Johnnies Approach NCAA Regional Ranked Eighth Nationally

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – The Saint John’s wrestling team stayed at No. 8 in the Brute-Adidas National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division lll poll released Tuesday, Feb. 21.

Other members of the NCAA Great Lakes Region listed in the rankings include Augsburg (No. 4), Elmhurst of Illinois (No. 14) and Concordia-Moorhead (No. 20, down from No. 18). Rankings | NWCA Team Rankings | NWCA Individual Rankings

Senior Dustin Baxter (Fairbanks, Alaska/West Valley) is ranked second nationally at 197 pounds in both the NWCA and rankings. He is 23-1 on the season and is the likely No. 1 seed at this Saturday’s NCAA Great Lakes Regional at Augsburg. His lone loss was a 6-5 decision to Scott Schiller of Division I Minnesota at the North Country Open Feb. 4.

Junior Mitch Hagen (Sunburg, Minn./Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg) stayed at No. 5 in the NWCA 184-pound rankings and moved up to ninth from 10th on the list (released Feb. 20). Hagen is 19-5 on the year and is the likely No. 2 seed at regionals, behind third-ranked Josef Rau of Elmhurst. Rau defeated Hagen 4-1 at the National Duals in early January.

Senior Matt Pfarr (Le Sueur, Minn./Le Sueur-Henderson) jumped three spots to No. 7 at 174 pounds in the rankings and stayed at No. 8 according to the NWCA. Pfarr is 17-7 on the season and the likely top seed at regionals. He boasts only one Division III loss at 174, suffered to Olivet’s (Mich.) Trevor Tyler (11-8), ranked seventh nationally, at the National Duals.

Junior Nick Schuler (Roseville, Minn./Totino-Grace) was left out of the national polls for the fifth consecutive set of rankings. He is 26-6 on the season and could be the top seed at regionals. Twenty of his 26 victories this season are bonus-point wins, including nine pins (seven major decisions and four technical falls).

Schuler and senior Chad Henle (Spicer, Minn./New London-Spicer) were listed as contenders, just outside of the Top 10, in the rankings. Henle is 17-9 at 133 pounds on the season.

The Johnnies return to the mat following a three-week hiatus from competition at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional this Saturday, Feb. 25. The meet is scheduled for 9 a.m. at Si Melby Hall in Minneapolis. The top three wrestlers at each weight class advance to the 2012 NCAA Division III Championships on March 9-10 at the La Crosse Center in La Crosse, Wis.

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