MUSTANG HOOFPRINTS: During SMSU break, spring teams hit the road

Hello Mustang fans!

Next week, Southwest Minnesota State University students will be on spring break and that means our spring sports teams are traveling to warmer climates to compete in non-conference contests. The Mustang baseball and women’s tennis teams will be heading to Arizona, while softball and women’s golf will be traveling to Florida.

Drown SMSU Golf Classic

Save the date!

The 29th annual David and Carol Drown SMSU Golf Classic will be held June 20 at the Marshall Golf Club. The Drown SMSU Golf Classic is the Mustang Booster Club’s next fundraising event. The Drown SMSU Golf Classic Committee will be convening in the next few weeks to begin the planning for this great event.

Online

For all your information on Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and NCAA Division II postseason competition, the Mustang Booster Club and SMSU athletics, visit our website: www.smsumustangs.com.

Upcoming SMSU athletics events

Wrestling

The SMSU wrestling team (12-5 overall, 6-2 NSIC) qualified four wrestlers for the NCAA tournament on the second day of the NCAA Individual Wrestling Central Super Region 3 Tournament, which was hosted Friday and Saturday by the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmund, Okla.

The top five wrestlers at each weight class qualify for the national tournament that will be held March 14-15, in Cleveland, Ohio.

Kyle Begin became the first wrestler to qualify for the NCAA tournament by winning his first three bouts at the Super Region 3 Tournament. Begin fell in the championship bout to No. 3-ranked Chris Watson (Central Oklahoma). Begin won the 174-pound crown last year at the Super Region 3 Tournament.

At 133, Justin Reinsma also qualified with five wins and two losses to place fourth. This year is the third straight season Reinsma, a native of Slayton, has qualified for the NCAA tournament.

At 174, Jacob Begin was the third Mustang to qualify, earning a third-place finish by defeating No. 7-ranked Connor Monk (Minnesota State-Moorhead) with a 15-0 technical fall at 4 minites, 54 seconds. Begin qualified for the NCAA tournament last year at 165 pounds.

Cole Wilson avenged an earlier season loss to No. 3-ranked Logan Hopp (Upper Iowa) with a 4-0 decision in the consolation semifinals. The win qualified Wilson for his first NCAA tournament en route to a fourth place regional finish.

Congratulations and the best of luck to head coach Jesse Nelson and our four wrestlers next week at the NCAA Division II Individual Wrestling National Championships!

Men’s Basketball

The SMSU men’s basketball team (19-12) suffered a 68-57 loss to No. 15-ranked Minnesota State in the semifinals of the NSIC/Sanford Health Tournament on Monday.

The Mustangs were not ranked in this week’s NCAA Division II Central Region rankings with the final region rankings scheduled to be released Sunday.

Monday’s contest was the final game for four Mustang seniors – Vinard Birch, William Giddings, Nick Smith and Matt Zager.

Women’s Basketball

The Mustang women’s basketball team (4-23) lost a first-round game in the NSIC/Sanford Health Tournament 73-45 at Northern State.

SMSU entered the tournament as the No. 8 seed in the South Division, while the Wolves were the top seed in the North Division and held the home-court advantage.

Last Wednesday’s game was the final one for five Mustang seniors – Bree Holleman, Jessie Watts, Rebekah Rolling, Hannah Beeler and Alison Nagel.

We appreciate all the hard work and dedication of our seniors on the men’s and women’s basketball teams, wish them the best of luck as they graduate from SMSU and move on to the next phases of their lives.

Wheelchair Basketball

SMSU competes at 3 p.m. today at the National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament Championships in a first round game against the University of Alabama in Arlington, Texas.

The Mustangs (14-15) enter the tournament as the No. 6 seed in the seven-team tournament. SMSU faces No. 3 seed Alabama at the Mavericks Activities Center at the University of Texas-Arlington.

Alabama defeated SMSU 53-37 in the only meeting between the teams this season. If SMSU were to defeat the Crimson Tide, it plays the winner of a game between Wisconsin-Whitewater and Edinboro, Pa., University at 1 p.m. Friday. If SMSU loses to Alabama, it plays at 11 a.m. Friday against the Wisconson-Whitewater and Edinboro loser.

The National Wheelchair Basketball Championships has seven competing teams, including the Alabama, Edinboro, Illinois, Wisconsin-Whitewater, Missouri, Texas-Arlington and SMSU.

Indoor Track and Field

The SMSU men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams concluded the NSIC Championships on Saturday with a strong performance at the Gillett Recreation/Fitness Center at Bemidji State University.

In the men’s competition, the Mustangs had three individuals advance to the finals, following Friday’s preliminary events.

Alejandro Sanchez recorded a personal best and an NCAA provisional time of 1:53.75 to finish second in the 800-meter run, while Jay Schneider earned a fifth-place finish in the 60 dash in 7.11 seconds. Also on Saturday, O.J. Ojullu finished seventh in the 600 run in 1:23.40.

Alex Weis had a personal best in the weight throw, finishing 12th in the prelims with a toss of 50 feet, 4 1/2 inches. The SMSU men’s 1,600 relay team of Austin LaFollette, Ojullu, Sanchez and Chris Kveseth had a strong showing to take fifth place in 3:24.13.

In the women’s competition, Rylee Armstrong advanced to the finals in the triple jump before finishing ninth with a leap of 35-6 1/2. The Mustang women’s 1,600 relay team finished 12th in 4:17.

SMSU begins training for its outdoor season, which begins March 29 at the Dakota State Open in Madison, S.D.

Women’s Tennis

The SMSU women’s tennis team (2-5, 1-4 NSIC) travels to Mesa, Ariz., for seven non-conference matches, starting Tuesday against the Arizona Christian University.

On road trip, the Mustangs will compete against Dallas Baptist; Our Lady of the Lake University; Dixie State, Utah; Mesa, Ariz., Community College; University of the Southwest (New Mexico) and Colorado-Mesa.

SMSU continues its NSIC schedule March 22 at Bismarck, N.D., where it will compete against the University of Mary.

Baseball

The Mustangs (1-3) head to Tucson, Ariz., on Thursday to play 12 games on a road trip to the Tucson Invitational.

SMSU will play Malone College (Ohio) on at 4 p.m. Friday and California State-San Bernardino at 8 p.m. Friday on the first day of the invitational.

The Mustangs begin NSIC play March 22 at Minnesota State in a doubleheader with the Mavericks, pending upon weather and playable field conditions.

Softball

The Mustangs’ doubleheader against Missouri-St. Louis, scheduled for today, is canceled due to unplayable field conditions.

SMSU continues its road trip Friday, when it plays North Alabama before arriving at Winter Haven, Fla., to compete in 12 games from March 9-14 at the Rebel Spring Games.

The Mustangs begin NSIC play March 25 with a doubleheader at the University of Sioux Falls, pending upon weather and playable field conditions.

Women’s Golf

SMSU travels to Daytona Beach, Fla., during spring break to host its SMSU Spring Invitational at the LPGA International Golf Club on March 13-14.

The Mustangs have four tournaments scheduled for their spring season, concluding with the NSIC Spring Championship and NCAA Central Region Championship.

Good luck to all of our SMSU Teams competing this weekend!

Go Mustangs!

Trivia Contest

Congratulation to Cletus Lanners who provided the correct response to last week’s Mustang Hoofprint’s Trivia Question: Who is the career leader in field goal percentage for the Mustang women’s basketball team?

Amy Boman (1998-2002) is the career leader in field goal percentage with 53.7 percent (403 of 751).

Trivia Question

What was the last year SMSU won the National Intercollegiate Wheelchair Basketball Championship?

The first person to email me at MustangHoofPrints@SMSU.edu with the correct answer to this question will receive an SMSU T-shirt.