MARSHALL, Minn. – The Southwest Minnesota State wrestling team (8-4-1, 3-4 NSIC) begins postseason competition on Sunday, competing in the NCAA Super Regional Three Championships hosted by No. 2 Augustana in the Elmen Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. Action is set to begin at 10 a.m.
Last time out: Southwest Minnesota State won back-to-back NSIC dual meets last week earning a 24-12 win over the University of Mary on Thursday night before downing Northern State 23-15 on their home mat on Friday night.
Super Regional Three: Sunday’s regional tournament is one of four tournaments that will take place prior to the NCAA Championships. A wrestler must finish in the top-four of their weight class to advance to the national tournament, which will be hosted by Nebraska-Kearney on March 11-12.
2010 Regional: Southwest Minnesota State finished sixth in the final teams standings of the regional tournament last season earning 53.5 points in the team standings. Augustana won the tournament with 120.5 points. The Mustangs qualified three wrestlers for the NCAA Championships last season.
Brandan Schunk qualified at 141 pounds, CD Johnson at 184 pounds and Brian Rodas at 285 pounds. Johnson lost his opening-round bout before making his way through the wrestlebacks to finish fourth at 184 pounds. Rodas picked up two falls in the regional tournament last season finishing in fourth at 285 pounds. Demond Carter nearly qualified for the national tournament at 149 pounds, losing the fourth-place contest.
Expanded field: The number of teams competing in the Super Regional Three tournament championships has expanded from years past. The region once was just teams from the NSIC; before realignment added Wisconsin-Parkside, Indianapolis, and Newman (Kan.) to this years’ field of teams.
Stiff competition: The Super Regional Three tournament features four nationally ranked teams. All four of which are ranked in the top-10 in the country. Host Augustana is ranked No. 2 in the country, followed by No. 3 St. Cloud State, No. 8 Minnesota State and No. 10 Upper Iowa. 31 individual wrestlers are ranked in the top-8 of their respective weight classes.
Dual contests: Head coach Jesse Nelson led Southwest Minnesota State to its most NSIC wins since the 2000-01 season. SMSU’s three conference wins on the season marks its highest total in NSIC duals since the 2000-01 season when SMSU?finished 12-8 overall and 3-0 in the NSIC winning the conference championship. This season’s win total also marked the highest of number of conference wins for Nelson’s career. The Mustangs have improved their record from the previous season every since 2007 under the direction of Jesse Nelson.
Veteran Presence: Senior CD Johnson (184 pounds) finds himself in unfamiliar territory heading into the Super Regional tournament. Johnson has lost two consecutive matches in NSIC action last week. The senior lost a 6-4 decision against Brady Anderson of U-Mary before being pinned for just the second time this season by Cale Cornemann of Northern State. Johnson is 23-14 heading into postseason competition.
In the record books: CD Johnson currently ranks 15th all-time at SMSU in career wins. Johnson has compiled a 75-78-career record in four seasons as a Mustang. Randy Dorn is the all-time leader in wins at SMSU finishing his career 123-37 from 1987-91.
Rodas Rules: Junior Brian Rodas (285 pounds) is now 8-2 on the season after losing just his second match of the season last Friday. Rodas lost a 3-1 decision to Matthew Meuleners of Northern State. His only losses came in close contests, losing his first of the season 2-1 to Jon Swart of MSU Moorhead in extra time. Rodas has won five of his eight decisions this season by fall.
The reign of Reinsma: Redshirt freshman Justin Reinsma (133 pounds) continues to tear through the 133-pound weight class. Reinsma extended his record to 25-10 on the season by earning two wins last week. The 133-pounder won a 14-0 major decision over Ryan Swelland of U-Mary before edging Ian Muirhead in a 7-5 decision at Northern State. Reinsma has won 13 decisions on the season while picking up seven wins by pin. Reinsma’s major decision on Thursday night was the fourth of the season.
125 Travis Borchert (11-12)
133 Justin Reinsma (25-10)
141 Ethan Hildebrandt (17-11)
149 Demond Carter (6-6)
157 Casey Field (10-16)
165 William Fate (8-6)
174 Zach Coates (12-7)
184 CD Johnson (23-14)
197 Martin Hagen (11-12)
285 Brian Rodas (8-2)
20-plus club: CD Johnson and Justin Reinsma were the first two Mustangs this season to reach the 20-win plateau. Johnson currently owns a record of 23-14 while Reinsma sits at 25-10.
Winning tradition: Southwest Minnesota State’s eight wins on the season mark the highest number of wins in a single season since the 2002-03 season when SMSU finished 10-9-2 overall and 1-2 in NSIC contests.
History lesson: SMSU’s 18-3 record in 1978-79 marks the highest win total in by a Mustang wrestling team in school history.