SMSU Opens 2020-21 Season at MSU Moorhead

MARSHALL, Minn. – The Southwest Minnesota State wrestling team will compete in its first Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference dual of the 2020-21 season this Thursday competing at No. 25 MSU Moorhead in Moorhead, Minn., starting at 7 p.m.

Thursday’s NSIC dual will be the first of six for the Mustangs this season.

SERIES HISTORY: The series is held by MSU Moorhead with a 27-22-1 lead over SMSU which dates back to 1983. The Mustangs have won the previous two matchups though, with a 24-16 victory at home on Feb. 1, 2019, and a 24-15 victory at Moorhead on Jan. 11, 2020.

SMSU NOTES: Jesse Nelson begins his 14th season as the head coach of the Mustangs and has 30 athletes on the roster that includes one senior, six juniors, 11 sophomores, six redshirt freshmen, and six true freshmen. SMSU returns eight wrestlers who competed at the NCAA Super Region V Championships last February.

Of the eight wrestlers SMSU is returning senior Jackson Ryan who in the DII Preseason Coaches’ Poll is ranked 8th at his weight class of 197. Ryan also qualified for the 2020 NCAA Championships last season. Finishing with 22 victories including a 5-2 record in NSIC duals.

Sophomore Robert Shields at 149 will look to continue his success from last season where he recorded 16 victories including two NSIC duals.

Junior Caden Steffen, a transfer from the University of Minnesota, will look to help the mustangs secure the 184 weight class having 36 victories in open tournaments during his two years at Minnesota.

HEAD COACH JESSE NELSON: Jesse Nelson is in his 14th season as head coach at SMSU in 2020-21. Nelson, the fourth coach in the program history, was hired on Aug. 22, 2007. Nelson, the 2013-14 NSIC Coach of the Year, has a career dual record of 86-102-1, including 34-62 in conference matches. During his tenure, Nelson has groomed 23 national qualifiers—including four two-time qualifiers and three three-time qualifiers—along with 13 All-NSIC honorees. Nelson has coached three NCAA All-Americans, including Justin Reinsma in both 2012 and 2013, Jacob Begin in 2015, and Cole Wilson in 2016.

MSU MOORHEAD NOTES: The Dragon lineup will be led by junior Cole Jones, who missed 2019-20 with an injury. He was an All-American at 125 pounds in 2018-19. He was 29-10 that season and was All-NSIC first-team selection. Junior Braydon Ortloff was a national qualifier at 165 pounds last year after finishing 12-9. He placed third at the Super Region 5 meet. Head coach Kris Nelson is in his 12th season at MSU Moorhead.

Watch on NSIC Network

Probable SMSU Line Up:
125 – Ben Emerich
133 – Jackson Stauffacher
141 – Justin Sampson
149 – Robert Shields
157 – Sean Howk
165 – Carter Marx
174 – Hayden Voxland
184 – Caden Steffen
197 – Jackson Ryan
285 – Jacob Dykes

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