Johnnies Travel to Chicago for Three Duals

The nationally-ranked Johnnie wrestling team returns to action at the University of Chicago Duals this Saturday, Jan. 4. SJU is scheduled to face McDaniel (Md.) at 1 p.m., Manchester (Ind.) at 2:30 p.m. and Dubuque (Iowa) at 4 p.m.

Saint John's JohnniesA LOOK AT THE JOHNNIES: No. 18 Saint John’s (4-5 dual record) went 2-2 at the Desert Duals, hosted by Wartburg (Iowa), on Dec. 21 at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. SJU started the day with a 30-6 loss to No. 4 Cortland State (N.Y.) and defeated No. 26 Heidelberg (Ohio) 21-18, before falling to No. 14 Olivet (Mich.), 24-12. The Johnnies ended the long day of wrestling with a 27-18 win over Pacific (Ore.).

Senior Ryan Arne (Orono, Minn.) and sophomore Ben Henle (Spicer, Minn./New London-Spicer) tallied the Johnnies’ lone wins in the loss to Cortland State. Henle, who is ranked fifth nationally at 141 pounds, entered the third period scoreless but reversed his opponent and earned a three-point near fall en route to a 6-4 victory. Arne, meanwhile, tallied an 8-2 decision at 157 pounds.

SJU found itself down 9-0 to No. 26 Heidelberg before junior Joe Hessing (Loretto, Minn./Delano) and Arne tallied back-to-back pins at 149 and 157 pounds, respectively. Senior Brandon Seppelt (Foley, Minn.) recorded six more team points via medical forfeit at 165 and classmate Aaron Brasket (Independence, Minn./Delano) earned a 6-4 decision at 174. Junior Ryan Michaelis (Monticello, Minn.) suffered his second two-point loss at 197 pounds on the day.

The Johnnies were down 10-0 to No. 14 Olivet before Hessing pinned the Comets’ Gage Pederson, who is ranked No. 10 at 149 pounds. Arne cut SJU’s deficit to 10-9 with a decision, but Olivet won four of the final five matches. Michaelis earned a 3-1 overtime win at 197.

Four of SJU’s five wins against Pacific in the finale were pins. Henle returned to the win column at 141 pounds to improve his season record to 8-3 on the year. Arne wrapped up his perfect 4-0 day with a pin and is now 11-2 on the young season. The Boxers, however, rattled off three consecutive wins to tie the match at 18-18 before Michaelis earned a decision and senior John Scepaniak (Avon, Minn./Holdingford) clinched the win with a pin at heavyweight.

Sophomore Josh Willaert (Le Sueur, Minn./Le Sueur-Henderson) and freshman Teddy Erickson (Annandale, Minn.), two starters at 184 and 174 pounds, respectively, did not compete. SJU is also hopeful that junior Dalton Sowers (Long Lake, Minn./Delano), who finished fourth at the NCAA West Regional at 133 pounds last spring, is ready to return to the mat for spring semester.

NATIONAL RANKINGS: Although the National Wrestling Coaches’ Association (NWCA) national rankings will not be updated until Jan. 6, released its new lists Jan. 1. Henle was the lone Johnnies ranked in the top 10, No. 6 at 141 pounds, though four others were listed as “Contenders” (Nos. 11-18): Arne, Hessing, Michaelis and Willaert. Scepaniak and sophomore John Wells (Janesville, Wis./Milton) were honorable mention at heavyweight and 125 pounds, respectively.

A LOOK AT THE GREEN TERROR: McDaniel (4-0 dual record) returns to competition for the first time in nearly a month, since finishing sixth out of nine teams at the Messiah (Pa.) Invitational. The Green Terror are led by sophomore Ryan O’Boyle (10-0 record), an NCAA qualifier last year as a freshman, who is currently ranked as high as No. 4 (NWCA) at 133 pounds. Junior Mike O’Boyle is 12-4 at 141 pounds and senior Logan Yox is 14-5 at 165 pounds.

A LOOK AT THE SPARTANS: Manchester (2-3 dual record) returns to Division III competition after falling to Division I Indiana by a 52-0 score Dec. 14. The Spartans also fell at Virginia Tech (59-0) earlier this season on Nov. 17. Of the team’s 18-man roster, only three are upperclassmen. The youth, coupled with the tough schedule, have led to poor individual records so far this season. Freshman Kalib Jackson is the Spartan closest to a .500 record, among those with five matches or more, with a 5-6 tally at 133 pounds.

A LOOK AT DUBUQUE: Dubuque (1-3 dual record) looks to bounce back from a 31-9 conference loss to nationally-ranked Coe (Iowa) Dec. 14. Although the Spartans did not have anyone listed in the NWCA rankings, four were mentioned by Junior Joseph Kubica (8-2 record) was ranked No. 9 at 165 pounds, while senior Derek Mizaur (3-2 record) and junior Brian Travis (5-3 record) were listed as Contenders at 174 and 141 pounds, respectively. Freshman Nick Drendel (8-2 record) was honorable mention at 149 pounds. Kubica and Travis participated at the NCAA Championships last March.

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