Chayse Jackson named head wrestling coach at SMSU

MARSHALL, Minn. – Southwest Minnesota State University Interim Director of Athletics Bruce Saugstad announced on Thursday the hiring of Chayse Jackson as the next head wrestling coach at SMSU.

Jackson comes to SMSU after serving the past three seasons as an assistant coach at Minot State University. Jackson, who becomes just the fifth head coach in the 55-year history of the program, takes over for Jesse Nelson, who announced his resignation on May 6 after 14 seasons as head coach.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chayse as our next head wrestling coach,” Saugstad said. “Chayse was outstanding in the interview process as his philosophy and vision made him the person to lead our program. He has a tremendous work ethic, energy, and passion for the sport which will be invaluable to our student-athletes both on and off the mat. We look forward to Chayse’s leadership to help continue to build on our wrestling tradition.”

Jackson helped Minot State make significant improvements during his three-year tenure. In 2019-20, MSU recorded a Division II-era record six dual wins, as well as victories over three Top 25 programs. The team also received its first-ever Division II national ranking. During his first year on staff in 2018-19, the Beavers had three NWCA Scholar All-Americans, four Super Region V place-winners, and a school-record two national qualifiers.

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Who Wants the SW Minnesota State Head Coaching Job?

And then there was one. There is just one final head coaching gig available in Division II right now. The promotion of three-time Division III finalist Bebeto Yewah to head coach at Davenport University means that only Southwest Minnesota State University is without a leader. The clock is ticking for the Mustangs to add a captain to steer this ship and we have seen no real sense of urgency thus far.

The Mustangs are coming off their best NCAA finish in the last 22 years. This is a program that will return All-Americans in sophomore Cade Steffen and super senior Jackson Ryan. Ryan became the first Mustang to reach the semifinals of the national tournament since Steffen’s father, Link, accomplished the feat in 1998 on his way to winning the only NCAA title for SMSU. This is a team that put two unseeded wrestlers onto the podium in this crazy season and will return them both. What a place to build from!

After the season, Southwest Minnesota State University athletics went through a bit of an upheaval, losing head coach Jesse Nelson and athletics director Chris Hmielewski. That is a recipe for, if not disaster, then at the very least apathy towards locking down a new Mustang coach. That being the case, I feel like I should just go ahead and make the program a perfect landing spot; I have even found them their new head coach.

Why Southwest Minnesota State University? Who better to sell SMSU than their last NCAA champion, Link Steffen? I asked him this question and here is what he had to say. Continue reading at →

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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