COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – The Saint John’s wrestling team was ranked sixth in the 2011-12 Brute-Adidas National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division III preseason team rankings released Oct. 26.
Other teams ranked from the NCAA Great Lakes Region include Augsburg (No.7) and North Central of Illinois (No. 11).
In addition to the team rankings, three Johnnie seniors were ranked individually. Dustin Baxter (Fairbanks, Alaska/West Valley) returns as the top finisher from a year ago and is ranked No. 1 nationally at 184 pounds. A three-time national qualifier and two-time All-American, Baxter finished third at the NCAA Division III Championships with a 26-8 overall record.
Matt Pfarr (Le Sueur, Minn./Le Sueur-Henderson) earned All-America honors at the 2011 NCAA Championships with a seventh-place finish and ended the season with a 29-9 record at 174 pounds. A two-time NWCA Scholar All-American, Pfarr is a biology major (Pre-Medicine emphasis).
Chad Henle (Spicer, Minn./New London-Spicer) returns for his senior season after finishing seventh in the 133-pound weight class at last year’s national meet. He ended the year with a 26-10 overall record.
D3wrestle.com listed six Johnnies in its preseason rankings released Oct. 28. The Johnnies’ top three stayed the same in comparison to the NWCA rankings, as Baxter was ranked No. 1 at 184 pounds, Pfarr was ranked No. 4 at 174, and Henle was ranked fifth at 133. Junior Mitch Hagen (Sunburg, Minn./Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg) and sophomore Nick Schuler (Roseville, Minn./Totino-Grace) were both listed as contenders at 197 and 165 pounds, respectively. Junior Cody Socher (Delano, Minn.) was named honorable mention at heavyweight.
The Johnnies officially begin their 2011-12 season at the Wisconsin-Stevens Point Open this Saturday, Nov. 5. The meet is scheduled for 9 a.m. at Stevens Point Area High School in Stevens Point, Wis. SJU’s lone home dual is scheduled for Jan. 14 against NCAA Division II Augustana (S.D.). The annual North Country Open is set for Feb. 4 in Collegeville.