Huskies No. 3 After First Day: Sundrgren, O’Grady & Kahnke Advance to Semifinals

KEARNEY, Neb. – The No. 2 ranked St. Cloud State University wrestling squad finished the first day of the NCAA Division II Championships in third place, as three wrestlers earned trips to the semifinal championship round of the tournament Friday evening at the University of Nebraska-Kearney Health and Sports Center.

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St. Cloud State Wins 2011 NCAA Regional Championship

Sioux Falls, S.D. – The St. Cloud State University wrestling team (19-2) captured first place honors at the 2011 NCAA Division III Super Regional #3 on Sunday, Feb. 27. SCSU tallied 131.0 team points, which edged second place Augustana (120.0 points) – the defending regional champion.

Final Results

SCSU head coach Steve Costanzo was named the Super Regional #3 Coach of the Year and sophomore Shamus O’Grady (Coon Rapids) was named the Super Regional #3 MVP for his first place finish at 174-pounds.

The Huskies gained the top spot thanks to three first place finishes at the Regional. SCSU’s first title was scored by junior Tad Merritt (Canby), who won the championship with a 4-2 decision over Gavin Nelson of Augustana in the title bout at 165-pounds. Merritt was the top seeded wrestler and was ranked #2 in the latest DII poll.

O’Grady added SCSU’s second title of the tournament with a 13-3 major decision over Minnesota State’s Ben Becker in the championship bout at 174-pounds. O’Grady entered the tournament as the #5 seed and advanced to the title match with a 10-7 decision over the nation’s #1 ranked wrestler Luke Rynish of UW-Parkside in the semi-finals.

The Huskies triple crown of champions was topped by sophomore Jake Kahnke (Shakopee/Prior Lake H.S.), who ended his run in the 285-pound bracket with a 6-4 victory over Matt Meuleners of Northern State in the title match. This match feature the nation’s top two ranked 285-pound wrestlers (#1 Kahnke and #2 Meuleners).

All three of the SCSU champions will now advance to the 2011 NCAA Division II championships, which will be held in Kearney, Neb. on March 11-12.

The trio will be joined at the NCAA championships by five other Huskies in 2011. This group includes junior Eric Ellington (Fairview Heights, Ill./East St. Louis H.S.) at 133-pounds, senior Gabe Suarez (Las Vegas, Nev./Cimarron H.S.) at 141-pounds, sophomore Jacob D. Horn (Ephrata, Wash.) at 149-pounds, senior John Sundgren (Blaine) at 157-pounds and junior Luke Munkelwitz (Forest Lake) at 197-pounds.

Ellington punched his ticket to nationals with a second place finish at 133-pounds. In the title match, Ellington lost a close 3-1 decision against UW-Parkside’s Cody Zimmerman. A transfer from Rend Lake C.C. this season, Ellington will be making his first trip to the NCAA nationals this winter.

At 141-pounds, Suarez gained his fourth consecutive trip to nationals with a third place finish at the regional. In the bout for third place, Suarez scored a big 4-3 decision against MSU Moorhead’s Brady Scheenberger. Of note, Suarez was ranked #8 in the latest DII poll and Scheenberger was ranked #3.

At 149-pounds, Horn lost a close 4-3 decision against Nate Herda of Augustana in the semi-finals before coming back to win the third place match by a 4-1 decision over Jesse Westphal of Minnesota State. This is Horn’s first NCAA bid.

At 157-pounds, Sundgren also earned his 4th trip to nationals with a second place finish at the regional. In the title match, Sundgren lost a tough 9-6 decision to Dillon Bera of UW-Parkside.

At 197-pounds, Munkelwitz gained his 3rd bid to nationals with a fourth place finish.

This marks the top finish at the regional for SCSU during the Costanzo era, as the Huskies have finished in second place in 2010 and 2009. SCSU will be looking forward to the upcoming NCAA championships with hopes of improving on the Huskies’ 7th place finish at the 2010 championships.

#3 St. Cloud State Headed to NCAA Regional on Feb. 27

The Tournament:

Feb. 27 – NCAA Division II Super Three Regional @ Sioux Falls, S.D. – 10 a.m.

Regional Website:


  • #3 St. Cloud State University (19-2, 6-1 NSIC) will open postseason action on Feb. 27 with a trip to Sioux Falls, S.D. for the 2011 NCAA Division II Super Region Three tournament.  The tournament will be hosted by Augustana College.  This tournament serves as the qualifier for the upcoming NCAA Division II championships, which will be held on March 11-12 in Kearney, Neb.  The top four wrestlers from each weight bracket at the regional will gain bids to the NCAA nationals.
  • REGIONAL WEBSITE!  For complete information about the upcoming Regional, please check out the Regional Website.  This site provides links to video streaming, stats, ticket information, etc.
  • The Huskies completed their dual season on Feb. 17 with a big 25-9 victory over NSIC rival Minnesota State in Halenbeck Hall.  This match was Senior Night, and it featured a salute to the Husky Seniors: Westy Hanson, Chad Kubasch, Erik Rogness, Gabe Suarez and John Sundgren.
  • The 19 wins is a team record for most dual wins in a season for the Huskies.  The old record of 16 wins in a season was set in 1970-71 by the Huskies under the leadership of coach John Oxton.  Against MSU, the Huskies collected important wins from Eric Ellington (133), Gabe Suarez (141), Jacob D. Horn (149), John Sundgren (157), Tad Merritt (165), Shamus O’Grady (174) and Jacob Kahnke (285).
  • The Huskies were ranked #3 in the latest DII Coaches’ Poll behind Nebraska Omaha. Here is a rundown of SCSU’s nationally ranked wrestlers in 2010-11:  Gabe Suarez (#8 at 141-pounds), Jacob D. Horn (#6 at 149-pounds), John Sundgren (#2 at 157-pounds), Tad Merritt (#2 at 165-pounds), Luke Munkelwitz (#6 at 197-pounds) and Jake Kahnke (#1 at 285-pounds).  The poll was released on Feb. 16.
  • Junior Tad Merritt continues to lead the Huskies this season with 31 victories (31-3) and 12 pins. Merritt is ranked #2 in the nation. Of note, the team record for wins in a season is 38.
  • SCSU grapplers in the 20 win club this winter include Jacob D. Horn (21-8), Jacob R. Horn (23-11). Jacob Kahnke (23-1), Shamus O’Grady (24-7) and Gabe Suarez (22-7).
  • The Huskies have already shattered the team’s dual match point record for a season.  SCSU has 599 points in dual matches this season, which breaks the old team record of 515 points set in 2009-10.  In contrast, SCSU has allowed only 164 dual match points this winter.  SCSU set a team record by allowing just 7.81 points per dual match this season.  The old team record of 8.06 points allowed per dual match was set in 1963-64.
  • SCSU placed 3rd at the 2011 NWCA Division II National Duals on Jan. 8-9.  The third place finish is the best in team history for the Huskies at the DII National Duals.
  • The St. Cloud State University wrestling team (14-7, 5-2 NSIC/3rd) captured 7th place at the 2010 NCAA Division II wrestling championships on March 12-13, in Omaha, Neb.  This marks the Huskies best NCAA finish since capturing 7th place in 1983.  This also marked the best finish for the Huskies at the NCAA tournament since Steve Costanzo took over as head coach in 2006-07.  This marked the 8th time since 1975 that SCSU has charted a top-10 place at the NCAA championships.  The 7th place finish is the best ever for the Huskies at the NCAA DII level. SCSU placed eighth at the nationals in 2009, 1986 and 1976.  SCSU also placed third at nationals during the 1963 and 1965 seasons as an NAIA affiliate.
  • The Huskies qualified 8 wrestlers for the NCAA championships in 2010.  SCSU wrestlers earning All-America status at the meet were Jacob Kahnke (4th place at 285), Tad Merritt (5th place at 165), Shamus O’Grady (6th place at 174) and Gabe Suarez (8th place at 141).  The 4 All-Americans ties a team record for the Huskies, as SCSU also brought home 4 All-America honors in 1983 and 1975.
  • The Huskies will have two major targets on the wrestling room wall this season.  First up is the 2011 NCAA Regional championships on Feb. 27 in Sioux Falls, S.D.  This tournament serves as a qualifier for the other big date – March 11-12, which is the 2011 NCAA DII championships.

St. Cloud State Wrestling Headed to Regional on Feb. 27

The #3 St. Cloud State University wrestling team, which just finished its 2010-11 season with a 19-2 dual match record will begin post-season competiton with action at the 2011 NCAA Division II Super Regional Three tournament on Feb. 27.

The Regional will be held at the Elmen Center on the campus of Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D.  Action gets underway with the doors opening at 9 a.m. and the first round starting at 10 a.m.  The championship round of the Regional Tournament is slated to begin around 7 p.m. on Feb. 27.

Tickets for this event are $7, $5 for students and seniors and free for five and under.  The tickets for the tournament can be purchased at the gate.

Teams slated to compete at the Regional include St. Cloud State, Augustana, Minnesota State, Minnesota State-Moorhead, Southwest Minnesota State, Upper Iowa, Mary, Northern State, Newman, Indianapolis and UW-Parkside.

The Huskies are currently ranked #3 in the nation, while host Augustana is ranked #2 in the nation.  In 2010, the Huskies placed second at the Regional tournament behind champion Augustana.  At the 2010 NCAA Division II championships, SCSU posted a seventh place finish and advanced eight wrestlers out of the regional to the national championships.

SCSU wrestlers currently ranked among the nation’s top NCAA Division II athletes include Jake Kahnke (#1/285 pounds), Tad Merritt (#2/165-pounds), John Sundgren (#2/157-pounds), Jacob D. Horn (#6/149-pounds), Lucas Munkelwitz (#6/197-pounds) and Gabe Suarez (#8/141-pounds).

Of note, the top four wrestlers from each weight bracket gain a bid to the 2011 NCAA Division II championships that will be held in Kearney, Neb. on March 11-12.

2011 NCAA Division II Super Regional Three Home Page