photo courtesy of SWMSU athletics
The Mustangs of Southwest Minnesota State just finished their 25th season in NCAA Division II, with the program putting 12 wrestlers on the podium in that time. One National Champion, Link Steffon at 190 in 1998, has represented the Mustangs in Division II, with SMSU competing as a program since 1967. Jesse Nelson is currently at the helm of the Southwest Minnesota State program, and will enter his 14th season with the Mustangs in 2020-21.
“We have a strong passion to be successful in three areas within our program: Academics, Wrestling, and Life,” Nelson said. “We work hard as a staff to provide guidance to our student-athletes in all three areas, which we believe aligns with the NCAA Division II mission of Life in the Balance.”
In total, 47 Mustangs have represented SMSU at the NCAA Division II National Championships, with Jackson Ryan earning a spot in the 197 bracket last season. Ryan returns to Nelson’s squad for next season, along with seven other starters from the 2019-20 season. The SMSU 197 earned his spot at Nationals via a third-place finish at the Super Region 5 Tournament, and will be the lone National Qualifier returning for the Mustangs in 2020-21.
Adding to the eight returning starters, Nelson will have a handful of guys coming off of redshirt for next season, and with the addition of incoming recruits, the Mustangs will look to number around 35 for 2020-21.