Creating The Best Minnesota D1 Lineup Of All Time

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A few weeks ago I asked my Twitter followers how they would put together an all-time great college dual team with the current weights using athletes from their home states. The responses were great and really got me curious. So, I did the research and have now putting together the best possible team for some of the top states, including some formidable back-up teams.

Previous States: Pennsylvania, California, Oklahoma, Iowa, New Jersey, Ohio, New York, Michigan

Now, to the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

125 Starter: Jayson Ness, 2007-10

Hometown: Bloomington

College: Minnesota

NCAA Finishes: 5, 2 (125), 3, 1 (133)

Until the national finals when it took a last-second takedown and back points to beat Dan Dennis, Jayson Ness was darn near untouchable his senior season. He went 31-0 with 19 pins, won Big Ten Wrestler of the Year, NCAA Championship OW, and the Hodge. Ness was able to go feet to back on just about anyone. All-in-all Ness went 148-15 with 73 pins.

Watch Jayson Ness' post-NCAA finals press conference below.

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125 Backups

Zach Sanders - 4X AA for Minnesota from 2009-12

Luke Eustice - 2002 NCAA finalist for Iowa


133 Starter: Seth Gross, 2016-20

Hometown: Apple Valley

College: South Dakota State/Wisconsin

NCAA Finishes: R12 (141), 2, 1, NQ* (133)

I hope in 30 years people don’t forget how good Seth Gross was because he didn’t get to wrestle at NCAAs this season. Especially in the 2017-18 season, he was dominant. His only loss was when he bumped up and took on Bryce Meredith. Remember when he tech falled Cam Sykora 16-0, who has 40+ career tech falls of his own, in the second period? Joining Coach Bono was one of the best things Gross did for his career. As a Jackrabbit/Badger he went 117-19 with 14 of those losses coming his freshman year. His sophomore and junior seasons he had over at or above an 80% bonus rate.

Watch Seth Gross beat Stevan Micic in the 2018 NCAA finals below.

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133 Backup

Pat Neu - 1977 NCAA champ for Minnesota


141 Starter: Jason Davids, 1995-98

Hometown: Forest Lake

College: Minnesota

NCAA Finishes: R12 (134), 5, 3, 4 (142)

A three-time AA with a career record of 132-27, Jason Davids was a staple of great Minnesota teams of the late '90s that turned into the championship teams of the early 2000s. In the 1997 NCAA semifinals, Davids was stopped by Roger Chandler, but defeated Scott Reyna for third.

141 Backups

Mike Thorn - 2010 and 2011 AA for Minnesota

Mitch McKee - 2019 AA and 2020 NCAA qualifier* for Minnesota


149 Starter: Matt Demaray, 1990-92

Hometown: Apple Valley

College: Wisconsin

NCAA Finishes: 7, 1, 1 (150)

At the 1991 NCAA tournament, Matt Demaray defeated Terry Steiner 7-1 in the semis before beating Steve Hamilton of Iowa State to win his first title. The following year, Demaray defeated Troy Sunderland 5-2 to become a back-to-back champ. His career record at Wisconsin was 142-24 with 21 of those losses coming his first two years. His junior season he went 42-0.

149 Backups

Chad Kraft - 4X AA and 1998 NCAA finalist for Minnesota

Ty Eustice - 2X AA and 2006 NCAA finalist for Iowa


157 Starter: Luke Becker, 2000-03

Hometown: Cambridge

College: Minnesota

NCAA Finishes: 6, 4, 1, 4 (157)

It doesn’t get much more Minnesotan than Luke Becker. Becker has been a part of the Golden Gophers for two decades now. As an athlete, he went 126-29, was a four-time All-American, two-time Big Ten champion, and 2002 NCAA champion. His NCAA title came when he defeated Bryan Snyder in the finals. Becker is now the head assistant coach at Minnesota.

157 Backups

Dylan Ness - 4X AA and 2X NCAA finalist for Minnesota

Larry Zilverberg - 3X AA and 1972 NCAA finalist for Minnesota

Dan Zilverberg - 2X AA and 1980 NCAA finalist for Minnesota

Jim Kamman - 1967 NCAA champion for Michigan


165 Starter: Jacob Volkmann, 2001-04

Hometown: Hemming

College: Minnesota

NCAA Finishes: 4, NQ (174), 3, 4 (165)

Another great Gopher from the early 2000s, Volkmann was a four-time national qualifier, three-time AA, and Big Ten champion. He has wins over Tyron Woodley, Matt King, Tyrone Lewis, and John Clark.

165 Backup

Mike Farrell - 3X AA for Oklahoma State in the 80s


174 Mark Hall, 2017-20

Hometown: Apple Valley

College: Penn State

NCAA Finishes: 1, 2, 2, NQ* (174)

Yes, I am aware that Mark Hall was not born and raised in Minnesota, but he did spend his entire high school career in Apple Valley, and that is what he lists as his hometown on his official roster. Mark Hall, without redshirting, won a national title. He took three losses that year. One to Alex Meyer (in Carver on his official debut), one to Christian Brucki, and one to Bo Jordan. I think there’s a clear favorite when you stack up Hall’s career against Meyer or Brucki’s, and Hall avenged his loss to Jordan in the NCAA finals that season and twice the next season. His only losses were to Zahid Valencia, who he still beat twice in his career. Mark Hall will go down as one of the greatest one-time champions of all-time.

Watch Mark Hall pin Bo Jordan in the Southern Scuffle finals below.

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174 Backups

Chuck Jean - 1969 and 1970 NCAA champion for Iowa State

Marty Morgan - 3X AA and 1991 NCAA champion for Minnesota

Corey Olson - 3X AA and 2X NCAA finalist for Nebraska in the early 90s

Dave Allen - 3X AA and 1980 NCAA finalist for Iowa State


184 Starter: Evan Johnson, 1973-77

Hometown: Orono

College: Minnesota

NCAA Finishes: NQ, NQ, 1, 2 (190)

A two-time finalist and 1976 champion, Evan Johnson defeated Bud Palmer and Frank Santana on his way to a national title. One third of the Orono native’s career wins came by pin.

184 Backup

Kevin Steinhaus - 3X AA for Minnesota in the early 2010s


197 Starter: Joel Sharratt, 1992-95

Hometown: Bloomington

College: Iowa

NCAA Finishes: DNQ, 2, 1, 2 (190)

Under head coach Dan Gable, Joel Sharratt went 105-12 in his college career. In the 1994 NCAA finals, Sharratt defeated Andy Foster to take home the title, as well as out-placing JJ McGrew and Tim Morrissey. McGrew would go on to defeat Sharratt in the finals his senior year.

197 Backup

Brett Pfarr - 2X AA and 2017 NCAA finalist for Minnesota

Owen Elzen - 2X AA for Minnesota in the early 2000s


285 Starter: Tony Nelson, 2011-14

Hometown: Cambridge

College: Minnesota

NCAA Finishes: 7, 1, 1, 2 (285)

Yes, I am aware that the last time they wrestled Gable Steveson beat Tony Nelson. However, at this point, Tony has had the better college career and gets the nod as starter. A two-time NCAA champion, it took one of the best NCAA heavyweights of all-time in Nick Gwiazdowski to dethrone Tony. After his freshman year when he took seventh, he beat and/or outplaced everyone who finished above him except Ricardo Alcala. A big but athletic heavyweight, Tony had a solid offense and could spiral ride pretty much anybody. 

Watch Tony Nelson pin Alan Gelogaev below.

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285 Backups

Gable Steveson - 2019 AA with two years of eligibility left for Minnesota


There you have it, the greatest Minnesota D1 lineup of all-time.

WeightNameYears ActiveHometownCollege
125Jayson Ness2007-10BloomingtonMinnesota
133Seth Gross2016-20Apple ValleySouth Dakota State/Wisconsin
141Jason Davids
1995-98Forest LakeMinnesota
149Matt Demaray
1990-92Apple ValleyWisconsin
157Luke Becker2000-03CambridgeMinnesota
165Jacob Volkmann2001-04HemmingMinnesota
174Mark Hall2017-20Apple ValleyPenn State
184Evan Johnson1973-77OronoMinnesota
197Joel Sharratt1992-95BloomingtonIowa
285Tony Nelson2011-14CambridgeMinnesota

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