Turriff and Mason place first at NCAA National Championship

Two Minnesota State wrestlers headed to St. Louis this past weekend to compete in the 2022 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships. 

Senior Trevor Turriff and junior Darrell Mason made the trek to Missouri, coming back as national champions. Turriff claimed the national title at 174 pounds while Mason claimed the national title at 285 pounds. 

Turriff came in seeded fourth in the 174 pound division, winning his first match by a major decision 11-3 over Pitt-Johnstown’s Brock Biddle. He then moved on to fifth seeded Ty McGeary of West Liberty, where he won 7-2 before winning in sudden victory over No. 1 seeded Austin Eldirdge of Nebraska-Kearney 9-7 in the semifinals. 

With the win, Turriff advanced to the 174 pound championship for the second straight time to face third seeded Andrew Sams of Indianapolis. No. 4 Turriff would eventually claim his first national title by a 3-2 decision over Sams, claiming All-American honors for the second year.

A few weight classes later, it was Mason’s turn to claim the national title. 

Mason came into the tournament seeded second in the 285 pound weight class, and he started off the tournament with a 5-2 decision over Gannon’s Freddie Nixon. Mason then dualed AJ Cooper of Fort Hays State, who upset seventh seeded Jacob Robb of Mercyhurst the prior round. 

Mason claimed an 8-4 win over Cooper, claiming a spot in the semifinals. He then got his shot at No. 3 Central Oklahoma’s Shawn Streck, defeating Streck by a 3-2 decision to advance to the championship dual. 

Mason would have to defeat reigning national champion Andrew Dunn of Kutztown in the final, and he did just that, claiming a 5-3 decision over Dunn for his first national title at 285 pounds. WIth the win, Mason finished the season undefeated at 22-0 while also claiming All-American honors and the Outstanding Wrestler award of the tournament. 

With the results, Minnesota State finished seventh in the standings with 39 points. 

MSU wrestling head coach Jim Makovsky now adds Mason and Turriff to his list of national champions and NCAA All-Americans which now stands at 10 and 95 respectively in his 29 years with the team.

“Technique, talent, and conditioning are all factors. But the number one thing is they have a focus. It may sound a bit weird but I do not know if everyone does,” explained Makovsky on why Turriff and Mason were so successful this season. 

“They wanted to be national champions, they were committed to doing it… They proved that it could be done here and they gave the rest of the team a blueprint.”

Makovsky knows the impact winning a championship has on his wrestlers, but also knows there is so much more to life than winning a national title. “They are both hungry, humble, and smart guys… I think they will keep it in perspective, that the best is still yet to come.”

Header Photo: Senior Trevor Turriff (right) and junior Darrell Mason celebrate their individual NCAA wrestling titles in their respective weight classes. The two helped the Mavericks combine to place seventh at the Championship, totaling 39 team points. (Instagram/Minnstwrestling)

Write to Kole Buelow at kole.buelow@mnsu.edu.

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