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Steinhaus to wrestle for Gophers

KERKHOVEN -- Kevin Steinhaus moved one step closer to fulfilling a childhood dream Tuesday by verbally committing to wrestle for the University of Minnesota after his high school career is over.

"He was so set on being a Minnesota Gopher since the seventh or eighth grade," said Wes Haglund, Steinhaus' coach at Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg. "Other schools looked at him, but I think he locked them out of his mind."

Steinhaus visited the University's campus for the first time this spring and fell in love with it right away.

"I considered other schools, but I've always wanted to go to the 'U'," said Steinhaus.

Already the area's most prolific wrestler ever, Steinhaus will have a shot to finish his prep career with the state's third- or fourth-best record of all time. The senior-to-be hasn't lost a high school match since the semifinals of the 2006 state tournament and his career record is currently 196-12.

"At last year's state tournament I told (Gophers coach) J Robinson I have a guy you would really want," said Haglund. "I told him that I don't want Minnesota to lose him and Robinson said 'we don't either.'"

Steinhaus claimed the 152-pound title this year after winning the 145-pound title his sophomore year. He placed third at 130 his freshman year and was runner-up at 112 as an 8th-grader.

Steinhaus will likely wrestle at 160 pounds this year for the Fighting Saints, according to Haglund.

"He is a D-I wrestler," added Haglund. "It's a coaches' dream to have a kid wrestle somewhere like the 'U'. He's a great kid and a great student."

Over the program's 99-year history, the University of Minnesota wrestle team has claimed 12 Big Ten Conference titles and placed in the top 10 at the NCAA Tournament 31 times, including three first-place finishes.