Mustangs wrap up US Open Championships

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The Mustangs completed competition in Las Vegas at the USMC U.S. Open Championships on Saturday and Sunday, as Caden Steffen finished fourth in the 86-kilogram Freestyle to lead SMSU.

Steffen rattled off an impressive weekend of competition, going 4-2 on the weekend including a win over former DI NWCA All-American and SoCon Champion Andrew Morgan and DI NCAA Qualifier and SoCon Champion Caleb Hopkins in the tournament. With the performance, Steffen now locks in his spot for the Senior World Team Trials later this month in Coralville, Iowa as he continues to pursue the opportunity of making a World Team.

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Nine Mustangs prepare for US Open in Las Vegas

Nine current SMSU wrestlers are heading to Las Vegas this weekend for the US Open in Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling.

Seven Mustangs will be wrestling in both the Freestyle and Greco-Roman events. Two-time All-American and Super Region V Champion Caden Steffen (86kg, 87kg) headlines the list, with Hunter Pfantz (57kg, 60kg), Sean Howk (70kg, 72kg), Tyler Soltau (70kg, 72 kg) Tallin Johnson (74kg, 72kg), Carter Marx (86kg, 82kg), and Kevin Bostwick (86kg, 87kg) competing in each event, beginning with Freestyle on Friday, April 29.

Justin Sampson (61kg) is the lone Mustang competing in Freestyle only. Ben Emrich (55kg) is wrestling in just Greco-Roman, which begins Saturday, April 30. Graduate assistant coach Dylan Buschow (97kg) will also be competing in Greco-Roman.

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SMSU’s Howk and Shields earn NWCA Scholar Award

MANHEIM, Pa. – Southwest Minnesota State University wrestlers Sean Howk and Robert Shields have been named National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division II Scholar All-Americans announced on Friday morning.

In order to qualify for the NCAA Division II Scholar All-America Team, student-athletes must have a minimum 3.5 cumulative grade point average on a 4.0 scale and compete in a minimum of four dates of competition.

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Reker, Skillings to be inducted into the Minnesota Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame

MARSHALL, Minn. – Former Southwest Minnesota State University wrestler Jerry Reker and current SMSU assistant wrestling coach Joel Skillings will be inducted into the Minnesota Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame on April 23 in Austin, Minn. Reker and Skillings will both be receiving the Lifetime Service Award.

Reker was a four-year letter winner in both football and wrestling at SMSU, earning All-America honors in wrestling in 1975. He was a two-time team Most Valuable Wrestler in both 1974 and 1975. He was inducted into the SMSU Athletics Hall of Honor in 1992.

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NSIC Announces All-Academic Team With 10 Mustang Wrestlers Recognized

BURNSVILLE, Minn. — The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference has announced the 2021-22 Winter All-Academic team with ten Southwest Minnesota State University wrestlers being recognized during the winter season.

To be eligible for the NSIC All-Academic Team, members must have a 3.20 cumulative GPA or higher, while to be named to the NSIC All-Academic Team of Excellence, a student-athlete must have a 3.60 cumulative GPA or higher.

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Steffen finishes sixth at NCAA Championships to wrap up wrestling season

SAINT LOUIS, Mo. – Caden Steffen (22-4) finished sixth at 184 pounds after going 1-2 on the second day and 3-3 overall at the NCAA Wrestling Championships inside the Chaifetz Center in St. Louis on Saturday afternoon.

Steffen opened his day with seventh-seeded Anderson Salisbury of Colorado School of Mines, with each wrestler recording an escape to go into overtime tied 1-1. Steffen would prevail with 1:12 left in the overtime period, recording a takedown to earn the victory and advance to the next round.

Steffen’s next match would be against third-seeded Billy Higgins of Nebraska-Kearney, with the winner advancing to the third-place match. After a second period escape to take a 1-0 lead into the third, Steffen would run into trouble, giving up an early escape and then a takedown with 55 seconds left. He then would get put on his back, giving up four near-fall points to put the match out of reach. Steffen would escape with just under 30 seconds left, but it wouldn’t be enough to move past Higgins, putting Steffen into the fifth-place match-up.

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