff at Rochester Community College where Jim was privileged to have helped coach the NJCAA national runner-up team.

Jim qualified again for the 1992 Olympic team trials, defeating NCAA Champ Dan Severn in the process. Although he had been a six-time U.S. Open All-American in Greco­ Roman and defeated several Olympic medalists over the years, Jim fell just short of making the 1992 Olympic Greco-Roman team.

In 1999, Jim was diagnosed with cancer, having a tumor the size of a grapefruit in his chest. He worked to develop a mindset he referred to as “Mental Aerobics” and hosted a Mental Aerobics Wrestling Tournament in Rochester for several years, raising funds for the American Cancer Society. He also ran a charity golf tournament for 18 years. Jim continued to coach and train with the Storm and the U of M wrestlers, as well as two-time Div. II Champ Nick Severson from Hayfield. He won the FILA World Greco-Roman title in Quebec as well as a silver medal at the Police and Fire World Games in 2003. In 2004, Jim won the U.S. Open in Freestyle and Greco-Roman in the veteran’s division. In 2005, Jim was a Police and Fire Olympic Gold Medalist in Freestyle and Greco-Roman. Jim also served as an assistant wrestling coach in Hayfield for several years. He was named the MN Assistant Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2007. Jim served as Head Coach at GMLOS from 2014-2017. Jim was inducted into the Dave Erickson Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Region 1 Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2017.

Jim continues to train and coach. He was one of the founders of the Rochester Regional Greco-Roman Training Center, which was started in 1992 and continues to flourish today. Jim continues to coach club wrestling under his team name, “TEAM UNIT,” at a facility on his property. Jim has been the Grand Meadow Chief of Police for over 30 years. Jim’s wife is Darcy, and they have two kids, Sydney and Wyatt.

Dean Salo, Coach/Doug Salo, Coach

Dean Salo attended New York Mills High School, graduating from there in 1983. He attended Moorhead State and later graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in Education. (Dean, what subjects did you teach?) Dean was a six-time Park Region Conference Champion and a three-time Region 6 champion. Dean earned a record of 158-25-2. He was a three-time state place winner: 4th in 1981 at 126 lbs., MN Class A 138 lbs. state champion (first state champ in New York Mills) in 1982, and 2nd at 138 lbs. in 1983. He was an assistant coach at Staples High School, a Head coach in Menahga, and a Head Coach for Perham. While coaching in Perham, Dean’s teams produced seven state entrants, three place winners, and a state champion. He also spent several years coaching youth wrestling in New York Mills.

Doug Salo attended New York Mills High School, graduating from there in 1980. His wrestling record was 79-58-1. He was a two-time Park Region Conference Champion. He attended Moorhead State, graduating in 1985 with a degree in Elementary Education. Doug coached in New York Mills from 1986-1999, earning a record of 151-75-3. His teams won 18 tournament titles and 9 Park Region Conference titles. His teams produced 28 state entrants with 12 place winners and 3 state champs. He served as an assistant coach from 1999-2023. He has dedicated over 40 years to the world’s greatest sport. He has taught 5th grade for 38 years.

These two gentlemen have had a profound influence on not only New York Mills wrestlers but wrestlers in Perham, Staples, and Menagha. They gained the reputation of being absolute class acts with a strong commitment to excellence. Several of their wrestlers have given back to the sport by virtue of being coaches and/or wrestling officials. They are not boastful about accomplishments; they just work hard and continue to help develop good wrestlers and better people.

Ray Thorkildson, Coach

Ray Thorkildson attended Stephen High School, graduating in 1962. He attended Mayville State University, graduating in 1966 with a double major in Business and Physical Education.

Ray got involved with wrestling at Mayville as a sophomore, junior, and senior where he says he “didn’t do much” but came to love the sport. He began teaching Waubun, MN, in the fall of 1966 and started coaching wrestling in 1966-67 when the program was only five years old. He worked incredibly hard to make it a very well-respected program in the 1970s and 80s. He coached several state participants (25+), three of whom went on to become state champions.

Waubun-Ogema-White Earth school system was and is a small community with wrestling legacy. Ray drew kids into the program by never turning anyone away. He put on annual camps and encouraged wrestlers and staff to attend every wrestling education opportunity available. He found ways for kids to obtain equipment and created community support.

Ray’s record stands at 133-109-2. The record pales in comparison to the positive memories Ray made for kids. He taught hard work, discipline, self­ respect, and sportsmanship. He was highly thought of by area coaches and officials. One official commented that Ray’s teams were “junk-yard dog tough and well-coached.”

Ray’s involvement with coaching spanned three decades. Upon completing his coaching career, Ray picked up a whistle and began officiating, inspiring others around him to follow his lead.

Ray’s wife’s name is Carolyn (deceased), and they have two children: Jill and Blaine.

Mike Thorn, Athlete

Mike attended St. Michael-Albertville High School, graduating from there in 2006. Mike was a four-time state finalist and a three-time state champion. His high school record was 185-7. Mike was a Cadet National champion as well as a Junior All-American in Freestyle.

Mike continued wrestling at the University of Minnesota, where he was a two-time NCAA Division I All-American (7th in 2010, 3rd in 2011). Mike was considered a great team leader in both high school and college. He was also a very hard worker and an excellent technician.

Mike received the Big 10 Medal of Honor (given to one student at each Big 10 school awarded for “attaining the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work”) and was a two-time member of the NWCA All-Academic team. He was a three-time Big 10 placer, a two-time Big Ten finalist, and was the Big 10 Champion in 2010, becoming the University’s first-ever Big Ten champion at 141 lbs.)

Mike graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2011 with a degree in Business Marketing. He is currently a financial advisor with RBC Wealth Management.

He resides in St. Michael and continues to help out with STMA wrestling. His wife’s name is Andrea, and they have three kids: Molly, Jackson, and Emma.

Gary Brantl, Pioneer (started the program in Plummer, MN)

Gary Brantl attended Crookston High School, graduating in 1966. He was involved in football, wrestling, and track. He joined wrestling in 1964, when the program was only a few years old, as it started in 1960. Gary attended Mayville State Teachers College, where he studied Physical Education, Health, and Social Studies. He also wrestled for one year in college.

Upon graduating from Mayville in 1970, Gary interviewed at both Oklee and later Plummer, with Gary choosing the latter. He worked at Plummer High School for 49 years. Gary started the Plummer wrestling program in 1972. He had some very competitive teams until the numbers game caught up with them. In 1980, the Plummer program combined with Erskine, and in 1982, Plummer­ Erskine combined with Oklee and McIntosh. It was a good pairing as Plummer­ Erskine filled the upper weights, and Oklee-McIntosh filled the lower weights.

The Oklee-Plummer program had its first state champion, John Cyr (1983), and later, Darrin Tougas (1984) and Todd Bergeron (two-time state champ in 1986 and 1987) would win state titles as well.

Gary retired from the wrestling portion of his coaching duties in 1996. He coached football from 1970-2004, and he was the Athletic Director at Plummer High School for 48 years (1972-2019). Gary’s colleagues wrote that “Gary always went out of his way to help others, and his ‘easy-going’ manner made him very popular with athletes, parents, fans, and colleagues.

Today, Gary resides in Thief River Falls with his wife, Sue Ann.

Chuck Keogh, Pioneer (started the program in Waubun, MN)

Chuck Keogh attended Waubun High School, graduating in 1945. Following graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving until his discharge in 1948. Upon his military completion, he enrolled at NSDSU, where he majored in math and science.

After graduating from NDSU, Chuck moved back to Waubun, bought a farm, and started a family. In 1959 Chuck went to Moorhead State University to further his education with a teaching degree. While at MSU he took a class in wrestling taught by head coach Bill Garland. Garland told Chuck that he was tough and said he would be good at wrestling.
That sparked his interest in the sport. Upon completing his education at MSU, Chuck began his teaching career at Waubun High School.

In 1962, Chuck started the wrestling program. There was interest in the sport, and 19 students participated. Chuck had a good rapport with the kids and never turned anyone away. He constantly took wrestlers home after practices and meets, and he helped to develop not only good wrestlers but also good kids. Bob Gross from Jamestown, ND, took the program over after a couple of years, and the program continued to grow in numbers. Ray Thorkildson took the program over in 1967. Chuck continued to serve as the assistant wrestling coach until 1970, a season in which the Waubun wrestling team went undefeated.

Chuck married Carol (Susan) Johnson in 1951. They raised a family of three girls (Peggy, Lisa, and Kathy) and 2 boys (Steve and Dan). Steve placed 2nd in Region 8 at 138 lbs. in 1970, and Dan won the Region 8 title at 132 lbs. in 1973. Both of the boy’s sons also wrestled in high school. Chuck followed the Waubun-Mahnomen wrestlers closely until he passed away in May 2018 at the age of 89.

Ardell Knudsvig, Pioneer (started the program in Ada, MN)

Ardell attended Buxton High School, graduating in 1956. He later attended Concordia College and earned a degree in Science Education, graduating in 1960. Ardell began teaching in Ada in the fall of 1960. Ardell started the wrestling program in Ada, coaching there until 1975. Roger Moe took over for the duration until the program was cut in the early 1980s.

Ardell taught and coached in Crookston, MN, serving as an assistant under Rodd Olsen from 1975-1998. He also worked closely with the Crookston Fellowship of Christian Athletes, serving as an advisor from 1979-1998. Ardell served as the Head Girls’ Tennis Coach from 1982-1988, and his teams claimed three Section titles.

Ardell continued his love of learning and teaching by working with the outreach labs at the University of Minnesota-Crookston and the MN Department of Agriculture. Over his 38 years of teaching Mr. “K” as many of his students called him, believed and cared for each one of his students. He was inducted into the Crookston High School Hall of Fame in 2007. At the top of his Hall of Fame plaque it says, “Teaching is a masterful profession, we make a difference.” This characterizes Ardell. He truly cared for all of his students.

Ardell’s wife is Sandy. They have four grown kids (Fred, Sue, Jana, and Rod) and several grandkids. Ardell still resides in Crookston, MN.

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