MARSHALL, Minn. – The Southwest Minnesota State wrestling team will open up the 2014-15 season this Saturday at the Dakota Wesleyan Open in Mitchell, S.D., with action getting underway at 9 a.m. SMSU is coming off a 12-5 dual match season a season ago, including a third place finish in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference with a record of 6-2.
Jesse Nelson, the 2013-14 NSIC Coach of the Year, begins his eighth season as head coach of the Mustangs and has more than 35 wrestlers on this season’s roster.
Leading the list of returners for SMSU include three NCAA national qualifiers from last spring, two of which are ranked nationally this preseason.
Senior Jacob Begin finished 25-9 a season ago at 174 pounds and placed fourth at the 2014 NCAA Central Super Regional. Begin, who was the runner-up at 165 pounds at the NCAA Super 3 Regional tournament in 2012-13, tied for the team lead with 12 pins on his way to his second consecutive national qualifying berth. He was a 2013-14 All-NSIC first team honoree after earning All-NSIC second team honors at 165 pounds in 2012-13. He opens this season ranked second in the preseason region rankings and ranked third in the Division II National Wrestling Coaches Association poll.
Senior Cole Wilson tallied a mark of 26-12 at 285 pounds last season and was a first-time national qualifier with a fourth-place finish at the 2014 NCAA Central Super Regional. Wilson, a second team All-NSIC honoree in 2013-14, begins this season ranked third in the preseason region rankings and fourth nationally.
Junior Kyle Begin finished last season 28-9 at 165 pounds and was the runner-up at the 2014 NCAA Central Super Regional. He was the 174-pound regional champion as a true freshman in 2012-13. Begin, a two-time national qualifier, tied for the team lead with 12 pins last season and earned his second consecutive All-NSIC first team honor. Begin enters this season ranked sixth in the preseason region rankings.
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SMSU’s first dual match of the season is Wednesday, Nov. 19, hosting St. John’s at the PE Gym.