EAU CLAIRE, Wis. – Saint John’s claimed first and/or second in four weights to finish third out of 15 teams at the Wisconsin-Eau Claire Invitational held Saturday, Feb. 12.
Augsburg won the tournament with four wins and a total of 138 points. Wisconsin-Parkside claimed second with 100.5, followed by SJU (79), Wisconsin-Stevens Point (59.5) and Wisconsin-Whitewater (45.5).
Senior Chris Sandy (Spirit Lake, Iowa) cruised through the 141-pound bracket with two pins and back-to-back technical falls, including a 16-0 decision over Augsburg’s Will Keeter in the championship match.
Junior Dustin Baxter (Fairbanks, Alaska/West Valley), ranked seventh nationally at 184, went 3-0 before double-forfeiting against teammate Mitch Hagen (Sunburg, Minn./Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg) in the championship match. Baxter avenged his 3-1 loss to No. 6 Brad Baus of Augsburg on Jan. 28 with a 6-3 victory in the semifinals. Hagen, meanwhile, went 3-0 with wins over No. 10 Greg Rhodes of Wabash (Ind.) and top-seeded Todd Becker of Wartburg (Iowa).
Junior Matt Pfarr (Le Sueur, Minn./Le Sueur-Henderson), ranked fourth nationally at 174, posted a 3-0 record before falling to Luke Rynish of Wisconsin-Parkside, the top-ranked wrestler in Division II, 7-3.
Senior Tony Willaert (North Mankato, Minn./Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial) collected two pins and a technical fall before falling to No. 2 Jared Massey of Augsburg, 7-2 in the championship bout.
Senior Drew Larson (Willmar, Minn.) lost to Parkside’s Dillon Bera, the eventual runner-up, in the semifinals. He and teammate Brandon Seppelt (Foley, Minn.) double-forfeited the fifth-place match.
The Johnnies return to the mat in two weeks at the 2011 NCAA Great Lakes Regional, hosted by Lakeland College (Wis.). The meet is scheduled for 9 a.m. in Sheboygan, Wis.