Nelson resigns as SMSU head wrestling coach

MARSHALL, Minn. – Following 14 seasons at Southwest Minnesota State University, head wrestling coach Jesse Nelson announced on Thursday he is resigning his post to pursue an outside professional opportunity.

“I want to thank Chris Hmielewski for taking a chance and hiring me in 2007,” Nelson said. “A big thank you to the rest of the of the SMSU Athletics Department for all of their friendship and mentorship over the past 14 years. The opportunity has been great and has been an amazing ride. I would also like to thank the alumni and my coaching staff for their dedication and passion to Mustang wrestling. Thank you as well to all of the parents and student-athletes that put their faith in me to lead them.”

Nelson, who was named just the fourth head coach in program history on Aug. 22, 2007, groomed 25 national qualifiers—including four two-time qualifiers and three three-time qualifiers—during his tenure. He coached six NCAA All-Americans, including Justin Reinsma in both 2012 and 2013, Jacob Begin in 2015, Cole Wilson in 2016 and Jackson Ryan and Caden Steffen this past season.

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Steffen and Ryan finish fifth and sixth at the National Championship earning All-American honors

ST. LOUIS – Southwest Minnesota State University’s Caden Steffen and Jackson Ryan capped off outstanding seasons at the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships on Saturday afternoon with Steffen placing fifth at 184 pounds, while Ryan finished sixth at 197 pounds.

Steffen and Ryan, who both entered the championship unseeded, earned All-American honors, becoming the program’s first All-Americans since 2016. The program has now produced 14 NCAA All-Americans since 1997.

Caden Steffen started the day off for the Mustangs going against Anderson Salisbury of Colorado School of Mines. Steffen was able to secure a takedown in the first period, an escape in the second, and a Nearfall in the third giving him the victory with an 8-4 decision advancing him to the semifinals in the consolation bracket.

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Ryan and Steffen advance to day two of NCAA Championships; Ryan competes in National Semifinals

INDIANAPOLIS – Southwest Minnesota State finished the first session Friday with Jackson Ryan going 2-0 advancing to the Semifinals upsetting the number two seed, Nicholas Mason the 2019 2019 National Champion, along with taking down the seventh seed in the quarterfinals and earning All-American. Caden Steffen would go 1-1 on the day suffering a loss in the first round and would battle back on the consolation side winning his second-round match by DQ.

Caden Steffen started the Mustangs off by taking on the number one seed at 184, Heath Gray from Central Oklahoma. Steffen would suffer five take downs, three of which he was able to earn escape points on, but ultimately would suffer a 12-3 major decision sending him to the consolation bracket. Steffen would be awarded a bye and would advance to the second round of consolation where he would go against the number seven seed Zebrandon Grant out of Newberry.

Grant would earn a total of three takedowns throughout the match, with Steffen being able to earn escape points on three of them. In the third period Grant led 7-3, with two seconds remaining SMSU called for a flagrant call against Grant and would have him disqualified from the tournament giving Steffen the win and advancing him to the third round of consolation where he’ll take on the number five seed Salisbury Adnerson out of the Colorado School of Mines.

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Mustangs get match-ups for NCAA Championships

INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA Division II wrestling committee has announced the brackets for the 2021 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships set for March 12-13 at America’s Convention Center in St. Louis.

SMSU has a pair of individuals competing with sophomore Caden Steffen at 184 pounds and senior Jackson Ryan at 197 pounds.

Session I is set to begin at 12 p.m. on Friday which includes the first round matches along with championship quarterfinals and two rounds of consolation action. Session II will be on Saturday starting at 12 p.m. with the championships semifinals, third round consolation, consolation semis, and third, fifth and seventh place matches. The championships finals will start at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

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Mustang’s Ryan selected to NCAA Championships; joins Steffen in St. Louis on march 12-13

INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA national wrestling committee announced on Monday Southwest Minnesota State senior wrestler Jackson Ryan has been selected as a wild-card to compete at the upcoming NCAA Championships in St. Louis on March 12-13.

Ryan, a 197-pounder from Inver Grove Heights, Minn., placed third at the NCAA Super Region V Tournament on Saturday in Aberdeen, S.D.

Due to COVID-19, this year’s national qualifiers from each region were trimmed to two per weight class and several wild-card selections. The NCAA allocated a total of 132 individual qualifiers from the six regions in 2021.

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