BURNSVILLE, MINN. – The Southwest Minnesota State wrestling team is picked to finish ninth in the annual Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Preseason Coaches’ poll released on Thursday.
St. Cloud State, the eight-time defending NSIC Champion, was chosen once again, as the favorite to win the conference with eight first-place votes and 64 points total. Upper Iowa comes in second at 53 points, Minnesota State at third with 52 points, and one first-place vote, Augustana follows in fourth place with 41 points overall, UMary comes in at fifth with 37 points, Northern State at sixth with 29 points, MSU Moorhead at seventh with 23, Minot State at eighth with 13 and SMSU comes in at ninth with 12.
Jesse Nelson begins his 13th season as head coach of the Mustangs and has 32 athletes on the roster that includes six seniors, three juniors, five sophomores, eight redshirt freshmen and 10 true freshmen. The Mustangs return four wrestlers who competed at the NCAA Super Regional last February.
SMSU’s “Wrestler to Watch”, senior Cole Hennen at 184 pounds, is a three-year conference wrestler with an overall record of 51-36 and is 13-9 in the NSIC. Hennen finished fourth a season ago at the Super Regional finishing 2-2, and has placed at two of the three Super Regionals he has competed in. He recorded two victories in conference matches last season, both decision victories at Minnesota State and in SMSU’s lone conference victory versus MSU Moorhead.
Southwest Minnesota State opens the 2019-20 season this weekend with an intra-squad scrimmage on Saturday. The Brown and Gold Dual will take place at 4 p.m. in the PE Gym. The official season will open on Nov. 9 at the Dakota Wesleyan Open. SMSU will open conference duals on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at St. Cloud State at 7 p.m. in Halenbeck Hall and will have the home opener on Friday. Jan. 10, at 7 p.m. versus Northern State.