Four Mustangs’ title hopes begin on Friday at NCAA tournament

Four Southwest Minnesota State wrestlers qualified for the NCAA Division II wrestling championships by placing in the top five at the NCAA Division II Central Super Regional in Edmond, Okla., last weekend. The national tournament is hosted by Ashland University in Cleveland, Ohio, from March 14-15. SMSU qualified four wrestlers last year with Justin Reinsma claiming seventh place at 133 pounds. SMSU has only one National title at the NCAA Division II level — Link Steffen at 190 pounds in 1998.

SMSU MustangsCENTRAL SUPER REGIONAL RECAP
Four Southwest Minnesota State wrestlers punched their NCAA tournament qualifying ticket on day two of the NCAA Central Super Regional hosted by the University of Central Oklahoma. The top five wrestlers at each weight class qualify for the tournament that will be held March 14-15, in Cleveland, Ohio. Kyle Begin became the first wrestler to qualify for the NCAA tournament by winning his first three bouts at the Super Regional. Begin fell in the championship bout to (3) Chris Watson (UCO). Begin won the 174 pound crown last year at the Super Region 3 tournament. Justin Reinsma also qualified at 133 pounds with five wins and two losses to place fourth. It marks the third straight season Reinsma has qualified for the NCAA tournament. Jacob Begin (174) was the third Mustang to qualify as he earned a third place finish by defeated (7) Connor Monk (MSUM) by technical fall-5 at 4:54 15-0. Begin qualified for the NCAA tournament last year at 165 pounds. Cole Wilson avenged an earlier season loss to (3) Logan Hopp (UIU) with a 4-0 decision in the consolation semifinals. The win qualified the 285-pounder for his first NCAA tournament as he went on to place fourth.

Travis Peralta, a national qualifier at 184 last season, went 1-2 and was eliminated on the first day. Peralta, the No. 7 seed, was eliminated by Matthew Lewellen (MSUM) in the consolation second round after winning his first bout and falling in the championship second round. Antonio Meikel (125), Ethan Hildebrandt (141), Beau Buysse (149), Codie Lane (157), Peralta (184), and Micah Larson (197) were eliminated at their respective weight classes.

BRACKETOLOGY
Justin Reinsma (31-12) finished fourth at the NCAA Central Super Regional and earned a No. 4 seed in the upcoming NCAA Division II wrestling championships. Reinsma, a two-time All-American, will wrestle No. 1 seed Michael Labry of Ashland. Labry is 32-4 as a sophomore and is ranked second at 133 pounds overall in the latest NCAA rankings. Reinsma finished seventh last year at nationals by going 3-2 with wins over Lino Estrada (Grand Canyon), Zachary Hale (Anderson, S.C.), and Perry McAfee (Chadron State).

Kyle Begin (27-7) earned a runner-up finish at the NCAA Central Super Regional and received a No. 2 seed in the upcoming NCAA Division II wrestling championships. Begin, who took the 174 pound Super Regional 3 crown last season, will wrestle Austin Harris (13-8) of Western State in the first round of the 165 pound bracket. Begin opened his first look at the national tournament with a pin of Ray Hall (CSU-Pueblo), but dropped his next two matches and was eliminated.

Jacob Begin (24-7) placed fourth at the NCAA Central Super Regional and pulled a No. 4 seed versus Brendan McKeown (19-3) of East Stroudsburg in the first round of the 174 pound bracket at the upcoming NCAA Division II wrestling championships. Begin went 1-2 last year at the national tournament with a 4-2 win over Keith Ryan (Pitt.-Johnstown), but fell to Chris Watson (Central Oklahoma) and Justin Samora (Adams State).

Cole Wilson (25-10) will be making his first appearance in the upcoming NCAA Division II wrestling championships as the junior qualified with a fourth place finish at the NCAA Central Super Regional in Edmond, Okla., on Feb. 28 – March 1. Wilson (25-10), the No. 4 seed at 285 pounds, will wrestle the No. 1 overall seed and undefeated Ziad Haddad of Kutztown (22-0).

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