MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Eighth-ranked Saint John’s went 2-1 at the Minnesota Duals held Saturday, Jan. 28, on the campus of Augsburg in Minneapolis. The Johnnies started the day with wins over No. 18 Concordia-Moorhead (23-18) and St. Olaf (35-12) before falling to the second-ranked Auggies, 23-16.
Down 6-0 to Concordia, sophomore Alex Peck (Edina, Minn./Benilde-St. Margaret’s) put SJU on the scoreboard with a 14-8 decision at 141 pounds. Junior Chris Stevermer (Savage, Minn./Prior Lake) followed a Cobber pin at 149 pounds with a tight 3-1 decision at 157. The win led to four straight SJU wins, including three in bonus-point fashion. Junior Nick Schuler (Roseville, Minn./Totino-Grace) tied the dual at 12-12 with a pin of Josten Coleman at 165. Senior Matt Pfarr (Le Sueur, Minn./Le Sueur-Henderson), ranked as high as eighth according to the NWCA, then tallied a 13-5 major decision at 174. Junior Mitch Hagen (Sunburg, Minn./Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg) followed suit with a major decision of his own, 15-5, at 184.
Senior Dustin Baxter (Fairbanks, Alaska/West Valley), ranked second at 197 pounds, earned an 8-3 win over the Cobbers’ Nate Schmitz, who is ranked as high as fourth according to D3wrestle.com. Cody Kasprick ended the dual with a pin at heavyweight for Concordia.
Senior Chad Henle (Spicer, Minn./New London-Spicer), the ninth-ranked wrestler at 133 according to D3wrestle.com, bounced back from his 6-4 loss to nationally-ranked Daron Hohbein with a 12-3 major decision against the Oles’ Ian Peppel. Peppel pinned seventh-ranked Tom Kuehn of Augsburg earlier in the morning. Junior Cody Goldschmidt (Waconia, Minn./BOLD) cut the Johnnies’ early deficit to 9-7 with a 4-2 win at 149 pounds. Sophomore Brandon Seppelt (Foley, Minn.) registered an early 2-0 lead at 157, but St. Olaf’s Jacob Bohler responded with a reversal and three-point near fall en route to a 7-4 win.
Nevertheless, SJU answered with five straight bonus-point victories, including four pins, to end the dual. Hagen and Schuler collected pins, while Pfarr mastered a 12-3 major decision. Freshman Ryan Michaelis (Monticello, Minn.) recorded his first collegiate pin at 184 pounds and sophomore John Scepaniak (Avon, Minn./Holdingford) ended the dual with a fall in 4:00.
Henle answered a major decision at 125 with an 8-5 win at 133 against the Auggies. Augsburg, however, responded with three straight wins from nationally-ranked wrestlers to build a 17-3 lead. Schuler ended his day with a perfect 3-0 record thanks to a 14-3 major decision at 165. He totaled 3:20 of riding time in the victory and improved to 20-6 on the season. Fifteen of his 20 victories are bonus-point wins, including eight pins (five major decisions and two technical falls). Pfarr followed with 3:07 of riding time at 174 but settled for a 6-3 win. He is now 15-6 on the year.
Hagen continued the perfect trend with a 4-2 victory at 184 to improve to 17-4 on the season. Baxter wrapped up the day unscathed with an 8-4 win over Augsburg’s Brad Baus, who is ranked as high as fourth by the NWCA. Baxter’s win cut the Johnnies’ deficit to one point, 17-16, but top-ranked Chad Johnson earned a pin of Scepaniak in 6:54 to clinch the win. Baxter is now 22-0 on the year.
The Johnnies return to the mat this Thursday, Feb. 2, against top-ranked (NCAA Division II) St. Cloud State. The dual, which will be carried live on WBHR-660 AM, is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Halenbeck Hall. SJU hosts the annual North Country Open at 9 a.m. this Saturday, Feb. 4, in the Donald McNeely Spectrum.