MOORHEAD, Minn.- Southwest Minnesota State’s Caden Steffen became the third wrestler in the program’s DII history to win a regional championship and has qualified for his second consecutive NCAA Championships to lead SMSU at the NCAA Super Region V tournament.
It’s the fifth straight season SMSU has had a national qualifier. The top three finishers at each weight class qualify for the NCAA Championships, with the fourth-place finisher serving as an alternate in the class.
Steffen would start the day off with a bye in the first round. He would finally get a match in the quarterfinals, where he would defeat Gavin Christofferson of MSU 18-4 in a rematch of their sudden victory match on Feb. 13. Steffen would defeat Kolby Kost of Augie 8-4 in the semifinals, moving on to a rematch with Reece Woracheck of Parkside after a sudden victory match on Feb. 11. Steffen would shut down any debates, winning 3-1 in the finals to solidify his spot in Mustang history.
SMSU was able to advance seven of the 10 wrestlers into the quarterfinals with six of the seven awarded byes in the first round, as Justin Sampson would knock off No. 11 Kolton Roth of Northern State 9-5 in the only SMSU first-round victory. Hunter Pfantz would lose by major decision at 133, and Carter Marx would lose 3-2 in the third tiebreaker against Tanner Wiese of Northern State.
In the championship quarterfinals, SMSU would earn three victories, with Steffen being joined by Stauffacher (5-3 victory over Landon Fischer) and Jacob Dykes (by fall at 1:53 over Jordan Will). Sampson and Lucas Hodges would lose decisions, Dillon McEachran would lose by major decision, and Robert Shields would lose by tech fall to send them into the consolation rounds at their respective weights.
Pfantz would earn a victory in the second round of the consolation side over Cole Jones of MSUM by decision, while Hodges and Marx would each lose major decisions in their final matches of the day.
Stauffacher would lose by decision against Joe Arroyo of UWP and Dykes would lose a tight decision against All-NSIC first team 285 Darrell Mason of MSU, while Steffen would move on to the championship round.
The Mustangs would end up with four wrestlers battling for top-five positioning, with Stauffacher wrestling for an NCAA berth and Steffen wrestling for the championship.
Stauffacher would kick off the last rounds against Jaxson Rohman of Augustana, losing a close decision to finish fourth and earning a spot as an NCAA alternate at 125 pounds.
Following Steffen’s victory, McEachran would match up with Rodsean Graham of UWP, going into overtime tied 1-1 before losing by fall. Dykes would round out the action, losing by decision to Will, giving both him and McEachran sixth-place finishes.
As a team, SMSU placed eighth, scoring 41.5 points.
“Today was a day to remember.” Said Chayse Jackson. “The team showed fight and heart through every round and every match. With 4 placers, a region champ, and an alternate, we showed we are team that can contend. As a young team, we still have a lot of growing pains, but today showed we are on the right track. Caden still has work to do, and the team and the staff will stand behind him as he makes a push further into post-season.”
Championship First Round
125 – Jackson Stauffacher (10-2) BYE
133 – Hunter Pfantz (10-11) loses by major decision, 10-0, to Jack Huffman, Augustana
141 – Justin Sampson (1-4) wins by decision, 8-5, to Kolton Roth, Northern State
149 – Robert Shields (8-10) BYE
157 – Lucas Hodges (8-12) BYE
174 – Carter Marx (11-9), loses by decision 3-2 TB-3 to Tanner Wiese, Northern State
184 – No. 4 Caden Steffen (16-1) BYE
197 – Dillon McEachran (10-10) BYE
285 – Jacob Dykes (10-7) BYE
125 – Jackson Stauffacher (10-2) wins by decision 5-3, over Landen Fischer, Northern State
141 – Justin Sampson loses by decision, 6-2, to Brock Luthens, Minnesota State
149 – Robert Shields loses by tech fall, 17-0, to Wyatt Turnquist, Northern State
157 – Lucas Hodges loses by decision, 10-4, to Anthony Herrera, St. Cloud State
184 – No. 4 Caden Steffen (16-1) wins by major decision, 18-4, over Gavin Christofferson, Minnesota State
197 – Dillon McEachran (10-10) loses by major decision, 9-0, to Daniel Bishop, Augustana
285 – Jacob Dykes (10-7) wins by fall at 1:53 over Jordan Will, Minot State
Consolation Second Round
133 – Hunter Pfantz wins by decision, 11-4, over Cole Jones, MSU Moorhead
157 – Lucas Hodges loses by major decision, 10-0, to Cooper Siebrecht, Minnesota State
174 – Carter Marx loses by major decision, 12-0, to Max Bruss, UMary
125 – Jackson Stauffacher loses by decision, 6-1, to Joe Arroyo, Parkside
184 – Caden Steffen wins by decision, 8-4, over Kolby Kost, Augustana
285 – Jacob Dykes loses by decision, 5-2, over Darrell Mason, Minnesota State
Consolation Third Round
133 – Hunter Pfantz loses by fall at 1:51 to Joe Roti, Parkside
141– Justin Sampson loses by fall at 3:38 to Tate Murty, Upper Iowa
149 – Robert Shields loses by decision, 9-3, to Eric Faught, Upper Iowa
197 – Dillon McEachran wins by decision, 8-5, over Dylan Butts, Minnesota State
Consolation Fourth Round
125 – Jackson Stauffacher wins by decision, 10-2, over Oscar Nellis, Minot State
197 – Dillon McEachran loses by decision, 8-2, to Matt Kaylor, UMary
197 – Dillon McEachran loses by fall at 6:00 to Rodsean Graham, Parkside
285 – Jacob Dykes loses by decision, 6-1, to Jordan Will, Minot State
125 – Jackson Stauffacher loses by decision, 6-4, to Jaxson Rohman, Augustana
184 – Caden Steffen wins by decision, 3-1, over Reece Woracheck, Parkside