Two NSIC duals on tap for Mustang wrestling this weekend

MARSHALL, Minn. – The Southwest Minnesota State wrestling team will put an end to the 2011-12 regular season this weekend with a pair of Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference duals. The Mustangs will travel to Moorhead, Minn. to take on MSU Moorhead at 7 p.m. on Friday night before returning home to celebrate “Senior Day” on Saturday night hosting Minnesota State, Mankato at 7 p.m. at the PE Gym.

About the Mustangs: Southwest Minnesota State is 9-5 on the season, including 2-3 in the NSIC, which currently sits the Mustangs in fourth-place in the eight-team conference. With its win over Concordia-Moorhead last Friday, SMSU achieved its highest win total since the 2002-03 season. Southwest Minnesota State also improved to 6-0 in dual meets at the PE Gym on the season, its highest home win total since the 1968-69 season when the Mustangs went 9-1.

Streaking: Jacob Begin continued his winning streak, picking up his 11th straight victory last Friday, earning a 15-2 major decision over Josten Coleman to improve to 20-4 on the season. He has not lost since an 8-6 decision to Dillon Reid of NCAA Division I South Dakota State on Dec. 9.

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.

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.

2012 Regional Tournament: The 2012 Super Region 3 Tournament will be held on Feb. 26 at St. Cloud State University beginning at 10 a.m. Southwest Minnesota State is currently ranked in a tie for ninth in the Super Region 3 rankings.

About the Dragons: MSU Moorhead is 2-8 on the season, including 0-5 in the NSIC and is coming off three consecutive losses. The Dragons were last in action on Feb. 10 in an 28-12 loss to Northern State in Aberdeen, S.D. MSU Moorhead’s Corey Ulmer is currently ranked first in the nation at 125 pounds. Ulmer enters the weekend with a 20-2 record on the season and has won 13 straight matches. Kris Nelson is in his third season as the head coach at MSU Moorhead with a career record of 15-38.

About the Mavericks: Minnesota State is 4-8 overall on the season and 2-3 in conference duals. The Mavericks are tied with Southwest Minnesota State for fourth place in the conference standings. MSU is coming off a 21-9 dual victory over the University of Mary on Feb. 10 and hosts No. 1 St. Cloud State on Friday night. Drew Lexvold is ranked eighth in the nation at 133 pounds and owns a 10-3 record on the season. Jim Makovsky is in his 19th season as the head wrestling coach at Minnesota State with a career record of 224-87-3.

The series: Southwest Minnesota State and MSU Moorhead will meet for the 42nd time in school history in a series that began during the 1983-84 season. The Dragons lead the series 24-16-1. Last season, SMSU earned its first NSIC victory of the season with an 18-16 victory over the Dragons at home.

Southwest Minnesota State and Minnesota State will meet for the 31st time since the 1980-81 season. The Mavericks lead the all-time series 22-8 and have won 20 straight duals over the Mustangs. Last season, the Mavericks earned a 31-6 dual victory over the Mustangs in Mankato.

Probable lineups:

125 – Travis Borchert (11-8)
133 – Justin Reinsma (16-11)
141 – Ethan Hildebrandt (15-8)
149 – Codie Lane (9-12)
157 – Casey Field (1-1) or Josh Anderson (2-12)
165 – Jacob Begin (20-4)
174 – Trent Molacek (6-12)
184 – Andrew Rodas (7-10) or Micah Larson (6-10)
197 – Martin Hagen (15-7)
285 – Brian Rodas (6-4) or Cole Wilson (14-3)

MSU Moorhead
125 – Corey Ulmer (20-2)
133 Graelin Garlington (0-10)
141 Connor MacGregor (5-14)
149 Tyler Steinwand (10-9)
157 Derek Lee (2-11)
165 Jacob Bennett (15-10)
174 Trent Sovde (9-9)
184 Kody Kalkbrenner (4-11)
197 Eric Lehmann (10-9)
285 Gerad Fugleberg (9-13)

Minnesota State
125 – David Demo (20-9)
133 – Brian Reisenauer (10-12)
141 – Robby Fisher (15-7)
149 – Jesse Westphal (21-8)
157 – Tel Todd (25-9)
165 – Cody Quinn (18-4)
174 – Brendan Eichmann (16-11)
184 – Brandon Pederson (15-12)
197 – Derek Hahn (7-13)
285 – Nate Haynes (9-7)