Mustangs continue strong start to season, Steffen places second

KEARNEY, Neb. – The Southwest Minnesota State University wrestling team competed in their third open of the season today in Kearney, Neb. at the Younes Hospitality Open. The annual open often hosts some of the strongest talent in the country, this year boasting 20 ranked teams, and around 100 ranked individuals across all divisions.

Caden Steffen began the open with a matchup against Gavin Dodge from Northwest Kansas Tech, who is currently ranked #2 at 197 at the NJCAA level. Steffen secured two takedowns in the first period, before picking up the fall (3:53) victory in the second period. Steffen won his next match by decision to make it into the semifinals. In the semifinals, Steffen would go to overtime at 1-1, before securing a takedown in the first overtime period for a sudden victory. In the finals, Steffen matched up with Camden McDanel (unattached, Nebraska), who won the bronze medal in the U20 World Freestyle Championships in August. Steffen managed three escapes in the match but lost by a 7-3 decision.

Jacob Dykes began his 2023-24 season at the open, in his first match, Dykes lost by fall to the #5 NJCAA heavyweight, C.J. Carter. In the consolation bracket, Dykes earned a major decision victory over a Division I opponent in Andrew Blackburn-Forst (UNCO). In his next match, Dykes faced the #12 ranked heavyweight in division II, Anthony Caldwell. Despite being taken down early, Dykes worked the score to even, before earning a near-fall in the third period, to secure an 11-8 decision victory. In his final match of the open, Dykes lost a 4-2 decision against the #11 ranked heavyweight in Division II, Luke Tweeton.

Adam Sylvester started off strong with a fall (1:34) victory in his first match of the open. Sylvester would then lose by a 13-7 decision to Nebraska’s Ethan DeLeon. In the consolation bracket, Sylvester would pick up a 17-2 tech fall victory. In his next match, Sylvester would get matched up with yet another Division I opponent in Damen Pape, Pape would win the match by tech fall.

Luke Peterson began his season strong, picking up a 7-2 decision victory against a Division I opponent, Air Force’s Reagan Lefevre. In the second round, Peterson would lose a close matchup by 4-2 decision. In the consolation bracket, Peterson would earn a quick fall victory (0:11). In the next round, Peterson would lose another close matchup, losing by 7-6 decision.

“This is exactly what we came here for,” said third-year head coach Chayse Jackson. “Every guy in our lineup was challenged and pushed. We picked up some great wins and learned even more. In one of the largest and most challenging tournaments in the country, we saw success and greatness in every guy we put on the mat. We will take these lessons and put them into effect over the next few weeks as we prepare to open our conference season. Let’s ride.”

UN-Kearney Younes Hospitality Open Results

SMSU Results

Elite Bracket
141 – Hunter Pfantz 0-2
149 – Luke Peterson 2-2
165 – Brandon Lalla 0-2
174 – Elijah Sterner 0-2
184 – Adam Sylvester 2-2
197 – Caden Steffen 3-1
285 – Jacob Dykes 2-2

Amateur Bracket
149 – Jake Messner 2-2
157 – Joseph Anderson 0-2

Unattached Results
157 – Chance Burns 1-2

The Mustangs will return to action with a busy three-day trip. Friday, Dec. 1, SMSU will travel to Bismarck, N.D. to face UMary in its first conference dual meet, the following day, Dec. 2, the team will travel to Minot N.D., to face Minot State in another NSIC dual. SMSU will then compete in the Dragon Open, at MSU Moorhead on Sunday, Dec. 3.

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