MARSHALL, Minn. – Southwest Minnesota State University head wrestling coach Jesse Nelson announced the signing of seven student-athletes for the 2012-13 wrestling season on Friday.
Tyler Adams (Wasilla, Alaska), Kyle Begin (Anoka, Minn.), Stephen Ellis (Anchorage, Alaska), Cody Fritz (Solon, Iowa), Travis Longtin (Minneota, Minn.), Cody Reed (Flandreau, S.D.) and Caleb Smothers (Manson, Iowa) have all signed letters of intent and will continue their academic and athletic careers this fall at SMSU.
Adams, who will graduate from Wasilla High School this spring, is a four-year letterwinner and is a four-time state qualifier. Adams is a two-time Alaska State Champion picking up titles junior and senior year. He was the team captain as a senior and earned all-conference and all-region honors. Adams was also a 2011 USA Wrestling Junior Division Alaska Triple Crown Champion picking up titles in Freestyle, Greco/Roman and Folkstyle.
“We expect Tyler’s work ethic to play a major factor in his transition to collegiate wrestling,” Nelson said. “We feel that Tyler will challenge for a starting position in one of our middle weight classes right away.”
Begin was a six-year letterwinner and three-time state qualifier at Anoka High School. He won a pair of state championships in both 2011 (160) and 2012 (170). His brother Jacob was a sophomore for SMSU this past season and finished with a record of 22-6.
“We believe Kyle was one of the best wrestlers in the state of Minnesota this year,” Nelson said. “He will be joining his brother Jacob here, and we expect big things from him.”
Ellis, prepped at Service High School in Anchorage, Alaska, and was a four-year letterwinner and a three-time Alaska State Champion. Ellis won titles at 189 pounds in 2009 and 2010 before picking up the state title at 195 pounds as a senior in 2012. He was a member of the 2012 Alaska State Championship wrestling team and was named his team’s most outstanding wrestler. Ellis has also earned four letters in football and was a member of state championship teams in 2008 and 2011 and was named Maxpreps.com Alaska Defensive Player of the Year in 2011.
“Stephen was a very decorated high school wrestler and could make an immediate impact on our lineup,” Nelson said. “Stephen proved he is one of the best wrestlers in the nation at his weight class by placing sixth place at high school senior nationals in Virginia Beach. We are very excited to see what he can do at the next level.”
Fritz, a senior at Solon High School, was a four-year letterwinner with a career record of 154-24. He was a two-time conference champion and was a second-place finisher in the state tournament in 2012. Fritz’s was 46-1 as a senior with his lone loss coming in the state championship bout.
“Cody had a very successful high school career,” Nelson said. “We think he has the potential to make an immediate impact with our program.”
Longtin, a senior at Minneota High School, was a five-year letterwinner and was a member of three third-place finishing teams at the state tournament. Longtin recorded a record of 37-12 as a senior and participated in the 2012 state tournament. He earned four letters in football and was a member of two state tournament teams including a state championship team in 2009.
“Travis is a standout area wrestler,” Nelson said. “He comes from an excellent high school program and will add depth to our middle weights.”
Reed, who was a two-sport athlete at Flandreau Public High School, was a six-year letterwinner and five-time state qualifier. Reed placed four times in the South Dakota State tournament picking up second, third, fourth and fifth place finishes. He finishes his career with 231 wins, including 142 by fall.
“Cody won more than 230 matches in high school,” Nelson said. “He knows how to win and we expect that to continue with his collegiate career.”
Smothers, who prepped at Manson Northwest Webster High School, was a four-year letterwinner and a three-time state qualifier. He finished fourth in the state as a senior and participated in the Disney Duals three times during his career. Smothers finished his four-year career with a record of 129-55.
“Caleb is a very hard worker with a lot of potential to grow,” Nelson said. “We think he will be a great fit for our program.”
Southwest Minnesota State is an NCAA Division II school located in Marshall and competes in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. SMSU finished the 2011-12 season with a 10-6 dual record, including a 3-4 fourth-place finish in the NSIC standings. The 10 dual victories were the most for the program since the 2002-03 season.