LA CROSSE, Wis. – Saint John’s University senior Minga Batsukh (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia/St. Benedict’s Prep, N.J.) became the first Johnnie to claim three national titles, regardless of sport, with a 7-4 win over Augsburg’s Tony Valek at the 2011 NCAA Division III Championships on Saturday, March 12. He was awarded with the tournament’s prestigious Outstanding Wrestler award for his performance. The Johnnies finished sixth out of 60 teams in the tournament.
Wartburg won the national title with a total of 117 points and seven All-Americans, including two national champs. Augsburg finished second with 88.5 points, followed by Wisconsin-La Crosse (76.5), Ithaca (N.Y., 72.5), Coe (Iowa, 67) and SJU (64.5).
SJU tied with Augsburg and Wisconsin-La Crosse with the second-most All-Americans (5). Both the number of All-Americans (5) and the team’s finish (sixth) are program bests.
Batsukh avenged his only loss of the season with a 6-5 win over Blaine Woszczak of Ithaca (N.Y.) in the semifinal this morning. Valek, meanwhile, upset the defending national champion Isaac Dukes of Case Western Reserve (Ohio), with a defensive pin at the 6:46 mark, in his semifinal match. Batsukh defeated Valek by scores of 6-1 and 5-2 earlier this season. He ended his senior season with a 26-1 record.
Top-ranked senior Matt Baarson (Brooklyn Park, Minn./Champlin Park) lost to Coe’s Nick LeClere, ranked third nationally, 5-4. Baarson had LeClere on his back near the end of the first period but did not receive back points, and nearly tallied a takedown as time expired in the match but points were not awarded.
Baarson posted a 3-0 shutout over James Myers of Olivet (Mich.) in his first consolation match but fell to Luke Miller of Ohio Northern to take fourth place. Much like his match against LeClere, Baarson nearly registered a takedown in the final eight seconds but could not get the call. He ended his senior season with a 28-5 record. Three of his five losses, including both at this year’s national meet, were decided by one point.
Junior Dustin Baxter (Fairbanks, Alaska/West Valley) defeated Greg Rhoads of Wabash (Ind.) by a 6-2 decision in his first match Saturday and posted a 6-1 win over the College of New Jersey’s Mike Denver, ranked third nationally, 6-1. He defeated Alex Martocello of York (Pa.) 3-2 to claim third place. He ended the season with a 26-8 record.
Junior Matt Pfarr (Le Sueur, Minn./Le Sueur-Henderson) lost to top-seeded Kyle Kwiat of Ohio Northern, ranked No. 1 nationally, 4-2 in his first consolation match Saturday. He ended the tournament with a 9-2 win over Frank Savegnago of Elmhurst (Ill.) to claim seventh place. Pfarr ended the season with a 29-9 record.
Junior Chad Henle (Spicer, Minn./New London-Spicer) lost to fifth-ranked Adam Sheley of Wisconsin-La Crosse, 6-3, and defeated Corey Brown of Thiel (Pa.) 6-3 to claim seventh place. Henle ended the season with a 26-10 record.
The five NCAA All-Americans (top eight) is a school record, breaking the old record of four set in 1997.
Senior Tony Willaert (North Mankato, Minn./Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial) avenged an early-season 7-6 loss to Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Adam Latella with an eye-opening 12-3 major decision over the seventh seed in the first round Friday. Willaert dropped to the consolation via pin from second-ranked Jared Massey of Augsburg and was eliminated with an 11-9 loss to Dubuque’s (Iowa) Sam Johnson.
Senior Chris Sandy (Spirit Lake, Iowa) lost his first match of the tournament, 4-2 to eighth-seeded David Alsieux of Centenary (N.J.), ranked seventh nationally. He was eliminated with a 6-3 loss to Luther’s (Iowa) Kevin Bokoski in his first consolation match Friday.
Sandy was named the Division III recipient of NCAA’s Elite 88 Award, which is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s 88 championships.