The nationally-ranked Saint John’s wrestling team hosts Augustana (S.D.), ranked fifth in NCAA Division II, this Saturday, Jan. 14. The dual is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Sexton Arena in Collegeville. – Live Stats will be on trackwrestling.com.
-Head coach Brandon Novak (1:09)
A LOOK AT THE JOHNNIES: Saint John’s continues dual competition Saturday after finishing seventh out of 16 teams at the NWCA/Cliff Keen Division III National Duals Jan. 7-8, in Springfield, Ill. The Johnnies stumbled out of the gate with a one point loss to No. 24 Mount Union of Ohio (20-19) before fighting back with wins over No. 25 Centenary of New Jersey (32-11) and No. 9 Elmhurst of Illinois (26-18) Saturday. SJU came out flat-footed Sunday and dropped the first dual of the day to No. 10 Olivet (Mich.) before avenging Saturday’s opening-round loss to Mount Union (Ohio) with a 24-13 victory over the Purple Raiders in the seventh-place match. Senior Dustin Baxter (Fairbanks, Alaska/West Valley) went 5-0 at 197 pounds with a pin, major decision and two forfeits. He is now 18-0 on the season. Senior Chad Henle (Spicer, Minn./New London-Spicer) also posted a perfect 5-0 record at 133 pounds to improve to 14-6 on the season. Senior Matt Pfarr (174 lbs.; Le Sueur, Minn./Le Sueur-Henderson), junior Mitch Hagen (184 lbs.; Sunburg, Minn./Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg) and junior Nick Schuler (165 lbs.; Roseville, Minn./Totino-Grace) all went 4-1 in the two-day tournament. All four wins for Schuler were bonus-point victories (two pins, a technical fall and a major decision), while Pfarr upset the fourth-ranked wrestler in Division III, Elmhurst’s (Ill.) Danny Balderas, 3-1 on Saturday.
NATIONAL RANKINGS: Saint John’s fell two spots to No. 9 in the Brute-Adidas National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division lll poll released Jan. 10. Baxter is now ranked second nationally at 197 pounds in both the NWCA and D3wrestle.com rankings. Hagen stayed at No. 6 in the NWCA 184-pound rankings but was unranked by D3wrestle.com after notching a 4-1 record at the National Duals. His lone loss was a 4-1 decision to third-ranked Josef Rau of Elmhurst (Ill.). Hagen is 14-3 on the season.
Pfarr’s hiatus from the national rankings lasted a week as the senior was ranked No. 8 (NWCA) and No. 10 (D3wrestle.com) at 174 pounds, respectively. Henle moved up to No. 9 at 133 pounds according to D3wrestle.com. Schuler was left out of the national rankings for the second straight week after posting a 4-1 record in Springfield, Ill. All four wins were bonus-point victories. He is now 16-6 on the year.
Hagen, Schuler, junior Chris Stevermer (Savage, Minn./Prior Lake) and sophomore Ryan Arne (Orono, Minn.) were once again listed as contenders, just outside of the Top 10, in the D3wrestle.com rankings. Stevermer went 1-2 at 157 pounds last weekend, while Arne posted a 0-3 mark at 149. Both of Arne’s losses on Saturday were by a combined four points. He is 13-6 on the season, while Stevermer is 16-9.
A LOOK AT THE VIKINGS: Augustana (6-1 dual record) finished fifth at the NWCA Division II National Duals last weekend and appropriately moved up one spot to No. 5 in the recent NCAA Division II national poll released Jan. 11. Fellow NSIC-school St. Cloud State, which won the NWCA Duals last week and hosts the Johnnies for a dual Feb. 2, earned the country’s top position in the poll. Six Vikings are currently nationally-ranked: Nate Herda (9-2), No. 1 at 149 pounds; Jason Jeremiason (7-0), No. 2 at 133 pounds; Marcus Edgington (17-1), No. 3 at 157 pounds; Carl Serck (15-2), No. 4 at 174 pounds; Chism Fink (14-3), No. 5 at 141 pounds; and Cody Lensing (8-0), No. 6 at 125 pounds.