Johnnies Travel to La Crosse Saturday for Three Duals

No. 26 SJU wrestling returns to dual competition with three bouts on Saturday, Dec. 6, in La Crosse, Wis. The Johnnies are scheduled to face No. 10 Wartburg of Iowa (9 a.m.), No. 22 Cornell of Iowa (10:45 a.m.) and Wisconsin-Eau Claire (12:30 p.m.).

Saint John's JohnniesA LOOK AT THE JOHNNIES: Saint John’s (0-1 dual record) placed three wrestlers at the Augsburg Open two weeks ago (Nov. 22) in Minneapolis. Senior Evan Guffey(Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt) lost his first match of the day but bounced back with three straight wins, all decisions, to take the consolation title (seventh place) at 141 pounds. Junior Josh Willaert (Le Sueur, Minn./Le Sueur-Henderson) won his first two matches of the 2014-15 season, including a pin in 3:51 to start the morning, but he medically-forfeited his final two matches to finish fourth. Freshman Nick Pegelow (Eagan, Minn./Eastview) finished second with a 3-1 record in the silver bracket at 197 pounds. He rattled off three straight wins before falling to Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Sean Ward by fall in the championship match.

A LOOK AT THE KNIGHTS: No. 10 Wartburg (1-0 dual record) enters the season coming off of their fourth-straight national championship but return only three points from last year’s championship team. Junior Drew Wagenhoffer won the Concordia (Wis.) Open at 157 pounds Nov. 22, earning d3wrestle.com Wrestler of the Week honors. The Knights have two wrestlers ranked in the top 10 of their respective weight classes by d3wrestle.com: sophomore Kenny Martin (No. 3 at 149) and Wagenhoffer (No. 7 at 157). The NWCA rankings, meanwhile, lists four in its top 10: Wagenhoffer (No. 7), Gerard Roman (No. 10 at 197) and Ben Nagle (No. 6 at heavyweight). Teammate Mark Pinero, who finished third at the NCAA Central Regional last season, has not wrestled yet this season and is ranked third at 149.

A LOOK AT THE RAMS: No. 22 Cornell (2-3 dual record) enters the La Crosse Duals on a high following its 19-14 upset of No. 8 Luther (Iowa) Dec. 3. The Rams won four of the first five matches, including a major decision by Trevor Engle at 149 and an upset from Phillip Opelt at 133 over Luther’s Evan Obert, who is ranked fifth in the latest NWCA rankings. Cornell has two wrestlers ranked in the top 10 of their respective weight classes by d3wrestle.com: Engle (No. 4 at 149) and Brent Hamm (No. 8 at 174). Opelt is ranked as high as 10th at 133 by the NWCA.

A LOOK AT THE BLUGOLDS: Wisconsin-Eau Claire (1-4 dual record) ended the dual with three straight first-period pins to defeat Wisconsin-Platteville 24-23 last night (Dec. 4). The Blugolds return two-time national qualifier and 2013 All-American, junior Nathaniel Behnke, who is ranked seventh by the NWCA and eighth by d3wrestle.com at 141 pounds. SJU junior Ben Henle (Spicer, Minn./New London-Spicer) split a pair of matches with Behnke last season.

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