College Wrestling: Former Pioneer Eischens still dealing with a lack of a season finale

Former Pierz Pioneer and current senior wrestler for the St. Cloud State University Huskies was named the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference co-Wrestler of the Year. St. Cloud State University

Kolton Eischens earned the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference’s top honor, but it still didn’t help the sting of not finishing his career on the mat.

Eischens, a senior wrestler for St. Cloud State University, was named the NSIC co-Wrestler of the Year. He finished his senior season 18-1 with eight falls and a victory in the NCAA Division II Regional Championship Feb. 29 in Sioux Falls, S.D.

That would turn out to be his last match.

“I wouldn’t exactly say I’ve dealt with it, yet,” Eischens said. “There is definitely a lot of work and not only myself. There are people around you that dedicate a lot of time like family and friends to support you. The teammates, the other guys, not even the other guys who made the tournament, but the second- and third-string guys at your weight who have pushed you all year long and go through the extra workouts when you need the extra work. Those guys are there an hour before your match because you need to lose your last pound. It’s everybody around you who you also feel sorry for, too. I’ve definitely lost some sleep over it and thought about it a lot. The thing that sucks the most about it is we were right there. We were so close to get that chance.”

The NCAA DII Championships were scheduled for March 13-14 before COVID-19 forced the cancelation of the tournament. The event was canceled March 12. Earlier in the day Eischens and his Huskies teammates were practicing in the arena the tournament was supposed to take place.


“We were sitting in our hotel room after we got done with practice,” Eischens said. “We practiced at 10 a.m. Thursday, (March 12), and we went back to the hotel to take some naps or work on getting the weight off before the next day’s weigh-in. We were lounging around the hotel just waiting. I was actually in the room with coach (Steve) Costanzo, coach (Brady) Wilson and coach (Travis) Holt. Coach actually joked about it saying, ‘Yep, you’re not going to be able to wrestle.’ We laughed it off, but then he actually got an email from the head tournament director and it was a little more of a serious conversation then.”

Eischens was one of six SCSU wrestlers seeded No. 2 in their weight bracket. The Huskies finished 16-0 overall and 8-0 in the NSIC, but Eischens thought the Huskies had a chance for eight or nine All-American and maybe even six national champions. He called this year’s squad “arguably the best team in program history.”

Eischens’ first-place finish at the regionals helped SCSU win its fourth consecutive regional title and seventh since 2011.

The former Pierz Pioneers opened with a 3:40 technical fall at the regional tournament followed by a 42-second pin. A 10-2 major decision pushed Eischens into the finals where he captured the crown with a 10-0 victory over Mary’s Phillip Springsteen. It was his second straight regional title.

“Throughout the whole year, I was wrestling the best I ever had in my career,” Eischens said. “All three of our coaches were telling me how good I was wrestling. I’m a pretty confident wrestler and I think that’s how I got to where I am. I believed in myself since I got to St. Cloud and I tried to prove that every time I took the mat.

“I lost one match at the National Duals. I just didn’t wrestle how I wanted to wrestle. I ended up dropping that one to a pretty good kid. After that, once you lose you try to take something from it, and after that, I don’t think I had a close match. I think after that I bonus pointed every kid I wrestled against. I was on a mission to get the national title. Not only to win it, but dominate my way to winning it.”

A three-time All-NSIC award recipient, CoSIDA Academic All-American and an Academic All-NSIC award winner during his career, Eischens finished his career at SCSU with a 75-12 record. He is the sixth SCSU athlete to earn the NSIC Wrestler of the Year award, which he shared with Nick Baumler of Upper Iowa.

One of those other Huskies was former high school and college teammate Clint Poster.


As a junior, Eischens finished 25-4 with 10 pins. After winning the regional title he finished fourth in nationals. He went 32-7 during his sophomore season with 11 pins. He finished third in the regional tournament and sixth at nationals.

Eischens has been working with his uncles to pass the time. He’s been fishing and watching whether or not they’ll extend another year of eligibility to the winter athletes. He said it would be a hard decision to make. Eischens has a job lined up for him, a job he’s always wanted he said, but that extra year of making memories would be hard to pass up he said.

“At first, I was more shocked and mad than anything that they were canceling,” Eischens said. “We were already down there. Everyone was already down there; the coaches, the athletes, probably officials and table workers and everything. The sadness kind of came when we were getting ready to hop on the bus. Coach asked me if we wanted to stay down there for another night or get out of there and I said let’s get out of here in case they quarantine us. It was a lot of emotions in a short amount of time.”

“If this is over, and I’m kind of leaning that it probably is over, it’s been probably the most fun three years of my wrestling career. Just the friends I’ve made throughout the whole deal and to be able to wrestle for the best program in the country was amazing. Since I got there, the only tournament we lost was the national tournament because we didn’t get a chance to compete. It’s more than just the wins and losses. I’ve gotten some of the best friends. I learned a lot about life.”

Kolton Eischens

Sport: Wrestling

Weight: 174 pounds


College: St. Cloud State University

Year: Senior

Former: Pierz High School

Parents: Steen and Robyn Eischens


Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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