Sports

Lions Wrestling Coach Honored

Paul Konechne, an assistant wrestling coach for Central Lyon/George-Little Rock, is being inducted into the Jackrabbit Hall of Fame.

Konechne is a 2 time national champion for the SDSU Jackrabbits and was inducted into the Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2016. The induction takes place the weekend of November 9

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 South Dakota 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.

This story comes from our News Partner, Lyon County News, Inc Newspaper in George.

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