The Johnnie wrestling team travels to Nashville for the Gator Duals on Saturday, Dec. 20. SJU is scheduled to face Simpson (8 a.m. EST), Washington and Lee (11:30 a.m. EST), No. 3 Delaware Valley (3 p.m. EST) and No. 18 Johnson & Wales (4:45 p.m. EST) at McGavock High School.
A LOOK AT THE JOHNNIES: Then-No. 26 Saint John’s wrestling (0-4 dual record) lost all three bouts at the Wisconsin-La Crosse Duals Dec. 6. The Johnnies fell to then-No. 10 Wartburg (39-6), then-No. 22 Cornell (38-7) and Wisconsin-Eau Claire (25-21). SJU surrendered six points with a forfeit at heavyweight in the first two duals and two nationally-ranked wrestlers, senior Ryan Michaelis (No. 10 at 197; Monticello, Minn.) and junior Josh Willaert (No. 7/10 at 174; Le Sueur, Minn./Le Sueur-Henderson), did not wrestle. Down 4-0 early, junior Ben Henle (Spicer, Minn./New London-Spicer) battled back with a pin in 2:01 to give SJU its only lead over Wartburg at 141 pounds. The Knights went on to win the last eight matches.
The combination of junior John Wells (Janesville, Wis./Milton) and Henle gave SJU a 7-6 lead over Cornell in the morning’s second dual. Wells posted an 8-6 decision at 125 pounds and Henle recorded his second bonus-point win of the day with an 11-1 major decision. The Rams, however, won the last six matches, including two by technical fall, to claim the victory.
SJU started its final dual of the day with a 15-0 lead over the Blugolds, but lost five straight matches, including a forfeit at 165 pounds, before freshman Nick Pegelow(Eagan, Minn./Eastview) notched a pin in 14 seconds at 197. UWEC’s Justin Karkula clinched the win with a 13-4 major decision over junior Matt Kadrlik (Inver Grove Heights, Minn./Simley) at heavyweight. Henle, who is ranked 10th nationally by D3wrestle.com, earned a forfeit win to post a perfect 3-0 record on the day and moved to 10-4 on the season, with all four losses to Division I or Division II student-athletes.
NATIONAL RANKINGS: Willaert (2-0 record) moved up to sixth nationally, from seventh, at 174 pounds in the latest National Wrestling Coaches’ Association (NWCA) rankings released Dec. 9. As a team, SJU fell out of the top-30 rankings. Three Johnnies were listed in the D3wrestle.com top 10 released the same day. Henle moved up to eighth from 10th at 141 pounds, while Michaelis and Willaert both jumped one spot to ninth at 197 and 174, respectively.
THE OTHER GUYS: SJU’s two nationally-ranked opponents, No. 3 Delaware Valley and No. 18 Johnson & Wales, boast a number of ranked wrestlers.
125: No. 6/9 Connor Kirkegard
149: No. 1 Vincent Fava
197: No. 3 Aaron Karns
285: No. 1 Zach Roseberry
Johnson & Wales
125: No. 9 Bobby Jordan
141: No. 10 Michael Ferinde