Top-ranked St. Cloud State wrestling team topples SMSU 25-13

CANBY – On a neutral mat at Canby High School, the Southwest Minnesota State University wrestling team came up against the irresistible force of Division II wrestling.

The Mustangs (11-3 overall, 1-2 NSIC) squared off against the nation’s top-ranked team in St. Cloud State University, winner of 41 straight duals entering Saturday’s contest.

Behind six bout wins, including four major decisions and one pin, the Huskies extended their streak to 42 consecutive dual wins with a 25-13 victory over the Mustangs.

After back-to-back wins by Jacob and Kyle Begin for SMSU, the Mustangs trailed just 18-10 with three bouts remaining. Unfortunately for the Mustangs, they were outscored 7-3 over the final three matches.

“I think our guys came out and fought hard,” SMSU head coach Jesse Nelson said. “It just proves that week in and week out, we can wrestle with anybody. And if we continue to grow and continue to build confidence and do the things we need to do to get better, we can get it done. I think that is basically our theme on the rest of the way out here: let’s get some confidence, get after it, continue to work hard and believe that you can get it done.”

Seventh-ranked Eric Forde picked up the first points of the night for the Huskies, as he picked apart Ed Reno during a 13-1 major decision victory.

No. 5 Justin Reinsma answered back for the Mustangs, however, outscoring Eric Ellington 4-0 in the final period to pick up a 6-4 decision. The nation’s top-ranked grappler at 133, St. Cloud State’s, Andy Pokorny did not compete.

St. Cloud State (17-0, 4-0) responded with a 14-point run over the next three bouts. Matt Nelson scored a 10-2 major decision over Ethan Hildebrandt at 141, while No. 8 Clint Poster outscored Codie Lane 11-2 on his way to a major decision in the 157-pound match. In the middle of those was Josh Howk’s first-period pin of Beau Buysse after two minutes, five seconds.

Jacob Begin ended the Husky run with a 11-0 major decision over Gabe Fogarty, while Kyle Begin scored a 3-0 decision over Ben McPhail to remain unbeaten on the year (13-0).

Second-ranked Shamus O’Grady got the Huskies back on track with a 10-1 major decision over SMSU’s Travis Peralta at 184, but the Mustangs’ Micah Larson scored a late takedown to defeat Mic Berg in a 7-5 decision.

In the last match, Jon Gorter survived some vicious takedown attempts by SCSU’s Caleb White and scored a one-point escape just before the final buzzer to force overtime. Gorter was unable to capitalize in the extra period, however, and lost on White’s two-point takedown in a 4-2 decision.

Despite facing the nation’s top team and potentially five wrestler’s ranked in the Top 10 in their respective weight divisions, the Mustangs never approached the dual with a live to fight another day mentality. Rather, SMSU was aggressive from start to finish against the Huskies.

“We told our guys from the beginning ‘let’s get after it and whatever happens, happens,'” Nelson said. “We wanted to wrestle hard and give our best effort and just go after them.”

The Mustangs have lost two of their last three duals in the Norther Sun Intercollegiate Conference, but will look to get back in the winner’s circle when they host Upper Iowa in the PE Gym on Friday.