Dual Season Begins for SJU Tonight at Division II Southwest State

Saint John’s travels to face Division II Southwest Minnesota State for its first wrestling dual of the season on Wednesday, Nov. 19. Action is scheduled to start on the mat at 7 p.m. in Marshall.

Saint John's JohnniesA LOOK AT THE JOHNNIES: Saint John’s wrestling competed at the Luther Open on last Saturday (Nov. 15) in Decorah, Iowa. The tournament consisted of two sets of brackets, elite and silver. Junior Ben Henle (Spicer, Minn./New London-Spicer) led SJU with three wins at 141 pounds (elite) on the day. He fell by fall to Minnesota’s Thomas Thorn in the his match of the day before rattling off three straight wins, including a pin of the Gophers’ Josh Shupe. He fell to Upper Iowa’s Matt Paulus, 11-5, in the fifth round of the consolation bracket. Senior Evan Guffey (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt) posted a 2-2 record at 141 pounds (elite), while sophomore Adam Sutlief (Browerville, Minn.) went 2-2 at 149 pounds (silver). Guffey fell to Shupe by a close 3-2 score in his first-round match and also fell to Paulus.

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THE LINEUP: The Johnnies are scheduled to take this 10-man lineup to Marshall Wednesday night.

125 – John Wells (3-1)
133 – Austin Miley (1-4)
141 – Evan Guffey (2-2)
149 – No. 9/10 Ben Henle (6-4)
157 – Chase Monger (3-4)
165 – Jesse Rogers (2-4)
174 – No. 10 Josh Willaert (0-0)
184 – Glenn Castro (0-2)
197 – Nick Pegelow (2-4)
285 – Dino Saracco (1-4)

TOUGH SLEDDING: Henle is 6-4 so far this season, but seven (3-4 record) of his 10 matches were against Division I (1-2) and Division II (2-2) opponents. He finished fifth with a 3-2 record at the Wisconsin-Stevens Point Open Nov. 8, the season opener, and went 3-2 again to take fifth in Iowa last weekend.

A LOOK AT THE MUSTANGS: Southwest Minnesota State placed two individuals in its season opener at the Dakota Wesleyan Open Nov. 15. Seniors Jacob Begin and Cole Wilson led the Mustangs with third-place finishes at 174 pounds and heavyweight, respectively. SMSU posted a 12-5 dual record last season, including a 6-2 mark in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference to finish third. Jesse Nelson, the 2013-14 NSIC Coach of the Year, begins his eighth season as head coach of the Mustangs and returns three national qualifiers from last spring, two of which are ranked nationally this preseason. Begin finished 25-9 at 174 pounds last year and took fourth at the 2014 NCAA Central Super Regional. Begin, who was the runner-up at 165 pounds at the NCAA Super 3 Regional tournament in 2012-13, tied for the team lead with 12 pins on his way to his second straight trip to nationals. He opened the 2014-15 season ranked second in the preseason region rankings and third in the Division II National Wrestling Coaches’ Association (NWCA) poll. Wilson, meanwhile, tallied a 26-12 mark at heavyweight last season and was a first-time national qualifier with a fourth-place finish at the 2014 NCAA Central Super Regional. He is currently ranked third in the preseason region rankings and fourth nationally.

LAST YEAR’S DUAL: SJU built a 10-6 lead through the first five matches but won only one more the rest of the way in a 22-13 home loss to Southwest Minnesota State on Dec. 13. The Mustangs accrued a 6-0 lead before the Johnnies rattled off three consecutive wins. Henle put SJU on the board with a 12-4 major decision at 141 pounds. Joe Hessing ’14 earned a 7-4 win at 149 pounds and Ryan Arne ’14 tallied a 15-9 victory at 157. Arne nearly pinned his opponent in the first two minutes of the match and registered nine points in the opening period, but could not earn a bonus-point win. Senior Ryan Michaelis (Monticello, Minn.) stopped the bleeding for SJU, which found itself down 19-10, with a 7-4 win at 197 pounds. Needing a pin for the tie at heavyweight, John Scepaniak ’14 dominated the first two periods but came up short in a 7-4 loss.

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