Can the Mustangs Take It to the Next Level?

By Matt Krumrie

The Southwest Minnesota State University wrestling team heads into the 2020-2021 season with youthful experience. That is an odd combination for many teams, but that's what you get when you have a team that returns eight regulars with only one senior in the group. Of those eight returnees, five are sophomores, and two are juniors.

"We are a young but experienced team," said head coach Jesse Nelson, now in his 14th season as head coach of the Mustangs. "This team has great leadership as well. If we can stay healthy, it should be an exciting year."

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NSIC Announces 2020-21 Wrestling Schedules

BURNSVILLE, Minn. – The NSIC has announced its wrestling (and basketball) schedules for the 2020-21 academic year. The schedules were approved by the NSIC Board of Directors with the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches, and staff as the top priority. Wrestling schedules will begin in January and schools will follow NCAA Sports Science Institute (SSI) guidelines for competition.

To mitigate COVID-19 exposure, schools will only compete against one opponent each week of the season.

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DII grants winter athletes further season-of-competition relief

Division II winter sport student-athletes who compete during the 2020-21 academic year will receive an additional season of competition through a waiver the Division II Management Council approved this week. In addition, student-athletes eligible for this waiver also will receive an extension of eligibility, according to a waiver previously approved by the Division II Administrative Committee.

The same flexibility was provided to spring sport athletes after their 2020 seasons were canceled and to fall student-athletes after the Division II Championships were canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Previously, the Administrative Committee approved a pair of waivers permitting all student-athletes who competed during the 2020-21 academic year an additional year of eligibility and season-of-competition opportunities if their team completed 50% or less of their sport’s maximum contests/dates of competition. That flexibility still applies for spring sport student-athletes in the 2021 season.

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NSIC Cancels Fall Competition & Championships; Suspends All Sports Competition Through December 31

BURNSVILLE, Minn. – In light of the NCAA Board of Governors’ decision to direct all institutions and conferences to meet specific requirements to conduct fall sports and the NCAA Division II Presidents Council’s announcement that all NCAA Division II fall championships are canceled, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference’s Board of Directors has canceled NSIC fall competition & championships, and has suspended all athletic competition through December 31, 2020.

The NSIC recognizes the value an NCAA championship experience provides for student-athletes and that was a factor in the analysis. However, health and safety concerns prevailed in the league’s decision. Additionally, current recommendations for testing, exposure, and quarantine make it very difficult for a season to be successfully completed at an institution or across the conference without severe disruptions.

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SMSU Adds Transfer To 2020-21 Signing Class

MARSHALL, Minn. – Southwest Minnesota State University head wrestling coach Jesse Nelson announced today that Caden Steffen, a native of Zumbrota, Minn., has transferred from the University of Minnesota and will continue his academic and wrestling career at SMSU.

“Caden will be a great addition to the program,” Nelson said. “Caden’s dedication to the classroom and mat will fit our team goals. We are very excited to have him on board.”

Steffen competed the past two seasons at 184 pounds for the Gopher wrestling program, compiling 36 victories during open tournaments. He finished 17-6 during the 2018-19 season with four wins by fall, five by major decision and one by tech fall. He closed with a 19-10 record in 2019-20, which included a third place finish at the Last Chance Open. Steffen recorded with one win by fall, three by major decision and one by tech fall last season.

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Mustangs add six more signees for 2020-21 season

MARSHALL, Minn. – Southwest Minnesota State University head wrestling coach Jesse Nelson announced the signing of six student-athletes who will continue their academic and wrestling careers at SMSU.

The six newcomers joining the 2020-21 roster include Nye Becker (Browerville, Minn.), Isaac Dixon (Spirit Lake, Iowa), Miles Fitzgerald (Dunnell, Minn.), Tallin Johnson (St. James, Minn.), Caleb Pesta (Long Prairie, Minn.) and Luke Peterson (Farmington, Minn.).

The six signings join Jace Paplow from Dundee, Minn., who signed with SMSU this past November.

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NWCA Division II Coaches Group Announces 2020 All-America Teams

Manheim, PA – The National Wrestling Coaches Association has announced the 2020 Division II All-American teams. Each year the NWCA recognizes the outstanding work of the DII Student-athletes by naming the All-Americans based on their achievements in the national championship, however, this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic the championships were canceled.

All-American honors were based on each wrestler’s overall body of work through the super-regional tournaments and up to the national championships.

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2019-20 NSIC Winter All-Academic Teams Announced

BURNSVILLE, Minn. — The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference announced that 50 wrestlers have earned NSIC All-Academic honors for the 2019-20 winter athletic season; 22 wrestlers were named to the NSIC All-Academic Team of Excellence, while 28 earned NSIC All-Academic Team honors.

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