Frost at 40: 2000 Wrestling
Editor's Note: Throughout the 2012-13 athletics season, Jackrabbit Athletics will spotlight 40 of the top moments in the 40-year history of Frost Arena. This week's segment focuses on the 2000 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships.
Paul Konechne and Jon Madsen were crowned individual national champions as South Dakota State University hosted the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships for the fourth - and final - time at Frost Arena March 10-11, 2000.
A 141-pounder, Konechne dominated his two matches on the opening day of competition, winning by a combined 33-2 margin. In Saturday's semifinal , Konechne trailed North Dakota State's Jake Thielbar, 4-3, midway through the third period before recording a takedown with 1:12 remaining and riding out the remainder of the match.
The 141-pound championship match pitted Konechne against Nebraska-Kearney's Kurt Karjalainen. Leading 2-0 after the first period, Konechne was in the down position to start the second period. With Karjalainen leg-riding high on top, Konechne rolled onto Karjalainen, forcing the UNK wrestler's shoulders just long enough for the referee to signal a pin.
Konechne ended the season with a 40-5 record.
Madsen, a redshirt freshman from Carpenter, recorded an upset of defending national champion Jeremiah Constant in Friday's heavyweight quarterfinals and on to the finals after winning by default over Pittsburgh-Johnstown's Brad Hughes in Saturday's semifinals.
In the Saturday evening championship, the unseeded Madsen gave up nearly five inches and 50 pounds to Fort Hays State (Kan.) wrestler Keith Blaske. With the match tied at 1, Madsen opened the second period with an escape and mustered enough strength with 18 seconds remaining to take down Blaske for the decisive points in a 4-3 victory.
All six Jackrabbits to compete at nationals earned a spot on the awards podium, giving SDSU its most All-Americans in a wrestling championship. Scott Braun reached the finals of the 133-pound weight class before dropping a 10-6 decision to North Dakota State's Kris Nelson.
Tyler Jones finished sixth at 174 pounds, while Aaron Veskrna took seventh at 149 pounds. Tyler Bryant rounded out the Jackrabbit All-America efforts with an eighth-place finish at 165 pounds.
On the strength of winning four individual titles, North Dakota State won the team title with 91.5 points. Central Oklahoma took second with 75 points, followed by Nebraska-Omaha in third with 73.5 points. SDSU finished in fourth place in the team standings with 72 points as the Jackrabbits notched their seventh consecutive top-five finish at the national meet.