Lakefield native Chad Kraft to be inducted into University of Minnesota's M Club

The University of Minnesota will celebrate its rich athletics tradition this September with the induction of nine former Golden Gophers in to the M Club Hall of Fame and one of this year’s inductees will include former Heron Lake-Okabena-Lakefield wrestling standout Chad Kraft.

Kraft, a native of Lakefield, MN, had an amazing prep career in high school. Kraft finished his high school wrestling career with a 195-14-1 record. He was a state wrestling participant four times, finishing in 5th place his freshman year while winning the state championship the following 3 years.  Kraft was selected on the USA Wrestling magazines’ Dream Team and Asics All-America Team. Chad Kraft finished in 7th place at the Junior Nationals in Fargo as a junior and was a Junior Nationals Freestyle Champion as a senior. Kraft was selected as Mr. Minnesota as the best high school senior wrestler in the state in 1994. He won his final 80 matches of his high school career.

During his Golden Gopher Wrestling career, Kraft was an integral part in helping the Golden Gophers to a Big Ten second-place finish in 1997 and a Big Ten title in 1999. With Kraft on the squad, the Gophers finished third at the 1997 NCAA Championships and took consecutive runner-up finishes in 1998 and 1999. While at Minnesota, Kraft amassed a record of 115-23-0 (.833 win percentage) and solidified his name forever in the history books by becoming Minnesota's first four-time All-American, never placing outside the top five at the national championship. Kraft finished in 5th as a redshirt freshman at the NCAA Championships, 3rd as a sophomore, 2nd as a junior and 5th in his senior season.

Chad Kraft currently ranks 18th in all-time career victories (115) and 7th in career dual meets (65).

The class is the 10th since the men's and women's halls of fame were combined into the University of Minnesota M Club Hall of Fame in 2003. The official induction of the 2012 class will take place during a ceremony to be held in the DQ Club Room at the TCF Bank Stadium on Thursday, September 20th. A social hour beginning at 6:00pm will kick off the event, with the main program starting at 7:00pm. Tickets for the event will be available for purchase through the Gopher Athletics Ticket Office online at or by calling 1-800-U-Gopher beginning August 1st. The class of 2012 will also be honored at the Gophers' football game vs. Syracuse on Saturday, Sept. 22 at TCF Bank Stadium.

Information for this story was provided by Jackson County Central head wrestling coach Randy Baker and from the University of Minnesota’s Athletic Website: Find more on this story by following the link


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