Moenkedick wins national title
Perham native and Concordia College junior, Phil Moenkedick, became the first Cobber wrestler to win a national title in three decades on Saturday, March 6 at the NCAA Division III national tournament in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Moenkedick earned a 7-4 decision against Brennan Ward of Johnson and Wales to win the 184-pound title.
"It's unreal," said Moenkedick, who was a national runner-up last season. "Like through high school and stuff never winning, getting second in state. I don't know how to describe it right now. I'm just trying to enjoy it with my teammates."
The Cobbers hadn't won an individual national championship since Barry Bennett in 1979.
"It's a big step for our program at this point of our development to show kids that we can develop national champions at Concordia," Cobbers coach Clay Nagel said.
Moenkedick had a 4-0 lead heading into the third period, but got dumped to his back early in the period and had to stave off a pinning combination.
"Phil kept his composure and didn't give him anything to control him with," Nagel said.
Moenkedick countered with a key reversal en route to the three-point victory and national crown.
Fellow Perham native, junior Justin Berns, finished seventh at 149.
"It was a lot of fun. Good competition and that's what you work for," Berns said. "It was really cool to be a part of it."
Concordia finished the tournament with a school record three All-Americans and posted their highest team finish in school history.
"It's elation to see your athletes that you have pleasure of working with to be successful and win a national championship," Nagel said. "It's fun to be a part of it."
Moenkedick and Berns advanced to the national tournament after strong showings at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Meet in Minneapolis, MN on Feb. 20. Moenkedick was a perfect 4-0 as he captured his third straight regional championship.