COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – Saint John’s University wrestling stayed at No. 8 in the Brute-Adidas National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division lll poll released Tuesday, Feb. 7.
Other members of the NCAA Great Lakes Region listed in the rankings include Augsburg (No. 4, down two from No. 2), Elmhurst of Illinois (No. 14) and Concordia-Moorhead (No. 18).
Senior Dustin Baxter (Fairbanks, Alaska/West Valley) is ranked second nationally at 197 pounds in both the NWCA and D3wrestle.com rankings. He posted convincing victories against a pair of nationally-ranked wrestlers, No. 5 Nathan Schmitz of Concordia-Moorhead and No. 6 Brad Baus of Augsburg, at the Minnesota Duals Jan. 28 before earning a 5-3 overtime win versus St. Cloud State’s Mic Berg Feb. 2. Baxter is now 23-1 after going 2-1 to claim second at the annual North Country Open Feb. 4. His first loss of the season was a 6-5 decision to Scott Schiller of Division I Minnesota.
Junior Mitch Hagen (Sunburg, Minn./Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg) stayed at No. 5 in the NWCA 184-pound rankings and moved into 10th on the D3wrestle.com list (released Feb. 1). He went 5-1 over the last week, including a share of the 184-pound title at North Country. Hagen is 19-5 on the year.
Senior Matt Pfarr (Le Sueur, Minn./Le Sueur-Henderson) jumped three spots to No. 7 at 174 pounds in the D3wrestle.com rankings and stayed at No. 8 according to the NWCA. Pfarr went 6-1 last week, including a 3-0 mark in the 184-pound bracket at North Country, to improve to 17-7 on the season.
Junior Nick Schuler (Roseville, Minn./Totino-Grace) was left out of the national polls for the fourth straight set of rankings. He tallied a perfect 5-0 record since the last pair of rankings was released to improve to 26-6 on the season. 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 D3wrestle.com rankings. Junior Chris Stevermer (Savage, Minn./Prior Lake) was named honorable mention at 157 pounds. Henle dropped out of the D3wrestle.com 133-pound rankings and is 15-9 on the season. Stevermer, meanwhile, is 22-9 on the year at 157.
The Johnnies return to the mat in two weeks at the Augustana (S.D.) Invitational on Sunday, Feb. 19. The tournament, which may draw more backups than varsity wrestlers for SJU, is the precursor to Feb. 25’s NCAA Great Lakes Regional at Augsburg.