Augsburg’s tournament awaits SJU Wrestling Saturday in Minneapolis

The Johnnie wrestling team returns to more familiar territory at the annual Augsburg Open this Saturday, Nov. 22. The tournament is scheduled for 9 a.m. at Si Melby Hall in Minneapolis.

Saint John's JohnniesA LOOK AT THE JOHNNIES: Saint John’s wrestling dropped its first dual of the season by a 35-9 score at Division II Southwest Minnesota State on Wednesday night (Nov. 19) in Marshall. The Johnnies, ranked No. 26 in Division III, surrendered 12 points by forfeiting two weights, 174 pounds and heavyweight. Junior Ben Henle (Spicer, Minn./New London-Spicer), who is ranked 10th nationally at 141 pounds by D3wrestle.com, put the Johnnies on the scoreboard with a 3-0 win at 149 pounds. Scoreless after the first period, Henle rode the Mustangs’ John Weeding the entire second period and chose the down position to start the third, where he tallied a reversal. Henle is now 7-4 on the young season, including a 4-4 record against Division I and Division II opponents. Freshman Chase Monger (Eden Prairie, Minn.) made it two in a row for SJU with a 6-3 win at 157 pounds and senior Jesse Rogers (Dillingham, Alaska/Mt. Edgecumbe) cut the Johnnies’ deficit to 13-9 with a 3-2 win at 165. Rogers started the third period down 1-0 but scored an escape and a takedown for the win. Senior Evan Guffey (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt) suffered a hard-luck pin at 141 pounds, which gave SMSU a 13-0 lead. Guffey battled back from a 3-0 deficit and looked to have tied it up with an escape in the third period, but slipped into an unfortunate hold and was pinned at the 5:27 mark.

REVENGE: Henle’s 3-0 win over John Weeding was more than his seventh victory of the young season, it was a rematch of the 2012 Minnesota Class AA state semifinal bout. Weeding, then a senior for Dawson-Boyd/Lac qui Parle Valley, defeated Henle by a close 4-3 score to advance to the state-championship match where he lost by pin in 3:17.

LAST YEAR’S TOURNEY: SJU opened its 2013-14 wrestling season by placing seven in the top five at last year’s Augsburg Open on Nov. 23 (2013) in Minneapolis. Six of the seven recorded 3-1 records on the day. Ryan Arne ’14, the seventh-ranked wrestler at 157 pounds and a returning national entrant, finished second. He started the tournament with a pin and technical fall before defeating Zak Benitz of Division II Upper Iowa by a 6-3 decision in the semifinals. Arne fell to Augsburg’s Will Keeter, who was ranked second nationally at 149 pounds, by a 6-3 score in the title bout.

Henle stole the show for SJU, however, with two wins over nationally-ranked opponents on the day. He started the tourney with an upset of the top-ranked wrestler in NCAA Division III, Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Nathaniel Behnke, by an 8-7 score at 141 pounds. He tallied a 9-3 decision over Upper Iowa’s Duane Richardson before posting a lopsided 18-8 major decision over sixth-ranked Tom Kuehn of Augsburg in the semifinals. Henle fell to Upper Iowa’s Jordan Roths by a 7-4 decision in the championship match.

Junior Josh Willaert (Le Sueur, Minn./Le Sueur-Henderson) bumped up a weight class and claimed fifth at 197 pounds. He started the day with a technical fall but lost his quarterfinal match by fall to Upper Iowa’s Carl Broghammer, who led all of Division II with 20 pins last season. Willaert bounced back with a pin and an 8-6 decision over Eau Claire’s Luke Ortscheid to take fifth.

Sophomore Branden Schorr (Mantorville, Minn./Kasson-Mantorville) opened his collegiate career with an impressive 3-1 record and a third-place finish at 149 pounds in the silver bracket. His lone loss was a 6-4 decision to Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Evan Caldon. Schorr ended the day with a 45-second pin over Briar Cliff’s (Iowa) Jacob Spadoni.

Augsburg Open Brackets/Results on TrackWrestling.com

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