Sometimes, it seems like Northern State produces as many small business owners as teachers/coaches.
Especially farmers. Many successful farmers in this region have NSU degrees in their toolboxes.
Take two-time national wrestling champion, 2016 Olympic hopeful and NSU senior Matt Meuleners for example: “I plan to eventually return home (Young America, Minn.) and help my dad and brother farm.” Or take 2012 high school wrestling champion, Faulkton senior and this fall’s incoming NSU freshman football recruit Robbie Aesoph as another example: “I love life on the farm. After college, I am coming back to farm. Definitely, 100 percent. The farm is a great place to be, and I love being outside working, whether it be working cattle or throwing square bales. It is just what I like to do for fun.”
One exits, another enters. That is life on a college campus.
After he graduates May 4, Meuleners will leave behind a legacy in wrestling. But that is pretty normal for NSU heavyweights like 2004 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference wrestler of the year and All-American Baron Blanchard.
Other Wolves heavyweights who were NSIC champions: Jason Hulshof (2000), Frank Birch (1996), Rob Lewis (1995) and Chris Lund (1983). There have been plenty of great NSU big men as well, like David Mohn (second in NSIC in 1996). And guys like Jim Fryer and Ken Fouts won a lot of matches for the Wolves in the 1980s, as did Curt Niederbaumer (a national runner-up) in the 1970s.
Want a NSU heavyweight historic moment? In 1985, NSU wrestling coach Fran Hummel had in his wrestling room Fryer (third in the nation in 1984), Fouts, Toby Eaton (former State A heavyweight high school champion from Mitchell), Brian Skaff (former State B heavyweight high school champion from Salem), Rich Eggsgaard of Dell Rapids and Larry Belcher of Coal City, Ill. Eaton and Skaff went down in weight for the Wolves while Hummel joked to the American News at the time: “We need a different room just for our heavyweights.”
Boy, did this column take a turn. What I have been meaning to tell you is that Meuleners developed a collegiate rivalry with St. Cloud State senior heavyweight wrestler Jacob Kahnke. Here are is a brief resumé of both wrestlers:
Kahnke: Four-time All-American, two-time national runner-up, third in 2013, 118 career wins.
Meuleners: Four-time All-American, two-time national champion, second in 2013, 145 career wins.
Meuleners went 2-4 against Kahnke during his college career:
Feb. 24: Kahnke defeated Meuleners 3-1 in overtime in the 285 championship of the Super Regional Three Tournament.
March 10, 2012: Meuleners defeated Kahnke 3-1 in overtime for the 285-pound NCAA Division II national championship.
Nov. 6, 2011: Kahnke defeated Meuleners 8-3 to win the 285 championship at the South Dakota State tourney.
March 12, 2011: Meuleners scored a takedown with 10 seconds left in the match to defeat Kahnke 4-3 for the 285 NCAA Division II national championship.
Feb. 27, 2011: Kahnke defeated Meuleners 6-4 in the 285 championship of the Super Regional Three.
Feb. 4, 2011: Kahnke defeated Meuleners 5-4 in the St. Cloud tourney.
The two grew up 32 miles apart in Minnesota, Meuleners in Norwood Young America and Kahnke in Shakopee. They wrestled each other as youth wrestlers, but not in high school because their schools were in different divisions.
Plus, Meuleners said, “His dad and uncle own a tree farm about five miles from our farm. So we see them around.”
That all adds up to one special rivalry, right?
Not in Meuleners’ mind.
“We know each other, but not that well,” Meuleners said. “It just seemed like we wrestled in big matches, but I didn’t think of him as some kind of big rival of mine. He is a good wrestler, and the few times I have talked to him, he seemed like nice kid.”
Like deceased radio icon Paul Harvey used to say, “And that's the rest of the story.”
John Papendick is the managing news-sports editor for the American News: firstname.lastname@example.org.