Matt Palmer inducted into NDSU Hall of Fame

Recently it seems, North Dakota State University has been successful in nearly every sport. From football to basketball to wrestling, the Bison are showing they belong at the Division I level.
But it wasn’t that long ago that those programs were still being built. And for wrestling, Monticello teacher and coach Matt Palmer played a large role in helping lay the foundation.
Palmer, along with the 1988 wrestling team, was inducted into the North Dakota State University Hall of Fame last month for his role in helping lead that Bison team to the Division II national championship, the first in program history.
“It’s a nice honor,” said Palmer, adding that the reunion with teammates was the highlight. “It’s been 25 years and it’s like we’ve never been apart.”
Palmer, a senior on the national championship team, was part of a string of successful teams at NDSU. They were conference champions during each of Palmer’s four years of competition, which fell in the middle of a nine-year stretch of conference titles for the Bison.
And they found success out of conference, too.
Despite starting six freshmen in their ten-person lineup during Palmer’s freshman year, the Bison lost just one dual all season. That core wound up losing just three duals along the 4-year pathway to the national championship.
“I’m pretty proud of the fact that we had so many kids out of high school, and only losing 3 duals,” said Palmer. “That’s big, to be a part of that. To be a part of that national championship, to get a ring, and now following it up with the Hall of Fame induction, it’s pretty neat.”
And while it was a team award, statistics show that Palmer played a large role in helping the team get there.
As an individual, Palmer was a two-time Division II All-American who left NDSU with a win total in the all-time top ten.
The year the Bison won the national championship, Palmer finished second at 190 pounds. With the top two finish, he earned the opportunity to compete at the Division I national championships, where he went 2-2, missing being a Division I All-American by just one win.
“That’s a big show,” said Palmer. “Those are the best wrestlers in all of the United States.”
But for Palmer, the Hall of Fame induction wasn’t about him. It was about the team, and if it was about one person, it was his coach Bucky Maughan.
“He’s the most deserving person,” said Palmer. “He wasn’t a master technician. And I wouldn’t say we were the most conditioned team. But what he did instill in us was the mental toughness to never quit.”

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