Four with SDSU ties named to wrestling hall

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Four with SDSU ties named to wrestling hall

July 16, 2020 | News | No Comments

SIOUX FALLS — Three two-time national champions from South Dakota State and the winningest coach in Jackrabbbit wrestling history will be inducted into the Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame during ceremonies March 10.

Representing SDSU in the 12-member Hall of Fame class are national champions Pat Dorn, Paul Konechne and Ryan Resel, along with former head coach Jason Liles.

Dorn, a native of Adrian, Minnesota, won a pair of national titles and earned All-America honors on four occasions during his collegiate career from 1986-89. He claimed the first of his 134-pound titles at the 1987 NCAA Division II Championships, finishing the year with a 29-8 record.

Dorn wrestled most of his junior season at 142 pounds before dropping back down to the 134-pound weight class as the postseason neared. He won his lone North Central Conference individual title in 1988 and again put together a championship run at the NCAA Division II Championships. Dorn would go to on to become the first Jackrabbit wrestler in 18 years to earn All-America honors at the NCAA Division I Championships with an eighth-place finish later that season.

As a senior, Dorn qualified for his third NCAA Division II Championships, coming away with a sixth-place finish at 134 pounds. He ended his collegiate career with a 100-33-3 record.

Paul Konechne earned NCAA Division II All-America honors four times, winning two national titles at 141 pounds, and completed his career as the all-time leader for victories during his standout career at SDSU from 1998-2001.

Upon his arrival at South Dakota State in the fall of 1997, Konechne immediately made an impact in the Jackrabbit lineup. He compiled a 33-13 overall record as a freshman, placing third in the 134-pound weight class at the North Central Conference Championships and sixth at the NCAA Division II Championships.

With a new set of weight classes implemented at the start of the 1998-99 season, Konechne moved into the 141-pound division where he truly excelled. He again placed third at the North Central Conference Championships and wrestled his way to the title match at the NCAA Division II Championships, dropping a 12-6 decision to Braumon Creighton of Nebraska-Omaha to end the season with a 23-9 record.

The next two seasons, Konechne dominated the 141-pound weight class, posting back-to-back 40-win seasons to tie a school record for most wins in a season. He won his first North Central Conference title and capped his junior campaign with his first national title, winning the 141-pound title with a second-period pin of Nebraska-Kearney’s Kurt Karjalainen on his home mat as South Dakota State hosted the 2000 NCAA Division II Championships.

Konechne repeated as 141-pound champion at both the conference and national level during the 2000-01 season, compiling a 40-3 record which included a 15-0 mark in dual competition. In his four matches at the 2001 NCAA Division II Championships in Greeley, Colorado, Konechne recorded one pin and outscored his other three opponents 32-5 en route to the title. SDSU finished as national runner-up in the team standings in 2001.

A Kimball native, Konechne finished his Jackrabbit career with a 137-30 record, surpassing the school record for victories previously set by three-time national champion and 2004 Division II Hall of Fame inductee Chad Lamer (132-30-2 record).

An electrical engineering major, Konechne was honored as an NWCA All-Academic selection three times and was named to the GTE/Verizon Academic All-America Team as an at-large selection in both 2000 and 2001.

Ryan Resel wrestled his way to four All-America honors and two national championships in the heavyweight division during his career at South Dakota State.

A native of St. Lawrence and a graduate of nearby Miller High School, Resel spent the 1993-94 school year at Nebraska before transferring to South Dakota State, where he was a member of the Jackrabbit football team in 1994. He finally found his way to the wrestling mat in the fall of 1995 and began one of the most successful careers in program history.

In his first season with the Jackrabbits, Resel posted a 38-10 overall record en route to finishing third at the North Central Conference Championships and fourth at the NCAA Division II Championships.

The next two seasons, Resel established himself as the top heavyweight in the Division II ranks, going a combined 73-13 with 36 pins and a 25-1 mark in dual competition. He claimed his first national title at the 1997 NCAA Division II Championships with a pin of top-seeded Western State’s Shane Carwin, tying the SDSU single-season record with his 40th win.

Resel repeated as both North Central Conference and Division II champion during the 1997-98 season in helping lead the Jackrabbits to a runner-up finish at nationals. He recorded a 33-5 overall record, including a 15-1 mark in duals as the Jackrabbits won their first Division II National Duals title.

After sitting out the fall semester during his senior season, Resel returned to the Jackrabbit lineup in January. His bids for three consecutive conference and national titles came up just short, however. At the 1999 NCC meet, Resel lost a 5-4 decision to Nebraska-Omaha’s Jerry Corner in the championship match, but avenged that loss a couple weeks later at the NCAA Division II Championships to advance to his third consecutive title bout. That championship match was a rematch against Carwin, with Carwin earning a 5-1 decision.

Overall, Resel finished his collegiate career third on the SDSU victories chart with a 122-27 record and tied the school record with 63 pins.

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Liles led the South Dakota State University wrestling program to a decade-long run of success within the NCAA Division II ranks.

Liles took over the Jackrabbit wrestling program in the spring of 1993 after winning NAIA national championships at Montana State University-Northern in 1991 and 1992. In each of his first nine seasons at SDSU, Liles led the Jackrabbits to a top-five showing at the NCAA Division II Championships, including runner-up finishes in both 1998 and 2001.

The 2001 Division II National Coach of the Year, Liles coached Jackrabbit wrestlers to 47 All-America honors and 11 national championships. Three of his wrestlers – Chad Lamer, Ryan Resel and Paul Konechne – won multiple national titles. In seven of his 11 seasons coaching at the Division II level, Liles had at least one wrestler win a national title. SDSU had a school-record six All-Americans in both 2000 and 2001.

He also led SDSU to the 1997 North Central Conference title and claimed NWCA Division II National Duals championships in 1998 and 2000.

After South Dakota State joined the Division I ranks following the 2003-04 season, Liles remained as head coach through the 2011-12 campaign. He finished as the Jackrabbits’ career leader in coaching victories with a 149-141-5 dual record, surpassing the 134 victories by inaugural Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame inductee Warren Williamson. In 28 seasons as a collegiate head coach, Liles posted a 238-169-6 record.

The Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame Banquet will be held at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, starting at 6 p.m. on March 10 — the eve of the NCAA Division II Championships. Tickets are $25 each and can be purchased through the Sioux Falls Sports Authority by emailing Sean Derry at

Following the 2016 inductions, nine people associated with South Dakota State wrestling will have been enshrined in the Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame. Previous inductees have included: Warren Williamson (coach, 1996); Jim Koch (SDSU wrestler/longtime coach at Wisconsin-Parkside, 2000); Rick Jensen (wrestler, 2000); Jeff Hohertz (wrestler, 2000); Chad Lamer (wrestler, 2004)

Rounding out the 2016 hall of fame class are former North Dakota State wrestlers Todd Fuller, Steve Saxlund, Nick Severson, George Thompson, and Ryan Wolters; former Augustana wrestlers Sam Herriman and Tom Meester, and former Minnesota State University, Mankato, standout Matt Petsinger.

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