Augsburg 30, UW-Stevens Point 7

Auggies dominate in 30-7 win

STEVENS POINT, Wis. — Scoring wins in eight of the 10 bouts, including three by major decision, the No. 3-ranked Augsburg College wrestling team dominated in a 30-7 win over the No. 18-ranked University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in a dual meet on Friday evening at Berg Gym.

Augsburg closed its regular season with an 8-5-1 record. Against opponents from Divisions II and III, Augsburg is now 257-26-1 in dual meets since the 1989-90 season. Augsburg has lost just 21 matches to non-Division I opponents since the 1995-96 season. Against strictly NCAA Division III opponents, Augsburg is 257-26-1 since the 1979-80 season. Since the 1989-90 season, Augsburg is 181-16-1 against Division III opponents.

Four Auggie ranked wrestlers scored wins, including a dominating performance by No. 5-ranked 149-pounder Tony Valek (JR, Belle Plaine, Minn./Scott West), who improved to 31-4 on the season with a 10-1, major-decision triumph over No. 9-ranked Kris Magruder. A two-time national tournament qualifier and last year’s national runner-up at 141, Valek is now 96-22 in his Auggie career.

At 174, No. 3-ranked Zach Molitor (JR, Cambridge, Minn./Cambridge-Isanti HS) improved to 21-3 on the season with a 10-1, major-decision win over Ryan Conant. Molitor is now 102-30 in his collegiate wrestling career, including an 84-17 record in three seasons at Augsburg.

No. 2-ranked Jared Massey (SR, Circle Pines, Minn./Centennial HS) scored a 9-5 win over Chad Gregory at 197, improving to 13-1 on the season and 72-3 in his three seasons at Augsburg. A two-time All-American and national champion in 2009, Massey is now 77-5 in his collegiate wrestling career.

Orlando Ponce (JR, Hialeah, Fla./Hialeah-Miami Lakes HS), who recently moved from 165 to 157 pounds, improved to 27-5 on the year with a 12-6 win over Kory Kleuskens. Ponce, an All-American and two-time national qualifier now ranked No. 4 nationally at 157, is now 83-29 in his Auggie career.

Will Keeter (FY, Twin Falls, Idaho) also scored a major-decision win for the Auggies, a 14-5 win over Shane Sweeney, enabling Keeter to improve to 23-16 on the season. Brandon Bahr (JR, Bemidji, Minn.) improved to 29-13 on the year with an 8-3 win over Jordan Schulte at 165.

Chad Johnson (FY, Ferryville, Wis./De Soto HS) improved to 24-8 with a 5-4, overtime win over Matt Cudara at heavyweight, and Ky Olsen (SR, Kansasville, Wis./Westosha Central HS) scored a forfeit win at heavyweight.

At 184, Wisconsin-Stevens Point two-time All-American and No. 2-ranked Ben Engelland scored a 10-1, major-decision win over Augsburg’s No. 6-ranked Brad Baus (JR, Mukwonago, Wis.). The Pointers’ other win came at 133, as Jordan Kust edged Boyd Suparat (SO, North Branch, Minn.) 7-6.

Augsburg is now idle until Saturday, Feb. 26, when the Auggies compete at the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional at Lakeland College in Sheboygan, Wis., where 29 wrestlers will qualify from the region for the NCAA Division III national championships. Augsburg has won the regional each of the eight previous years since joining the Great Lakes Region in 2003.

Friday, Feb. 18, 2010, Berg Gym, Stevens Point, Wis.
Action begins at 174 pounds

No. 3 Augsburg (Minn., 8-5-1) 30, No. 18 Wisconsin-Stevens Point (9-9-0) 7
174 — No. 3 Zach Molitor (AUG, 21-3) maj. dec. Ryan Conant (UWSP) 10-1 (Augsburg 4-0)
184 — 
No. 2 Ben Engelland (UWSP) maj. dec. No. 6 Brad Baus (AUG, 26-10) 10-1 (TIED 4-4)
197 — 
No. 2 Jared Massey (AUG, 13-1) dec. Chad Gregory (UWSP) 9-5 (Augsburg 7-4)
Hwt — 
Chad Johnson (AUG, 24-8) dec. Matt Cuadra (UWSP) 5-4 (SV-OT) (Augsburg 10-4)
125 — Ky Olsen (AUG, 9-14) wins by forfeit (Augsburg 16-4)
133 — 
Jordan Kust (UWSP) dec. Boyd Suparat (AUG, 19-13) 7-6 (Augsburg 16-7)
141 — 
Will Keeter (AUG, 23-16) maj. dec. Shane Sweeney (UWSP) 14-5 (Augsburg 20-7)
149 — 
No. 5 Tony Valek (AUG, 31-4) maj. dec. No. 9 Kris Magruder (UWSP) 10-1 (Augsburg 24-7)
157 — 
No. 4 Orlando Ponce (AUG, 27-5) dec. Kory Kleuskens (UWSP) 12-6 (Augsburg 27-7)
165 — 
Brandon Bahr (AUG, 29-13) dec. Jordan Schulte (UWSP) 8-3 (Augsburg 30-7)

Southwest Minnesota State 23 Northern State 15

SMSU Defeats Northern State in Final NSIC Dual of Season

Aberdeen, SD – The Southwest Minnesota State wrestling team finished the regular season with a 23-15 win over Northern State on Friday night in Aberdeen. The Mustangs won six out of 10 bouts to take the dual. SMSU  improves to 8-4-1 overall and 3-4 in the NSIC standings while Northern State falls to 3-10-1, 0-7 NSIC.

SMSU took an early lead with a win at 125 pounds when Travis Borchert defeated Corbin Surat in a 3-1 decision. Justin Reinsma gave SMSU a 6-0 lead by defeating Ian Muirhead at 133 pounds in a 7-5 decision.

Northern State would take the 141-pound bout before Demond Carter extended SMSU’s lead to 9-1 with a 3-1 decision over Beau Voegeli at 149 pounds.

Billy Fate earned a 9-4 decision over Neil Sell at 165 pounds and Zach Coates won the 174-pound match earning a 9-4 decision. CD Johnson was defeated for the second straight day falling to Cale Cornemann at 3:30 at 184 pounds.

Martin Hagen grabbed the 197-pound bout with a win by fall at 2:33 over Baker Haar before Matthew Meuleners decisioned Brian Rodas 3-1, giving Rodas just his second loss of the season.

Next up for the Mustangs will be the Super Region Three Tournament which will be held Feb. 27 at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Southwest Minnesota State 23 Northern State 15
125: Travis Borchert (SMS) DEC Surat, Corbin (NS) 3-1
133: Justin Reinsma (SMS) DEC Muirhead, Ian (NS) 7-5
141: Crow, Benton (NS) DEC Ethan Hildebrandt (SMS) 3-1
149: Demond Carter (SMS) MD Voegeli, Beau (NS) 14-4
157: Lundgren, Blake (NS) DEC Casey Field (SMS) 5-3
165: William Fate (SMS) DEC Sell, Neil (NS) 9-4
174: Zachary Coates (SMS) MD Gibson, Chad (NS) 9-0
184: Cornemann, Cale (NS) FALL Craig Draper-Johnson (SMS) 3:30
197: Martin Hagen (SMS) FALL Haar, Baker (NS) 2:33
285: Meuleners, Matthew (NS) DEC Brian Rodas (SMS) 3-1

Utah Valley 40 South Dakota State 6

Brookings, SD – The South Dakota State wrestling team wrapped up the season with a 40-6 loss to Utah Valley on senior night in Western Wrestling Conference wrestling at Frost Arena, Friday.

In the final dual of his career, the Jackrabbit’s lone senior Kevin Kelly put the only points on the board with a win by forfeit at the 285-pound weight class.

The Jacks, who end the regular season with a 1-13-1 record, including 0-6 in the WWC, have a week off before they head to the NCAA West Regional in Colorado Springs, Colo., March 6.

Utah Valley 40 South Dakota State 6
157: Richard Winger (UVU) dec. Nick Flynn, 11-6
165: Jeb Clark (UVU) def. John Nething II by fall, 5:27
174: Brad Darrington (UVU) major dec. Rex Lyon, 10-2
184: Casen Eldredge (UVU) major dec. Joe Rasmussen, 8-0
197: Trevor Rupp (UVU) major dec. Cord Willers, 15-3
285: Kevin Kelly (SDSU) won by forfeit
125: No. 13 Ben Kjar (UVU) won by forfeit
133: No. 13 Flint Ray (UVU) won by forfeit
141: Justin Morrill (UVU) major dec. Tyler Johnson, 13-0
149: Josh Wilson (UVU) dec. Andrew Youngblom, 2-1
Exhibition Match: 149 lbs – Avery Garner (UVU) dec. Jimmy Hamilton, 11-4

Pride of Perham

Phil Moenkedick and Justin Berns

Teammates since high school in Perham, Minn., Justin Berns ‘11 and Phil Moenkedick ‘11 are the catalysts of Concordia’s rise to prominence in NCAA Division III wrestling.

They have both won a record 126 matches and counting as Cobbers, both are All-Americans and while Moenkedick is the defending national champion at 184-pounds, Berns hopes to surpass his national tournament seventh place finish at 149-pounds.

“This year, our whole team might qualify for nationals,” says Moenkedick. “It’s not out of the question. We have the talent here.”

That’s not a boast from one of the soft-spoken, dominating duo. It’s a prediction based on the confidence they have attained as winners on the mat.

“Our senior class has been responsible for elevating the program,” says Berns. “And now the underclassmen look up to us as role models and leaders. For Phil and me, it’s all about our team.”

Berns chose to wrestle at Concordia after coaching legend Clay Nagel was hired to re-build the Cobber program. Moenkedick, who has a brother wrestling at North Dakota State, chose the Cobbers over the Bison so he could also pitch for the baseball team.

“We never talked about where we’d go to college,” says Berns. “We both came here for different reasons and we’ve always felt real comfortable here. We’ve made huge strides as wrestlers at Concordia.”

Both downplay their record-setting string of victories as individual accomplishments.

“We’ve learned so much about wrestling in our four years. The intensity level is so much higher than in high school,” says Moenkedick.  “The wins aren’t as important to us as being able to perform at a high level and maintain our focus.”

Along with the national tournament, both say their career highlight was defeating three MIAC opponents before their hometown fans in Perham.

“That was so much fun,” says Moenkedick. “It’s the biggest crowd and best atmosphere we’ve ever wrestled in front of. It was great to have our hometown fans share those victories with us.”

MSU-Moorhead Seniors Bid Nemzek Fieldhouse Farewell

MOORHEAD, Minn. – Every season fans are reminded about commitment and perseverance. In collegiate sports, that happens on senior night. And for four seniors on the Minnesota State University Moorhead Dragons wrestling team, it’s their last chance to make an impression on the Dragon Nation.

For second year Head Coach Kris Nelson, who came to the Dragons after a stint as an assistant coach for North Dakota State, the knowledge of these wrestlers came long before he was asked to be the helm of Dragons’ wrestling. Coach Nelson was eager to share his thoughts about his seniors and their impact on Dragons’ wrestling.

After a brutal schedule had not steered the Dragons away from postseason success in 2009-10, Coach Nelson turned his sights on a full season with his new team and a lineup he could call his own.

“I was very comfortable with the senior class I had coming in with Brady Schneeberger as the returning regional champ, Tallen Wald as a 2009 national qualifier and captain, Evan Forde who had a full year of varsity experience under his belt and HWT Jon Swart getting to give 100% to wrestling now that he was done with football,” Nelson said. “I feel all these wrestlers have the ability to be national qualifiers and All-Americans when they are wrestling at their best.”

One thing each senior shares with one another is facing the best wrestlers in the upper midwest year after year. The mental and physical toll each wrestler has paid has meant a great deal to Nelson.

“It is great to see student athletes follow through with the commitment they made to be part of a program,” Nelson said. “Many times juggling academics and athletics gets to be too much and the individual begins to struggle in one area either athletically or academically and these four seniors have done a great job of balancing the two.”

“They are all very dedicated and committed to the sport of wrestling and it is very nice to see them all make it five years. Wrestling can become a real grind both physically and mentally and these four have continued to work hard day in and day out in the room to reach their goals. “

On any given night, each senior has sometimes less than seven minutes to show the fans how hard the hours of practice, weight-lifting and studying of opponents has paid off. While the fans watch intensely, or for Jon Swart‘s mother Cathy Swart very intensely, they see the product while Nelson see’s the end result of what so often goes unnoticed.

“What goes unnoticed is the hard work they put in everyday in the room and also staying on top of their diet plan, well besides Jon,” Nelson said. “These four lead by example and are also helping groom the younger wrestlers for their days when they become the starters.  Outside of wrestling these four do a great job of getting the team together for outings and keeping the team comrade close.”

Among some of the unnoticed things fans don’t see is the personal struggles each wrestler faces on and off the mat. Nelson believes a big strength of this team is the support they give each other, especially this senior class.

“The nice thing about having seniors is that more than likely they have been through a similar situation or help deal with a similar situation that someone may be going through,” Nelson said. When asked what the toughest thing to replace about these four seniors, Nelson summed it all up in one word, experience.

“These seniors have all been in their starting position for two to four years and that will be hard to replace,” Nelson said. “Competing is the best way to get better at a sport and find out what your strengths and weaknesses are and all these seniors have wrestled in a lot of tournaments and dual competitions.  We will be looking to see which of our younger wrestlers will step up and try and make a name for themselves.”


As a group there is no denying the impact of these seniors as a whole, but each wrestler in their own right has left his mark on an already historic wrestling program. Evan Forde is probably most known around the program for his leadership style, a style that makes coaching that much easier.

“Evan does a great job of keeping the team relaxed but at the same time is serious when it gets down to match time, Nelson said. “Evan is a very hard worker who is always looking to get better technically and does a great job of coaching and teaching the technique he knows onto the other wrestlers on the team. The team refers to Evan as Grandpa Forde.”

“I do not probably know all the reasons why they call him that, but I am sure some of them have to do with being a senior and having all the experience that he has not only had on the mat but off the mat. Some of the guys kid about how Evan is always giving advice and looking out for their well being.  Evan is very easy for the wrestlers to talk with and for us coaches to talk with and he has been real fun to coach for the two years I have been with him.”

For each person who has gotten to know Evan, there are two who know his dad, Lynn. Both are known for making themselves heard, which for Nelson comes as no surprise.
“Doesn’t surprise me at all,” Nelson said. “Looking back on Evan’s career and watching him in high school he was even very vocal then. Evan could same day be a great coach if he decides to go in that direction, but I could see him getting a lot of warnings from the referee if he decides to go that route. Like Father like Son.”

Last year’s NCAA Super-III Regional saw nine of the 10 No. 1 seed’s claim the top spot, while Brady Schneeberger shocked many spectators as the No. 6 seed when he won the 141 pound championship.

“He wrestled hard and never gave up in any of his matches in last years regional tournament,” Nelson said. “He continued to put points on the scoreboard and never stalled or coasted in any of his matches. Brady went into the tournament last year unseeded and showed that seeds do not matter. He knows that whoever steps out on the mat against him he needs to beat in order to be the regional champ, you are going to have to beat a tough guy somewhere along in the tournament and it doesn’t matter to Brady if it is in the first round or in the finals.”

After becoming the champion, pinning the eventual national champion in the finals, Nelson spared no words in backing his champion.

“Brady has the ability to beat anyone in Division II wrestling when he is at his best,” Nelson said. “I have told the wrestlers all season long that the regional and national tournament is what matters most and that the season isn’t measured by the how you start but is by how you finish. Brady proved last year that he is a gamer and I see him doing it again this year!”

Nelson has remarked that keeping Schneeberger out of the lineup when he was less than 100 percent was his most difficult decision, but Nelson still notes it was harder on the Elbow Lake native.

“It has been really hard keeping Brady out of the lineup, not only has it been hard on us as coaches and teammates but it has been a lot harder on Brady,” Nelson said. “Brady is a competitor and is a dangerous wrestler, and wherever he ends up seeded in the regional tournament I have full confidence in him.”

With out a doubt, the one wrestler opponents, fans, coaches, spectators, officials and statisticians all have to keep their eyes on is Tallen Wald. Wald has what some may call a “controlled frenzy” style, a style that has grown on Nelson.

“Tallen is a brawler and I always know that he is going to be very physical when he steps out on the mat,” Nelson said. “Him and I have had a few occasions where we were not seeing eye to eye about being a little too physical on the mat. There have been times where I have told him to cool it but as a coach you want your wrestlers to be intense and have a presence and that is something Tallen definitely has.”

“Tallen is the guy that if you were in trouble you would want him in your corner or on your side. Off the mat Tallen is a pretty laid back guy in the two years I have known him.” It is clear when Tallen speaks, people listen. One reason Tallen is a captain and he is not afraid to call out teammates if they are not working hard and doing their part to make the program better.
Tallen has shown that anything can and will happen. Wald showed last year that when opponents are not allowed to slow up, he can handle anyone, which led him to the national tournament in 2009.

Of the seniors, the comeback story belongs to Jon Swart. Swart made a name for himself as a four year football standout. While he gained recognition on the field, on the mat he suffered for it, going 3-15 last year at 197 pounds. Nelson knows that this year Swart has shown how perseverance pays off.

“I think having Jon wrestle at 197 last year was a coaching mistake and that heavyweight is a much better weight class for Jon’s style,” Nelson said. “Instead of struggling to maintain his weight this year Jon has been able to concentrate on getting better at technique and concentrate on wrestling. Jon is very athletic and well conditioned and as a wrestler he wins a lot of matches on his conditioning alone.”

Conditioning pays off, especially when fans are treated to Jon’s matches, which on occasion have been known to need more than the standard seven minutes. Nelson has preached to wrestlers to score early and often, while Swart prefers the end. For Nelson, it’s a style that has made him uneasy at times.

“Jon has got most of his takedowns in the 3rd period or in OT this year, which has really provided the crowd with some exciting, matches but drove me nuts,” Nelson said. Swart has taken on the best that Division-II has to offer, going toe to toe with the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked heavyweights in the nation.

For these wrestlers, Senior Night is more than hearing their name called or handing flowers to parents, it’s a chance to show once more what they are made of. For Coach Nelson, it’s a chance to recognize one final time his appreciation for all they have done.

“These four seniors have been great to coach and I hope they finish off their careers feeling good about everything they accomplished,” Nelson said. “I hope they have been working their hardest and can look back on their senior season and not have any regrets and wish they would have set more goals or been more dedicated.”

“Something I always tell the freshmen is that college goes by pretty quick and you need to take advantage of every opportunity you are given. Most people are done with sports after high school and not given the opportunity to compete in college if you are one of the lucky ones who have been given that opportunity you need to take advantage of it and do the best job you can. I hope these seniors feel that they did the best job they could do and the only person that knows that for sure is themselves.”

“I believe these seniors will always be supporters of the program and hope to continue seeing them in the future at duals, regional tournaments and national tournaments. The sport isn’t always about winning and losing but making memories, creating relationships with families, teammates, fans and opposing wrestlers that will last a lifetime.  If you can win and do this then you will really have fun!”