COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – Three Saint John’s University wrestlers were named 2011-12 National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Scholar All-Americans on Monday, March 12: junior Mitch Hagen (Sunburg, Minn./Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg) and seniors Chad Henle (Spicer, Minn./New London-Spicer) and Matt Pfarr (Le Sueur, Minn./Le Sueur-Henderson).
A three-time NWCA All-America Scholar, Pfarr ended the 2011-12 season with a fourth-place finish at the 2012 NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships March 10. Pfarr lost his 174-pound semifinal match by a 6-4 decision to Bradley Banks of Wartburg (Iowa) but bounced back with a 6-5 win over Matt Cross of Messiah (Pa.) to earn a spot in the third-place match. With the score tied at 1-1, Michael Schmitz of Wisconsin La Crosse tallied a takedown with 16 seconds left. A biology major (pre-medicine emphasis) with a 3.55 GPA, Pfarr ended the season with a 24-8 record as a two-time All-American (79-30 career record).
Hagen won his opening-round match at nationals with a 5-1 decision over Ryan Pieper of Trine (Ind.), but fell to the top-seed, undefeated Mike Denver of the College of New Jersey, by a 13-2 major decision. He then lost to the No. 3 seed, Wartburg’s Dylan Azinger, 8-2 in wrestlebacks. A biology major (pre-medicine emphasis) with a 3.35 GPA, Hagen ended the season with a 23-8 record at 184 pounds and enters his senior season with a 52-29 career record.
A management major with a 3.25 GPA, Henle won the NCAA Great Lakes region title at 133 Feb. 25. He lost his first match at the NCAA Championships by major decision (13-4) to the No. 2 seed, Corey Brown of Thiel (Pa.). Henle ended the tournament with a 5-3 loss to Wartburg’s Tommy Mirocha in his first consolation match to finish with a 21-11 record on the year (67-36 career record).
The Johnnies finished 11th out of 62 teams with a total of 29.5 points. SJU has qualified two or more wrestlers to the national tournament in 22 of the last 23 seasons, including at least one All-American in each of the past seven seasons. A Johnnie has reached a title match in each of the past four seasons, including senior Dustin Baxter (Fairbanks, Alaska/West Valley) in 2012 (second at 197 pounds).