COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – The Saint John’s University wrestling team stayed at No. 6 in the latest Brute-Adidas National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division III team rankings released Jan. 25.
Other teams ranked from the NCAA Great Lakes Region include Augsburg (No. 3), Concordia-Moorhead (No. 7), North Central (No. 19) and Elmhurst (No. 24).
Five of the Johnnies’ starting 10 were ranked individually. Senior Matt Baarson (15-2 record; Brooklyn Park, Minn./Champlin Park) moved up two spots to No. 1 at 165 pounds despite not wrestling since the last rankings were released. He has won 13 of his last 14 matches, including each of the last seven. Baarson joins Concordia-Moorhead’s Phil Moenkedick (184 lbs.) as Minnesota’s other top-ranked wrestler in Division III.
Senior Minga Batsukh (12-1 record; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia/St. Benedict’s Prep, N.J.) remained fourth at 149, junior Matt Pfarr (13-4 record; Le Sueur, Minn./Le Sueur-Henderson) held steady at No. 4 in the 174-weight class, and junior Dustin Baxter (13-4 record; Fairbanks, Alaska/West Valley) was seventh at 184. Pfarr started the season with a 4-3 record, but has won nine of his last 10 matches and each of the last six.
Senior Tony Willaert (9-7 overall record, 8-5 record at 197; North Mankato, Minn./Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial) moved up one spot to No. 9 at 197 despite a loss in his last match.
Pfarr and Baxter failed to move up the national rankings despite wins over nationally-ranked wrestlers from Division II St. Cloud State. Pfarr upset then-No. 6 Shamus O’Grady by a 6-5 margin, while Baxter posted a convincing 7-2 upset of then-No. 5 Mic Berg.
The Johnnies return to action with three duals this Friday, Jan. 28, in Perham. SJU is scheduled to face St. Olaf at 4 p.m., followed by showdowns with No. 7 Concordia-Moorhead (five ranked wrestlers) and No. 3 Augsburg (eight ranked wrestlers) at 6 and 8 p.m., respectively.