Begin finishes fourth at the NCAA championships

ST. LOUIS — Southwest Minnesota State wrestler Jacob Begin earned All-American honors last Friday before finishing in fourth place at the 2015 NCAA Division II wrestling championships Saturday at Chaifetz Arena. Begin is the first to receive All-American honors since Justin Reinsma in 2013 and the highest finish since Link Steffen in 1998.

At 174 pounds, senior Jacob Begin entered the championships with a 27-5 record and took on Luke Cramer from Ashland but suffered an opening-round loss by a close 6-5 decision. Begin began his wrestle-back rounds with a bye by forfeit in the first round and followed it with a second round 6-0 decision over Joe Pittman from Newbury to earn his first All-American honor.

SMSU MustangsBegin continued to dual through the wrestle-backs on the final day as he faced Payne Hatter from Ouachita Baptist and advanced to the semifinal round after earning a 10-4 decision, while also recording his 30th win of the season.

In the semifinal, Begin continued his success with a 10-3 decision over John Blankenship of Pitt-Johnstown to go on to dual for a third place finish.

August Mizia from Mercyhurst edged out Begin in the third place bout and Begin’s final collegiate bout with a 1-0 decision after earning the point on riding time. Begin finished his college career with an overall record of 104-32 and 31-7 on the season.

At 285 pounds, senior Cole Wilson entered the championships with a team-best 30-5 record and faced Chris Giddens but suffered a 9-3 decision in the opening round. Wilson entered the wrestle-backs taking on Peter Anguiano from Western State but was inched out by a 5-4 decision to finish the season with a 30-7 record.

First Round Results (March 13)
174 pounds: Luke Cramer (Ashland) over Jacob Begin (SMSU) 6-5 Decision
285 pounds: Chris Giddens (UNC Pembroke) over Cole Wilson (SMSU) 9-3 Decision

First Round (Friday, March 13):
174 pounds: Jacob Begin (SMSU) vs. BYE
285 pounds: Cole WIlson (SMSU) over Damon Sims (Pitt-Johnstown) 10-3 Decision

Second Round (Friday, March 13):
174 pounds: *Jacob Begin (SMSU) over Joe Pittman (Newbury) 6-0 Decision
285 pounds: Peter Anguiano (Western State) over Cole WIlson (SMSU) 5-4 Decision
*Qualified as All-American

Quarterfinals (Saturday, March 14):
174 pounds: Jacob Begin (SMSU) over Payne Hatter (Ouachita Baptist) 10-4 Decision

Semifinals (Saturday, March 14):
174 pounds: Jacob Begin (SMSU) over John Blankenship (Pitt-Johnstown) 10-3 Decision

Third Place Match (Saturday, March 14):
174 pounds: August Mizia (Mercyhurst) over **Jacob Begin (SMSU) 1-0 Decision
**Fourth place

2015 NCAA Division II Championships Results

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