MANHEIM, Pa. – After returning to action against Minnesota State this past weekend, the Southwest Minnesota State University wrestling team is ranked No. 22 in the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division II Poll released on Friday.
SMSU is one of seven NSIC schools ranked in the NWCA Top 25, with St. Cloud State leading the way, claiming the No. 5 spot in the rankings, Parkside comes in at No. 7, Upper Iowa lands at No. 10, Augustana and UMary are tied at 14, while Northern State placed at No. 20.
Caden Steffen retained his second-place ranking at 184. The junior wrestler was named the NSIC Wrestler of the Week for the second time this season in December after placing first at the Midwest Classic. On his path to victory at the Midwest Classic, Steffen defeated No. 8 Cole Houser (Glenville State), No. 5 Daniel Beemer (Ashland) and No. 10 (174) Anthony Des Vigne (Central Oklahoma). In Steffen’s latest match, he defeated Minnesota State’s Nicolas Leo by a 6-1 decision, bringing his record to 3-0 in duals this season.
Jacob Dykes landed in the NWCA rankings for the first time this season after he defeated the reigning Division II National Champion and the NWCA’s Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Year in Darrell Mason. Dykes defeated Mason by a 3-1 decision, as he picked up a takedown in the first period and an escape in the third period on the way to the win. Dykes was named NSIC Wrestler of the Week for his win over Mason, the first time in his career he has earned the honor.
The Mustangs return to action on Saturday, Jan. 21, when they travel to Kenosha, Wis., to take on Parkside and to Fayette, Iowa, on Sunday, Jan. 22, to take on Upper Iowa. Both matches are slated to start at 2 p.m. Parkside is currently ranked No. 7, while Upper Iowa is currently placed at No. 10 in the NWCA rankings.