Steffen and Ryan finish fifth and sixth at the National Championship earning All-American honors

ST. LOUIS – Southwest Minnesota State University’s Caden Steffen and Jackson Ryan capped off outstanding seasons at the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships on Saturday afternoon with Steffen placing fifth at 184 pounds, while Ryan finished sixth at 197 pounds.

Steffen and Ryan, who both entered the championship unseeded, earned All-American honors, becoming the program’s first All-Americans since 2016. The program has now produced 14 NCAA All-Americans since 1997.

Caden Steffen started the day off for the Mustangs going against Anderson Salisbury of Colorado School of Mines. Steffen was able to secure a takedown in the first period, an escape in the second, and a Nearfall in the third giving him the victory with an 8-4 decision advancing him to the semifinals in the consolation bracket.

Steffen would face the fourth seed, Dan Filipek out of McKendree. Filipek was able to catch Steffen and earn a Fall 17 seconds into the match. The defeat would move Steffen into the fifth-place match going against Maryville’s Bailey Kelly. Steffen had a strong first period earning two takedowns and a Nearfall. He would earn another takedown in the second period along with an escape point, and would finish the third period earning two points, one from stalling and the other from riding time. Giving Steffen the 10-3 decision and placing him fifth at 184 and finishing 11-5 overall in his 2020-21 season.

Jackson Ryan opened Session Two in the championship semifinal match going up against Central Oklahoma’s Dalton Abney. The first two periods were scoreless, Abney would elect down going into the third and was able to escape from Ryan. Abney also earned a point off of riding time, having Ryan suffer a 2-0 decision and move him to the consolation side of the bracket.

Ryan would be put right into the consolation semifinals where he was up against Nebraska-Kearney’s Joseph Reimers, Ryan would lead at the end of the first period earning two take downs with a 4-2 advantage. Reimers would earn an escape, a takedown, and a four-point Nearfall putting Reimers up 9-4. He than go onto earn 10 more points, defeating Ryan in a Tech Fall (19-4) with 13 seconds left in the final period.

Ryan would move to battle for fifth place, where he was up against the sixth seed Donald Negus out Colorado Mesa. The first period would go scoreless between the two wrestlers. Negus would elect down going into the second period and was able to escape Ryan would than earn a takedown with five seconds left in the second period giving him the 2-1 advantage. Ryan would earn an escape point giving him a 3-1 advantage but Negus would respong with a takedown tying the match and would secure the victory with a point of riding time. Ryan finished sixth at 197 and 10-4 overall in the 2020-21 season.

Friday, March 12

Championship First Round
184 | Caden Steffen (SMSU) 8-3, loss (major decision, 12-3) vs. (1) Heath Gray (Central Oklahoma) 9-0
197 | Jackson Ryan (SMSU) 8-1, wins (decision,10-8) vs. (2) Nicholas Mason (Tiffin) 7-1

Championship Quarterfinals
197 | Jackson Ryan (SMSU) 9-1, wins (decision, 10-6) vs. Joel Leise (Gannon) 4-2

Consolation Round 1
184 | Caden Steffen – BYE

Consolation Round 2
184 | Caden Steffen (SMSU) 9-4, wins (disqualication) vs. ZeBrandon Gant (Newberry) 4-3

Saturday, March 13

Consolation Round 3
184 | Caden Steffen (SMSU) 10-4, wins (decision, 8-4) vs. Anderson Salisbury (Colorado School of Mines) 6-1

Championship Semifinals
197 | Jackson Ryan (SMSU) 10-2 loss (decision, 2-0) vs. (3) Dalton Abney (Central Oklahoma) 11-1

Consolation Semifinals
184 | Caden Steffen (SMSU) 10-4 loss by Fall (17 sec.) vs. (4) Dan Filipeck (McKendree) 9-2
197 | Jackson Ryan (SMSU) 10-2 loss by Tech Fall (19-4) vs. Joseph Reimers (Nebraska-Kearney) 15-3

Fifth Place Matches
184 | Caden Steffen (SMSU) 11-5 wins (10-3 decision) vs. Bailey Kelly (Maryville Mo.) 8-4
197 | Jackson Ryan (SMSU) 10-4 loss (4-3 decision) vs. Donald Negus (Colorado Mesa) 12-3

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