Mason is going for gold at NCAA tournament

In a weekend full of excitement, Minnesota State wrestling once again finds success at the Super Region Tournament. While as a team they placed eighth overall in the tournament, the Mavs saw very good results from many of the members on the team.

Out of the nine wrestlers that suited up for the tournament, four of them placed in the top five or higher and one of them ultimately won his weight class and will move on to the National Tournament. MSU sophomore Isaiah Mlsna, sophomore Drake Hayward, and Junior Mike Smith fell short in the consolation brackets and could not break into the top five. The case could also be said for MSU seniors Brody Nielsen and Max Villnow who competed in the tournament for the final time. Regardless, they still went on to cheer for the other members of their team. MSU senior Darrell Mason said he was grateful they were by his side.

“It means a lot, I had my boys with me, my coaches, and a lot of my family and friends from back home cheering me on. They help me to try and be the best I can be every time I am on the mat and be the best competitor that I can be,” said Mason.

While those five men did not have the best tournament runs, there were other exciting moments taking place on the mats. In his Super Tournament debut, MSU freshman Caleb Meunier and Kole Marko each took  4th place in the 149 Ibs and 165 Ibs brackets, respectively. While they fell short of earning a trip to Nationals, it is certainly an accomplishment to build off of going forward. The Mavs also watched as MSU senior Brock Luthens finished fifth place in the 141 Ibs bracket, wrapping up his third and final tournament performance in his collegiate career.

However, the true main highlight of the tournament for the Mavs was at Heavyweight. The reigning and defending Division II champion, Darrell Mason, successfully defended his title. He dominated all four matchups to become a two-time Division II Champion and punched a ticket to the NCAA Tournament in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The win also has Mason joining MSU Hall of Famers Howard Gangstad, Bob Soulek, and Tony Kenning as the only two-time DII champions. The native of Chicago, Illinois is eager to be competing next weekend, seeing as it is a place close to home.

“Iowa is like a second home to me, that is where it all started. I grew up in a little town called Iowa Falls about fifteen minutes away from there. I am familiar with the city and it has become a second home like Mankato has. It means a lot to get this opportunity to wrestle close to home and I am looking to go out there and put on a show,” said Mason.

Write to Charlie Groebner at

Header Photo: 285 heavyweight Senior, Darrell Mason (above), punches his ticket to the NCAA Championships. (Dylan Engel)

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