Mustang wrestling hosts Concordia in non-conference dual on Friday

MARSHALL, Minn. – The Southwest Minnesota State University wrestling team will step out of Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference action this Friday night hosting Concordia College (Moorhead) for a non-conference dual beginning at 7 p.m. at the PE Gym. The Mustangs will return to NSIC action on Friday, Feb. 17 at MSU Moorhead.

About the Mustangs: Southwest Minnesota State enters the non-conference dual with an overall record of 8-5 on the season. The Mustangs went 1-1 last weekend, including a 20-15 loss at No. 3 Augustana and a 21-10 victory over the University of Mary at home on Saturday to move to 2-3 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, good for fourth in the league standings.

Make it 10: Jacob Begin continued his winning streak picking up two victories at 165 pounds last weekend. Begin earned an 11-4 decision over Bradyn Neises of Augustana before grinding out an 8-5 decision over Taylor Nagel of the University of Mary on Saturday. Begin was in jeopardy of losing his first match in 10 tries with Nagel owning a riding time advantage, Begin picked up an escape and a takedown as time expired in the third period to escape with the win.

Steady senior: Senior Martin Hagen (197 pounds) has won three of his last four conference matches picking up two straight wins last weekend of Brian Schultz of Augustana and Kriss McCleary of U-Mary. Hagen scrapped out a 3-2 decision over Schultz on Friday night on the road before picking up a 7-5 decision over McCleary at home on Saturday. The senior has won eight of his past 11 bouts, dating back to Dec. 3.

A win for the Mustangs would mean: With a win against Concordia (Moorhead) on Friday, SMSU would improve to 9-5 on the season, its highest win total since the 2002-03 season when the Mustangs went 10-9-2 under the direction of John Sterner.

The coach: Jesse Nelson is in his fifth season as the head coach of the Mustang wrestling program. Following a winless dual season in 2007-08, the team’s dual win total has improved from three in 2008-09, four in 2009-10 and eight this past season. SMSU’s 8-4-1 dual record in 2010-11, was the program’s first winning season since 2002-03, while the team also finished tied for fourth in the eight-team NSIC and had one national qualifier. Nelson has had six different individuals qualify for the NCAA II national championships, including one two-time national qualifier. His recruiting efforts have also increased SMSU’s roster size from 15 during his first season to nearly 40 during the 2010-11 season.

About the Cobbers: Concordia-Moorhead, ranked 18th in the nation in Division III, enters the contest with a record of 7-10 in dual meets. The Cobbers are coming off a 29-12 dual victory over St. Olaf on Jan. 28, previously Concordia had lost five straight duals, including two losses to NSIC members Augustana and St. Cloud State. The Cobbers last competition was at the Jimmie Open in Jamestown, N.D. on Feb. 4. Concordia is led by seventh-year head coach Clay Nagel.

The series: Southwest Minnesota State and Concordia-Moorhead will meet for the eighth time in a series that began during the 1992-93 season. The Mustangs own a 6-1 lead in the series. The Cobbers won the last meeting between the two teams picking up a 33-12 dual victory in Marshall on Jan. 22, 2009.

Probable lineup:

SMSU
125 – Travis Borchert (10-9)
133 – Justin Reinsma (15-11)
141 – Ethan Hildebrandt (14-8)
149 – Codie Lane (9-11)
157 – Casey Field (0-1) or Josh Anderson (2-12)
165 – Jacob Begin (19-4)
174 – Trent Molacek (6-11)
184 – Andrew Rodas (7-9) or Micah Larson (6-9)
197 – Martin Hagen (15-7)
285 – Brian Rodas (6-3) or Cole Wilson (14-3)

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