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!”

Concordia 33 Mary 8

Cobber All-American Seniors Cap Their Dual-Meet Careers In Style  

BISMARCK, N.D. (2/17/11) — Concordia All-American seniors Ross DankersJustin Berns and Phil Moenkedick capped their dual-meet careers in style as they helped the Cobbers cruise past the University of Mary 33-8 in the team’s final dual meet of the 2011 season. The victory is the ninth straight for CC and improves their final season record to 11-2.

The dual, which was originally schedule for last week, was decided in the final six matches of the night. After the Marauders tied the team score at 8-8, Concordia showed its mettle by winning six straight matches and rolling to a 25-point win.

Ben Presler and Daron Hohbein gave Concordia an 8-0 lead after the first two matches before Mary tied the match after the 149-lb match Presler claimed an 8-1 decision at 125 and is now 17-11 on the year. Hohbein won by technical fall at 133 and is 11-4 for the season.

The Cobber six-match barrage was started by Berns who put his opponent on his back at the 2:32 mark of his bout at 157. For Berns it was 23rd win of the season and school-record 127th career win. Berns has now won 11 straight matches and 19 of his last 20. He is currently ranked sixth in Division III and appears ready to make a run at his second straight All-American honor.

Concordia freshman Brandon Haluptzok made the most of his first-ever collegiate dual-meet start at 165. Haluptzok won 5-0 and scored all of his points in the second and third periods after a scoreless first frame.

The Cobbers’ murderer’s row of Dankers, Moenkedick, Nathan Schmitz and Tommy Bouressa put the exclamation point on the win by recording a major decision, a pin fall and two decisions in the final four bouts of the night. Dankers won 14-6 at 174. Moenkedick followed with a pin fall at 1:09 at 184 before Schmitz won 6-1 at 197 and Bouressa scored a 5-2 win at 285.

Moenkedick’s win was his team-leading 27th of the season, bringing his record to 27-1. Like Berns, Moenkedick also has 127 career wins. He has also won 20 of his matches on the year by pin fall which is a school record. The old mark of 18 was held by Barry Bennett.

Schmitz improved his season record to 21-7. He is now 52-19 in his first two seasons at Concordia. Bouressa, ranked 10th in the latest Division III poll at 285, continued his late-season tear. He has now won 16 of his last 17 matches and has outscored his opponents 64-4 in eight matches.

The Cobbers will now have a nine-day break before the NCAA Great Lakes Regional on Feb. 26 at Lakeland College in Wisc. Concordia will try and up their total of wrestlers that qualify for the NCAA National Meet. Last year they set a school record by sending four athletes to the national meet.

February 17, 2011 at Bismarck, ND

Concordia 33 Mary 8
125: Ben Pressler (CC) 8-1 dec Matt Garcia (M)
133: Daren Hohbein (CC) tech fall at 5:00 over Ryan Swelland (M)
141: Tanner Beaman (M) tech fall at 3:52 over Todd Reynolds (CC)
149: Landon DellaSilva (M) 6-1 dec Chad Mack (CC)
157: Justin Berns (CC) fall at 2:32 over Brandon DeLao (M)
165: Brandon Haluptzok (CC) 5-0 dec Shane Primeau (M)
174: Ross Dankers (CC) 14-6 maj dec Ross Edison (M)
184: Phil Moenkedick (CC)  fall at 1:09 over Brady Anderson (M)
197: Nate Schmitz (CC) 6-1 dec Kriss McCleary (M)
285: Tom Bouressa (CC) 5-2 dec Martin Patron (M)

St. Cloud State 25 MSU-Mankato 9

No. 3 Huskies Roll Over No. 8 Mavericks

ST. CLOUD, Minn. – No. 3 St. Cloud State won seven of 10 matches in a 25-9 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference win over Minnesota State University, Mankato Thursday night in Halenbeck Hall.

#2 St. Cloud State vs. #10 Minnesota State-Mankato match video – theguillotineflo.com

The Huskies celebrated senior night by ending the regular season with a 19-2 overall record, while finishing 6-1 in the conference. MSU drops to 9-5 overall and 5-2 in the NSIC with the loss.

Senior’s Westy Hanson (Crookston), Chad Kubasch (New Germany), Erik Rogness (Buffalo), Gabe Suarez (Las Vegas, Nev.) and John Sundgren (Blaine) were all honored Thursday night.

No. 8 ranked Suarez won his 141-pound match 5-4 and No. 2 Sundgren won his 157-pound match 7-1 in their final matches at Halenbeck Hall.

The Mavericks earned a close 5-4 win in the 125-pound match, before the Huskies recorded victory in the next six matches to take a commanding 19-3 lead into the final three matches.

Junior and No. 2 ranked Tad Merritt (Canby) posted the only major decision of the day with a 15-4 win in the 165-pound match. Merritt is now an impressive 30-3 on the season.

Minnesota State then recorded their second and third one-point victories of the evening with a 2-1 and 3-2 win in the 185 and 197-pound matches to bring the score to 19-9 heading into the heavyweight match.

The final match of the evening did not take long as the No. 1 ranked heavyweight in the country Jake Kahnke (Shakopee) needed just 1:57 to pin his appoint and put an exclamation point on the match.

The Huskies will now have a short break in action before competing in the NCAA Central Regional Championships on Sunday, Feb. 27 in Sioux Falls, S.D.

The championship kicks off at noon in Elmen Center on the Augustana College campus.

February 17, 2011 at St. Cloud, MN

St. Cloud State 25 MSU-Mankato 9
125: Andy Forstner (MSU) DEC Dylan Wright (SCS) 5-4
133: Eric  Ellington (SCS) DEC Paul Norgren (MSU) 3-2
141: Gabriel Suarez (SCS) DEC Robby Fisher (MSU) 5-4
149: Jacob D. Horn (SCS) DEC Jesse Westphal (MSU) 6-0
157: John Sundgren (SCS) DEC Tel Todd (MSU) 7-1
165: Tad Merritt (SCS) MD Brendan Eichmann (MSU) 15-4
174: Shamus O’Grady (SCS) DEC Ben Becker (MSU) 6-2
184: Aaron Norgren (MSU) DEC Michael Berg (SCS) 2-1
197: Pat Mahan (MSU) DEC Lucas Munkelwitz (SCS) 3-2
285: Jake  Kahnke (SCS) FALL Nathan Haynes (MSU) 1:57

Southwest Minnesota State 24 Mary 12

Mustangs Defeat U-Mary 24-12 in NSIC Dual

Bismarck, ND — The Southwest Minnesota State wrestling team defeated the University of Mary 24-12 in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference dual tonight in Bismarck. The Mustangs won six out of 10 matches to defeat the Marauders tonight. SMSU improves to 7-4-1 overall and 2-4 in conference play while the Marauders fall to 5-9, 1-6 NSIC.

The Mustangs jumped out to an early 7-0 lead after Travis Borchert (125 pounds) defeated Matt Garcia in a 3-2 decision and Justin Reinsma (133 pounds) earned a 14-0 major decision over Ryan Swelland.

U-Mary would take the 141-pound match as Tanner Beaman defeated Ethan Hildebrandt in a 4-2 decision. Southwest Minnesota State fired back to win the next two weight classes with Demond Carters 10-5 decision over Landon DellaSilva at 149 pounds and Casey Field defeated Brandon DeLao in a 6-1 decision at 157 pounds. SMSU led U-Mary 13-3 heading into the 165-pound bout.

SMSU would keep the momentum rolling at 174 pounds with Zach Coates’ earning a technical fall over Kurt Wiedrich at 6:17. The Marauders won the next two bouts at 184 pounds and 197 pounds to come within six going into the heavyweight match at 18-12.

Junior Brian Rodas would seal the victory for SMSU picking up a win by fall over Austin Woo at 4:46 of the second period. The win marked Rodas’ fifth win by fall of the season extending his record to 8-1.

Southwest Minnesota State will conclude the NSIC season tomorrow night taking on Northern State at 7 p.m. in Aberdeen, S.D.

Southwest Minnesota State 24 Mary 12
125: Travis Borchert (SMSU) 3-2 dec Matt Garcia (M)
133: Justin Reinsma (SMSU) 14-0 maj dec Ryan Swelland (M)
141: Tanner Beaman (M) 4-2 dec Ethan Hildebrandt (SMSU)
149: Demond Carter (SMSU) 10-5 dec Landon DellaSilva (M)
157: Casey Field (SMSU) 6-1 dec Brandon DeLao (M)
165: Taylor Nagel (M) 6-3 dec Billy Fate (SMSU)
174: Zach Coates (SMSU) tech fall at 6:17 over Kurt Wiedrich (M).
184: Brady Anderson (M) 6-4 dec CD Johnson (SMSU)
197: Kriss McCleary (M) 6-3 dec Eric Berdahl (SMSU)
285: Brian Rodas (SMSU) fall 4:46 over Austin Woo (M)