Johnnies Face In-State Rivals Tonight

The No. 6 Johnnie wrestling team travels to Perham for a trio of duals against familiar opponents tonight. SJU is scheduled to face St. Olaf at 4 p.m., No. 7 Concordia-Moorhead at 6 p.m. and No. 2 Augsburg at 8 p.m. The quadrangular will be held at Perham High School. – Concordia’s Live Blog/Live Results

Preview Video:
Head coach Brandon Novak (1:04)

A LOOK AT THE JOHNNIES: The Saint John’s backups posted a 31-11 victory over St. Olaf last week. The Johnnies jumped out to a 12-0 lead via a forfeit at 125 pounds and a pin from freshman Alex Peck (Edina, Minn./Benilde-St. Margaret’s) at 133. The Oles’ Ryan Timmerman put the home team on the scoreboard with a technical fall, but freshman Joe Hessing (Loretto, Minn./Delano) gave SJU six more points with a pin in the ensuing match. St. Olaf rattled off two straight wins, its only other wins on the night, at 157 and 165 to cut the deficit to 18-12. Freshman Nick Schuler (Roseville, Minn./Totino-Grace) put the Johnnies back in the win column with an 8-3 decision at 174. The Oles were deducted a team point when Pesta shoved Schuler’s head to the mat at the end of the bout. Senior Dustin Raygor (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) tallied a major decision, 15-7, over Andrew Rudd at 184, while sophomore Mitch Hagen (Sunburg, Minn./Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg) posted an 8-5 decision. Freshman John Scepaniak (Avon, Minn./Holdingford) ended the dual with a 6-0 shutout win at heavyweight.

A LOOK AT THE OLES: St. Olaf lost its most recent dual to No. 7 Concordia-Moorhead 34-9 Jan. 21. Ryan Timmerman (141 pounds) and Joey Waples (165 pounds) tallied the only wins for the Oles. Timmerman recorded a pin 2:12 into the match against Concordia’s Ben Anderson, while Waples posted a 9-4 decision over Jordan Bendson. Timmerman and Waples also lead the team with records of 19-6 and 15-3, respectively.

A LOOK AT THE COBBERS: No. 7 Concordia-Moorhead won eight of 10 individual matches against St. Olaf to record a 34-9 win Jan. 21. It is the fourth-straight dual meet win and fifth in the past six matches. Phil Moenkedick (184 pounds) recorded his 22nd victory this season to improve his record to 22-1. Moenkedick remained at No. 1 in the latest Brute-Adidas National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division III individual rankings. Justin Berns, who is ranked No. 5 at 157 pounds, posted his 18th victory to advance to an 18-3 record. Moenkedick and Berns each have 122 career wins and need three more to break the school’s all-time win record. The Cobbers’ other ranked wrestlers are Ben Presler (No. 7, 125 pounds), Daron Hohbein (No. 10, 133 pounds) and Ross Dankers (No. 5, 174 pounds).

THE LAST MEETING: Then-No. 3 SJU lost four matches and the forfeit to the No. 7 Cobbers, including two one-point decisions, but still held on for the 22-21 win at the National Duals a few weeks ago. Concordia jumped out to a 9-0 lead with a 7-6 decision over junior Chad Henle (Spicer, Minn./New London-Spicer) at 133 pounds, before seniors Chris Sandy (Spirit Lake, Iowa) and Minga Batsukh (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia/St. Benedict’s Prep, N.J.) posted back-to-back pins to give SJU a 12-9 lead. The Cobbers’ then- No. 4 Justin Berns narrowly escaped senior Drew Larson (Willmar, Minn.) with a 5-4 win due to riding time. Then-No. 3 senior Matt Baarson (Brooklyn Park, Minn./Champlin Park) tallied his fourth consecutive major decision of the tournament (13-1) at 165 and junior Matt Pfarr (Le Sueur, Minn./Le Sueur-Henderson) tallied a 4-2 upset of then-fourth-ranked Ross Dankers to build a 19-12 lead. Top-ranked Phil Moenkedick defeated junior Dustin Baxter (Fairbanks, Alaska/West Valley) 8-3 to cut it to 19-15 with two weights to go, but senior Tony Willaert (North Mankato, Minn./Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial) clinched the win with a 6-1 victory at 197.

A LOOK AT THE AUGGIES: No. 3 Augsburg (5-3 dual record) lost to No. 1 (Division II) Nebraska-Omaha, 21-12, in its most recent dual Jan. 20. The Auggies’ wins included Josh Roberts (No. 5, 125 pounds); Tony Valek (No. 3, 149 pounds), who upset No. 1 Esai Dominguez; Orlando Ponce (No. 5, 165 pounds); and Jared Massey (No. 2, 197 pounds). Other ranked Augsburg wrestlers include: Cody Hansen (No. 10, 141 pounds), Zach Molitor (No. 2, 174 pounds) and Brad Baus (No. 6, 184 pounds).

THE LAST MEETING: Then-No. 1 Augsburg scrambled out of a 15-12 deficit with a pair of wins at 197 pounds and heavyweight to defeat then-No. 11 Saint John’s 19-15 Jan. 14, 2010, in Collegeville. The Auggies jumped out to a 7-0 lead via a major decision at 125 pounds and an 11-5 decision at 133 pounds. The Johnnies answered with two consecutive wins to cut the deficit to 7-6. Batsukh defeated Jafari Vanier 4-2 at 141 pounds. Senior Drew Larson (Willmar, Minn.) then defeated Lucas Murray, 5-2. Augsburg’s Jason Adams earned a technical fall at 157 pounds to increase the lead to 12-6. SJU answered, however, and took control of the dual with three consecutive wins. Baarson improved his record to 14-2 on the year with a 4-3 upset win over then-No. 6 Orlando Ponce at 165 pounds. Pfarr tied the dual at 12-12 with an upset win of his own, an 8-5 victory over then-No. 3 Zach Molitor in overtime. Senior James Carlson (Royalton, Minn.) then gave the Johnnies their first lead of the dual with an 11-7 win at 184 pounds. Jared Massey re-gained the lead for Augsburg, 16-15, with a major decision. With the dual yet to be decided, the Auggies’ Andy Witzel, ranked No. 7, edged Cody Socher via a takedown in the final minute, 3-2.

JOHNNIES STAY AT NO. 6; BAARSON RANKED NO. 1: Saint John’s stayed at No. 6 in the latest Brute-Adidas National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division III team rankings released Jan. 25. Five of the Johnnies’ starting 10 were ranked individually. Senior Matt Baarson (15-2 record) 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) remained fourth at 149, junior Matt Pfarr (13-4 record) held steady at No. 4 in the 174-weight class, and junior Dustin Baxter (13-4 record) 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) 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.

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