Mustang momentum builds, Steffen places first at DWU Open

MITCHELL, S.D. – The Southwest Minnesota State University wrestling team competed in their second open of the season today in Mitchell, S.D. at the Dakota Wesleyan Open. The Mustangs saw five place winners at the open, earning 26 wins and over 40 takedowns.

Caden Steffen began his 2023-24 season off strong at 197 lbs, Steffen pinned Shane Hansen (Minot State) with 35 seconds remaining in the second round. From there, Steffen earned a 7-4 decision win over Augustana’s Zach Peterson and a 16-0 tech fall against Northern State’s Ryan Hirschkorn, to earn a spot in the championship match at 197. Steffen matched up against Tereus Henry, who is currently the ranked third at 197 lbs in Division 2, Steffen dominated the match, picking up a decisive 10-4 decision victory.

Lucas Hodges and Adam Sylvester both competed at 184 lbs for the Mustangs. Hodges began the open with a fall victory 1:35 into his first match over Minot State’s Marcus Allen. Hodges would follow that up with a sudden victory in his second match, a 10-8 decision in his third match and another sudden victory in his fourth match to earn a spot in the championship match at 184. Hodges lost by tech fall to Alex Munoz, placing second at 184.

Sylvester began the open with a 17-1 tech fall victory over Minot State’s Mario Esposito, before losing a 6-3 decision to Tyson Lien (Northern State). In the consolation bracket, Sylvester was able to put together a strong run, picking up a 4-2 decision victory, a 13-5 major decision and another 4-2 decision victory to earn a rematch against Tyson Lien in the third-place match. The second chance was all that Sylvester needed, as he was able to avenge his previous loss, earning a 9-5 decision victory to claim third place at 184.

After receiving a bye in the first round, Carlo Arreola started the open strong, earning a fall victory in just 50 seconds. Arreola followed that up with an 11-5 decision victory. In his third match, Arreola was matched up against Jaxson Rohman (Augustana) who is the top ranked wrestler at 125 lbs, Rohman defeated Arreola by tech fall. Arreola advanced in the consolation bracket by a no contest, before losing the third-place match by 12-7 decision to place fourth.

Caden Young wrestled unattached at the open at 165 lbs. Young earned an 8-1 decision in his first match. In his second match, Young faced off with Garrett Willuweit, despite scoring three points in the final period, Young was unable to overcome the deficit he faced, losing by 4-3 decision. In the consolation bracket, Young earned 11-2 and 14-4 major decision victories before losing by an 11-7 decision. In the fifth place match, Young had a rematch with Willuweit, Young earned a 9-1 major decision victory to place fifth at the open.

“Today the team made a statement,” said third-year head coach Chayse Jackson. Our veterans showed up and wrestled hard for their first open of the year, and our younger wrestlers continued to impress. We were aggressive, yet controlled, and made improvements every match of the day. This is a great start to the year. I can’t wait to see how they continue to improve throughout the year.”

Dakota Wesleyan Open Results

SMSU Results
125 – Carlo Arreola 2-2 (4th place)
149 – Jake Messner 0-2
149 – Cole Race (0-2
157 – Joseph Anderson 0-2
157 – Sean Howk 1-2
165 – Alex Ibanez 0-2
165 – Brandon Lalla 0-2
174 – Elijah Sterner 1-2
184 – Lucas Hodges 4-1 (2nd Place)
184 – Adam Sylvester 6-1 (3rd Place)
197 – Caden Steffen 4-0 (1st Place)

Unattached Results
133 – AJ Polansky 1-2
157 – Chance Burns 1-2
165 – Ashton LaBelle 1-2
165 – Caden Young 4-2 (5th place)
197 – Kody Marschner 1-2

The Mustang wrestling team will return to action for another open next weekend when they travel to Kearney, Neb. for the Younes Hospitality Open, the open is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

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