NewsUSA WrestlingCollegeUSAW

UPDATE: St. Cloud State repeats as national champions by 1.5 points over Nebraska-Kearney at NCAA Div. II Nationals

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling, and St Cloud State Athletics

The St. Cloud State wrestling team poses with their national champion hats, shirts and trophy after winning the 2021 Div. II Nationals.NCAA Div. II National Champion St. Cloud State celebrates after its exciting win. Photo courtesy of St. Cloud State Athletics.

ST LOUIS, Mo. – Kameron Teacher of St. Cloud State won the heavyweight title to give his team a 1.5 point lead over Nebraska-Kearney and claim the team title at the 2021 NCAA Div. II Nationals. It was a third straight title for the Huskies.

Teacher defeated Weston Hunt of Colorado School of Mines, 6-5 in the last match of the night. Teacher led 5-4 after the first period, with two takedowns, and the athletes traded escapes in the final two periods. Teacher’s defense on his feet was key in the closing seconds.

St. Cloud State led by 10 points after the semifinals, but UNK, which had nine All-Americans, came back in the final round of consolations to lead by 2.5 points going into the finals.

St. Cloud had four in the gold-medal finals, and Nebraska-Kearney had none. However, St. Cloud State lost its first three finals matches, allowing UNK to hold its lead until the heavyweight match.

Rounding out the top five teams were third-place Lindenwood with 72.5 points, fourth-place West Liberty with 72 points and fifth-place McKendree with 71.5 points.

THREEPEAT: Huskies win third straight national championships
by St. Cloud State Athletics

ST. LOUIS, MO. - It was supposedly a down season for the St. Cloud State University wrestling team. The perennial power had supposedly taken a back seat. Despite completing a perfect season in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) play, the Huskies were ranked third in the final National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) rankings with just six wrestlers individuals ranked in the top-10. The University Nebraska-Kearney surged from third to first, with nine wrestlers nationally ranked in the final poll entering the Super Regional and NCAA Championship.

In the words of Michael Jordan… St. Cloud State took that personally.

The Huskies proved just how dominant they are and put the naysayers to bed in the best way possible: by winning their third consecutive NCAA Championship. After seeing the 2019-20 championship cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and falling behind 58-51.5 after the opening day of the 2020-21 competition, St. Cloud State outlasted Nebraska-Kearney, winning the national championship with 107 total points compared to the Lopers 105.5.

The Huskies did everything they needed to in Saturday's morning session, as all seven wrestlers advanced to the championship round with wins in both the semifinal and consolation semifinal matches. In fact, four of those seven qualified for the championship bout, as Garrett Vos (Bonifacius, Minn. / Waconia), Joseph Bianchini (Elk Grove Village, Ill. / Immaculate Conception), Garrett Aldrich (Albert Lea, Minn. / Albert Lea) and Kameron Teacher (Grove City, Ohio / Central Crossings) advanced with wins in their semifinal matches. Colby Njos (Anoka, Minn. / Anoka) and Devin FitzPatrick (Mahtomedi, Minn. / Mahtomedi) advanced to wrestle in the third place match, while Noah Ryan (Mantorville, Minn. / Kasson-Mantorville) battled his way to the seventh place match after a first round loss on Friday.

Right on St. Cloud State's heels, though, was Nebraska-Kearney, the No. 1 team in the nation that sent 10 wrestlers to the NCAA Championship. In fact, the two teams traded leads early and often during the opening session, with the Lopers holding a 100-96 lead after Saturday's opening session.

St. Cloud State looked to close the gap with perfect performances in the third and seventh place matches. The Huskies did just that, starting with Njos in the 157 third place match. After earning his place with a tightly contested 4-3 win in the semis, the redshirt-freshman left no doubt about his standing in the nation, as he upended No. 2 seed Dawson Combest 5-2 to win the third place match. Immediately following Njos, FitzPatrick kept the good times rolling, as he defeated No. 8 Cory Peterson by fall in 2:16 to potentially close his collegiate career with a "W".

Ryan closed the consolation finals with a pin win of his own, and he was nearly as quick as FitzPatrick. The junior downed Chris Groege at 2:17 in the first period to finish in seventh place at 197 pounds.

Still, for all St. Cloud State's success, the team could not regain the lead from Nebraska-Kearney, as the Lopers did just enough to hold a slim 105-103 lead over the Huskies entering the championship bouts. However, St. Cloud State seemingly had nothing to fret, as the team had four different wrestlers competing in the finals matches Saturday evening.

First up, at 133 pounds, was Vos, the No. 1 wrestler in the weight class for the entire 2020-21 season. The redshirt-junior had seemingly the toughest matchup of the night, as he was set to face No. 2 Tyler Warner, the defending national champion at 133 pounds. Despite a strong game plan, Vos was defeated by Warner 8-4 in the championship bout.

Even with Vos' loss, the Huskies were feeling confident, with three more wrestlers in championship matches. In fact, the very next weight class featured a St. Cloud State wrestler, as Bianchini was battling Newberry's Isiah Royal for the national championship at 141. Despite falling into a 2-0 hole just seconds in, Bianchini battled his way back into the match, evening the score 2-2 and taking a 3-2 lead at the end of the first period. The sophomore, though, suffered a takedown late in the third, resulting in a 7-6 loss by decision for Bianchini.

Down 105-103 with two championship matches to go, Aldrich came to the mat, hoping to clinch his team its third consecutive national title. The redshirt junior came up short, falling by 12-5 decision at the 149 weight class.

In the end, it all came down to Teacher. The senior came to the mat relaxed and loose, ready to win the first individual title of his impeccable career. More importantly, though, Teacher was ready to win the championship for his team. Meer seconds into the match, the senior earned a key takedown against Colorado Mines' Weston Hunt, taking a 2-1 lead early in the first period.

Teacher continued his aggressive style of play, containing Hunt and its hopes of upending the No. 1 ranked wrestler at 285. After earning an escape and another takedown, Teacher held the slimmest of leads, one point at 6-5, with a minute remaining in the third period. The seconds ticked away, far too slow for the St. Cloud State fanbase, but when the clock struck zero, Teacher was proclaimed the victor, as he clinched the national title for both himself and the Huskies with the 6-5 decision win.

Thanks to Teacher's win, St. Cloud State outpaced Nebraska-Kearney 107-105.5 to win its third consecutive national title and five in the last seven total years. Perhaps more impressive is the fact that the Huskies have won five of the last six national titles, as the 2019-20 championship was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teacher closed his season, and potentially career, with a perfect 13-0 season at 285-pounds. The senior additionally led the team in points scored at the national tournament, tallying 21.0 total over the course of the two day tournament.

FitzPatrick tallied 18.0 points over the weekend thanks to his third place finish at the 165 pound weight class. The senior closed his season with a 13-2 record and will graduate from St. Cloud State as a three-time All-American.

Vos, Bianchini and Aldrich all scored 16.0 points for the Huskies over the weekend, earning All-American honors with their second place finishes at their respective weight classes. Vos closes the season with an 11-1 record, while Bianchini closes with a 12-1 mark. Aldrich finishes the season with an 8-3 record at 149 pounds.

Njos came seemingly out of nowhere to earn 12.0 points for St. Cloud State at the NCAA Championships, as the unseeded redshirt freshman finished third at 157 pounds. Njos closes the 2020-21 season with a 10-3 record and earns All-America honors for the first time in his career.

Ryan earned All-America honors with his seventh place finish on Saturday and earned 8.0 points towards the team score. He closes the season with a 10-4 record, while Billy Pitzner's (Jefferson, Wis. / Milton) season came to a close at the national championships on Friday.

Editor's Notes:
* West Liberty opened the event with a pair of champions, as Cole Laya (125) and Tyler Warner (133) won gold medals. They were the only team to have more than one individual champion.
* Other individual champions were Isiah Royal of Newberry (141), Lukas Martin of Fairmont State (149), James Wimer of Findlay (157), Fred Green of Colorado Mesa (165), Abner Romero of Lindenwood (174), Heath Gray of Central Oklahoma (184) and Ryan Vasbinder of McKendree (197). In all, nine different teams went home with a gold-medalist.

At St. Louis, Mo.

1st Place - Cole Laya (West Liberty) 18-1, . over Nick Daggett (UNC Pembroke) 13-3, . (MD 12-2)
3rd Place - Joe Arroyo (Wis.-Parkside) 13-2, . over Christian Wellman (Ashland) 10-4, . (Dec 4-3)
5th Place - Christian Mejia (McKendree) 11-3, . over Paxton Rosen (Central Okla.) 9-3, . (Dec 7-6)
7th Place - Isaiah De La Cerda (Adams St.) 9-3, . over Trenton McManus (Minnesota St.) 10-4, . (Dec 6-2)

1st Place- Tyler Warner (West Liberty) 11-0, . over Garrett Vos (St. Cloud St.) 11-1, . (Dec 9-4)
3rd Place - Tanner Cole (Central Okla.) 8-2, . over Wesley Dawkins (Neb.-Kearney) 14-4, . (Dec 12-7)
5th Place - Patrick Allis (Western Colo.) 10-5, . over Tyler Kreith (Maryville (MO)) 8-5, . (Fall 1:56)
7th Place - Tanner Hitchcock (Lindenwood (MO)) 12-3, . over Jacob Dunlop (Gannon) 6-3, . (Dec 3-2)

1st Place - Isiah Royal (Newberry) 13-1, . over Joey Bianchini (St. Cloud St.) 12-1, . (Dec 7-6)
3rd Place - Colby Smith (Lindenwood (MO)) 12-2, . over Kelan McKenna (Notre Dame (OH)) 11-2, . (MD 10-0)
5th Place - Christian Small (King) 13-4, . over Tate Murty (Upper Iowa) 9-8, . (Dec 5-4)
7th Place - Nick James (Neb.-Kearney) 15-3, . over Branson Proudlock (Findlay) 8-5, . (Dec 9-8)

1st Place - Lukas Martin (Fairmont St.) 14-0, . over Garrett Aldrich (St. Cloud St.) 8-3, . (Dec 12-5)
3rd Place - Gavin Londoff (Lindenwood (MO)) 12-1, over Sam Turner (Neb.-Kearney) 12-5, . (SV-1 6-4)
5th Place - Carson Speelman (Ashland) 11-3, . over Noah Hermosillo (Adams St.) 9-4, . (Dec 9-6)
7th Place - Kyle Rathman (Minnesota St.) 12-2, . over Jacob Ealy (Pitt-Johnstown) 5-4, . (Dec 3-0)

1st Place - James Wimer (Findlay) 14-0, . over Ronald Gentile (Lindenwood (MO)) 12-3, . (Dec 7-3)
3rd Place - Colby Njos (St. Cloud St.) 10-3, . over Dawson Combest (Indianapolis) 12-4, . (Dec 5-2)
5th Place - Ty Lucas (Central Okla.) 11-3, . over Nick Young (Gannon) 6-4, . (Dec 9-3)
7th Place - Jacob Wasser (Neb.-Kearney) 10-3, . over Will Evans (Newberry) 11-5, . (Dec 10-8)

1st Place - Fred Green (Colorado Mesa) 10-1, . over Alex Farenchak (Gannon) 9-2, . (Dec 7-3)
3rd Place- Devin Fitzpatrick (St. Cloud St.) 13-2, . over Cory Peterson (McKendree) 9-4, . (Fall 2:16)
5th Place - Matt Malcom (Neb.-Kearney) 15-3, . over John Dean (Belmont Abbey) 13-3, . (TF-1.5 3:00 (16-0))
7th Place - Baltazar Gonzalez (American Int`l) 6-2, . over Braydon Huber (Mary) 8-6, . (MD 11-3)

1st Place - Abner Romero (Lindenwood (MO)) 12-0, . over Trevor Turriff (Minnesota St.) 11-1, . (Dec 8-2)
3rd Place - Daniel Beemer (Ashland) 11-2, . over Josh Jones (McKendree) 9-5, . (Dec 3-1)
5th Place - Andrew Sams (Indianapolis) 12-3, . over Brock Biddle (Pitt-Johnstown) 3-3, . (Dec 9-4)
7th Place - Terrell Garraway (Neb.-Kearney) 12-5, . over Noah Curreri (Queens) 13-6, . (Dec 8-1)

1st Place - Heath Gray (Central Okla.) 13-0, . over Connor Craig (West Liberty) 14-1, . (Dec 3-2)
3rd Place - Dan Fillipek (McKendree) 11-2, . over Austin Eldredge (Neb.-Kearney) 16-3, . (Dec 5-2)
5th Place - Caden Steffen (Southwest Minn. St.) 11-5, . over Bailey Kelly (Maryville (MO)) 8-4, . (Dec 10-3)
7th Place - Aidan Pasiuk (Ashland) 12-3, . over Anderson Salisbury (Colo. Sch. Of Mines) 6-3, . (Dec 7-5)

1st Place - Ryan Vasbinder (McKendree) 12-0, . over Dalton Abney (Central Okla.) 10-2, . (Dec 1-0)
3rd Place - Zach Ryg (Upper Iowa) 12-1, . over Joseph Reimers (Neb.-Kearney) 16-4, . (Dec 12-7)
5th Place - Donald Negus (Colorado Mesa) 12-3, . over Jackson Ryan (Southwest Minn. St.) 10-4, . (Dec 4-3)
7th Place - Noah Ryan (St. Cloud St.) 10-4, . over Chris Droege (Lake Erie) 10-8, . (Fall 2:17)

1st Place - Kameron Teacher (St. Cloud St.) 13-0, . over Weston Hunt (Colo. Sch. Of Mines) 8-2, . (Dec 6-5)
3rd Place - Steven Hajas (Augustana (SD)) 11-4, . over Lee Herrington (Neb.-Kearney) 12-7, . (Dec 10-4)
5th Place - AJ Cooper (Fort Hays St.) 16-4, . over Tristen Weirich (Ashland) 12-3, . (MD 8-0)
7th Place - Francesco Borsellino (West Liberty) 15-3, . over Jared Rennick (Drury) 9-3, . (Fall 1:18)

Team standings
1 St. Cloud St., 107.0
2 Neb.-Kearney, 105.5
3 Lindenwood 72.5
4 West Liberty 72.0
5 McKendree, 71.5
6 Central Okla., 65
7 Ashland 48.0
8 Colorado Mesa, 31.0
9 Gannon, PA 30.5
10 Minnesota St., 25.0
11 Newberry, 24.0
12 Findlay, 23.5
12 Upper Iowa, 23.5
14 Colo. Sch. Of Mines, 23.0
15 Indianapolis, 20.5
16 Fairmont St., 19.0
17 Southwest Minn. St., 18.5
18 Maryville 18.0
19 UNC Pembroke, 17.0
20 Notre Dame 13.5

USA Wrestling Logo Secondary Stroke

Follow us


  • Accessibility
  • Site Map
  • Terms of Use , opens in a new tab
  • Privacy Policy , opens in a new tab
  • Ombuds , opens in a new tab

© 2023 USA Wrestling. All Rights Reserved.