Saint John’s wrestling hosts the annual North Country Open at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, at the Donald McNeely Spectrum in Collegeville.
Saint John’s won its second dual in the row with a 40-3 decision over Division II Mary (N.D.) last Saturday (Jan. 31) in Collegeville. Freshman Chase Monger (Eden Prairie, Minn.) set the tone with an exciting 7-5 win in overtime to start the dual at 157 pounds. Down 4-0, Monger scored an escape in the second period and chose down to start the third. He tallied a reversal and two-point near fall to gain a 5-4 lead, but his opponent’s point for riding time sent it to overtime, 5-5. Monger scored a takedown 19 seconds into the extra frame to win the match, his first competitive bout since Dec. 6, to improve to 5-6 on the season.
Sophomore Teddy Erickson (Annandale, Minn.) followed with a 7-4 decision at 165 pounds and freshman Nick Hoff (Rushford, Minn./Rushford-Peterson) pinned his opponent in 1:00 at 174. Hoff now has a 9-5 record with eight pins. A forfeit at 184 pounds gave SJU an 18-0 lead before senior Ryan Michaelis (Monticello, Minn.) moved his season record to 10-1 with a 10-5 win at 197. Mary recorded its lone win at heavyweight over sophomore Colin Fisher (Eagan, Minn.), 4-0. Following the Marauders’ second forfeit at 125 pounds, senior Evan Guffey (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt) extended the Johnnies’ lead to 30-3 with an 8-6 win, his 10th of the season (10-11 record), at 133. Junior Ben Henle (Spicer, Minn./New London-Spicer) improved to 23-5 with a pin in 2:21 at 141 pounds and sophomore Adam Sutlief(Browerville, Minn.) ended the dual with a 12-4 major decision at 149.
STREAK SNAPPED: SJU snapped an 11-dual losing streak to NCAA Division II programs with the 40-3 win over Mary. The win was the first over a Division II opponent since Jan. 16, 2008 (38-6 at Southwest Minnesota State).
UPDATED RANKINGS: The Johnnies’ pair of previously-ranked wrestlers, Henle and Michaelis, did a little bit of moving when the latest D3wrestle.com rankings were released on Tuesday (Feb. 3). Despite boasting a 23-5 record with winning 17 of his last 18 matches, Henle dropped from seventh to eighth at 141 pounds. Michaelis, meanwhile, climbed one spot to sixth at 197 pounds. He is 10-1 on the year. Henle is still ranked eighth by the National Wrestling Coaches’ Association (NWCA), which is set to release new rankings Feb. 11.
LAST YEAR’S TOURNEY: Four Johnnies placed in a tough field at last year’s North Country Open back on Feb. 1 (2014). Henle went 3-2 to lead SJU with a third-place finish at 141 pounds. Junior Josh Willaert (Le Sueur, Minn./Le Sueur-Henderson) posted a 4-2 record, including two pins and a technical fall, to take fifth at 184 pounds. Junior Matt Kadrlik (Inver Grove Heights, Minn./Simley) and John Scepaniak ’14 both went 3-2 to finish fourth and fifth, respectively, at heavyweight. Matt Pfarr ’12, a two-time All-American for SJU at 174 pounds, won the 197-pound bracket with a 3-0 record. He defeated Augsburg Matt Hechsel, ranked No. 1 by the National Wrestling Coaches’ Association (NWCA), by an 11-5 score in the semifinal. His younger brother, Brett, took first at 184 pounds, and another brother, Chris, went 3-2 at 174 pounds. Both wrestled for Division I Minnesota.