Steffen ready for NCAA Championships

MARSHALL, Minn. – Caden Steffen will represent the Mustangs at the 2024 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships, which will be held March 15-16 at Hartman Arena in Park City, Kan.

Session I is set to begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, which includes the preliminaries and first-round matches. Session II will begin on Friday at 5 p.m. with the championship quarterfinals, as well as the first and second rounds of the consolation bracket. On Saturday, Session III will begin at 10 a.m. and includes the championship semifinals, third-round consolations, and the consolation semifinals. Session IV will be the championship finals and is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Steffen is making his third trip to the NCAA championships after earning all-American honors in 2021 and 2022. This season, Steffen is 20-2 overall and punched his ticket to nationals after placing second at the NCAA Super Region V Tournament in Minot, N.D. on March 2. Steffen went 2-1 at the regional, defeating Cameron Lopez (UIU) and Cannon Potts (Minot) before losing the championship match to Dominic Murphy (SCSU).

Caden Steffen earned the fourth seed at the NCAA tournament. His first match will be against McKendree’s Logan Kvien, who is 15-13 this year. Kvien went 4-1 at the Super Region IV Tournament, with his only loss being a 4-3 decision to Dalton Abney, who has won the last two national championships at 197 pounds.

Since moving to Division II in 1996, SMSU has had 50 individuals qualify for the NCAA Championships, 14 All-Americans, and one national champion. Caden’s father, Link Steffen, is SMSU’s lone NCAA national champion, capturing the 190-pound title in 1998.

Preview of the participants at 197

Number 1 Seed – Dalton Abney, Central Oklahoma (14-0 overall, 7-0 vs national participants)
Abney has won the past two national championships at 197 pounds. Abney also placed second at 197 in 2021, defeating SMSU’s Jackson Ryan in the championship semifinals, and earned All-American honors in 2020 after the tournament was canceled.

Number 2 Seed Derek Blubaugh, Indianapolis (30-2 overall, 4-1 vs national participants)
Blubaugh has placed second in each of the last two national championships at 197 pounds.

Number 3 seed – Dominic Murphy, St. Cloud State (18-3 overall, 5-2 vs national participants)
Murphy placed fourth at 197 at last year’s national championship.

Number 4 seed – Caden Steffen, SMSU (18-2 overall, 5-1 vs national participants)
Steffen is a two-time All-American at 184 pounds; this is his first season competing at 197 pounds.

Number 5 seed – Dakoda Rodgers, Pitt-Johnstown (29-2 overall, 4-2 vs national participants)
Rodgers went 1-2 at last year’s national championships, defeating Lander’s Anthony Yacovetti but losing to Tereus Henry (Fort Hays State) and Logan Kvien (McKendree).

Number 6 seed – Tereus Henry, Fort Hays State (26-7 overall, 4-4 vs national participants)
Henry will be making his fourth appearance in the NCAA tournament after going 5-1 at the NCAA championships in 2023 and placing third at 197.

Number 7 seed – Max Ramberg, Augustana (22-8 overall, 0-7 vs national participants)
Ramberg is making his first NCAA championships appearance this year.

Number 8 Seed – Jackson Kinsella, Nebraska-Kearney (19-6 overall, 4-3 vs national participants)
Kinsella is making his first NCAA championships appearance this year.

Unseeded Participants
Trever Begin, Mercyhurst (14-2 overall, 1-2 vs national participants)
Gabe Carranza (25-7 overall, 1-4 vs national participants)
Mason Christian, West Liberty (27-9 overall, 1-4 vs national participants)
Nicholas Johnson, Glenville State (13-5 overall, 4-3 vs national participants)
Logan Kvien, McKendree (15-13 overall, 2-4 vs national participants)
Ethan Lopez, King (11-5 overall, 0-2 vs national participants)
Wyatt McIntyre, Kutztown (4-1 overall, 0-1 vs national participants)
Wyatt Miller Grand Valley State (28-5 overall, 2-3 vs national participants)
John Parker-Wilson, Newberry (27-5 overall, 1-3 vs national participants)
Jack Trautman III, Limestone (9-8 overall, 2-1 vs national participants)

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