MARSHALL, Minn. – The Southwest Minnesota State wrestling team is set to begin postseason competition on Sunday, competing in the NCAA Super Region Three Championships hosted by St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minn., on Sunday, Feb. 26. The action is set to begin at 10 a.m. at Halenbeck Hall.
Super Region Three: Sunday’s regional tournament is one of four tournaments that will take place prior to the NCAA Championships, which will be held March 9-10 in Pueblo, Colo. To advance to the NCAA Championships, a wrestler must finish in the top four of their respective weight class.
Dual contests: Southwest Minnesota State finished the 2011-12 season 10-6 overall, including 3-4 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, which was good for a fourth-place finish for the second straight season. SMSU’s 10-6 overall record marked its second straight winning season, and its most wins since the 2002-03 season.
The coach: Jesse Nelson is in his fifth season as the head coach of the Mustang wrestling program and owns a career record of 23-34-1. After leading SMSU to its first winning season since 2002-03 last season, Nelson has now led the Mustangs to two straight winning seasons, including two fourth-place finishes in the NSIC. Nelson has had six different individuals qualify for the NCAA II national championships, including one two-time national qualifier during his tenure.
Last time out: Southwest Minnesota State finished the regular season last weekend going 1-1 in its final NSIC contests of the season. The Mustangs went on the road and picked up a 21-15 victory over MSU Moorhead on Friday night before closing out the regular season with a 23-15 loss to Minnesota State, Mankato on Saturday at the PE Gym.
The streak continues: Sophomore Jacob Begin, ranked seventh in the NCAA at 165 pounds, picked up two wins on the weekend to improve to 22-4 on the season, winning his 13th straight contest. Begin pinned Derek Lee of MSU Moorhead at 2:57 on Friday night before earning a 17-3 major decision over Minnesota State’s Cody Quinn. The sophomore has picked up four pins, one technical fall, eight major decisions and nine decisions on the season. Begin has not lost to an NCAA Division II opponent during the season with his last loss coming on Dec. 3 at South Dakota State on Dec. 9. He is currently the only Mustangs to eclipse the 20-win mark on the season. Begin is the first Mustang to crack the national rankings this season.
Peaking at the right moment: Sophomore Justin Reinsma improved to 18-11 on the season earning two straight wins last weekend. Reinsma pinned Graelin Garlington of MSU Moorhead at 4:26 on Friday before earing a 10-2 major decision over Brian Reisenauer of Minnesota State on Saturday. The 133-pounder has won four straight matches, including six of his last 10 bouts priming up for the NCAA regional tournament.
Senior Martin Hagen has won 10 of his last 13 bouts, including four straight matches. Last weekend, Hagen improved to 17-7 on the season with two wins last weekend starting with a 9-5 decision over Eric Lehmann of MSU Moorhead before picking up a 5-1 decision over Derek Hahn of Minnesota State on Saturday.
SMSU at the 2011 regional tournament: Southwest Minnesota State finished eighth out of 10 teams at the Super Region Three Tournament last season. The Mustangs finished with 38.5 team points while St. Cloud State took home the region championship earning 131 team points.
SMSU’s CD Johnson qualified for the NCAA Championships at 184 pounds last season winning the true-fourth place match over St. Cloud State’s Mic Berg, qualifying for his second straight NCAA tournament appearance.
Expanded field: The number of teams competing in the Super Region Three tournament has expanded from years past. Once consisting of teams from the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference only, realignment added Wisconsin-Parkside, Indianapolis, and Newman (Kan.). Those three teams competed in the Super Region Three tournament for the first time last season.
Tough competition: The Super Region Three tournament features four ranked teams, with three of them ranked in the top five in the country. Tournament host St. Cloud State is ranked No. 1 in the country, Upper Iowa is currently ranked third and Augustana owns the No. 5 spot in the top 20 poll. Wisconsin-Parkside is ranked 12th while Indianapolis and Minnesota State received votes in the latest national poll.
Super Region 3 Rankings rankings as of Feb. 21
Rk. Pts. School
1 65 St. Cloud State
2 37 Upper Iowa
3 36 Augustana
4 25 Wisconsin Parkside
5 15 Indianapolis
6 12 Maryville
7 11 MSU Moorhead
8 10 University of Mary
9 8 Northern State
9 8 Southwest Minnesota State
11 7 Minnesota State
12 6 Newman
SMSU Individuals in Regional Rankings
Wt. Rank Wrestler
125 8 Travis Borchert
133 6 Justin Reinsma
141 7 Ethan Hildebrandt
149 9 Codie Lane
157 11 Josh Anderson
165 2 Jacob Begin
174 7 Trent Molacek
184 11 Micah Larson
197 5 Martin Hagen
285 9 Brian Rodas
SMSU Individuals in National Rankings
Wt. Rank Wrestler
165 7 Jacob Begin