SJU Hosts No. 6 Concordia Friday Night

The Johnnie wrestling team hosts No. 6 Concordia-Moorhead for a 7 p.m. dual on Friday, Feb. 13, in Sexton Arena.

A LOOK AT THE JOHNNIES: Three Saint John’s wrestlers placed at the rugged North Country Open last Saturday (Feb. 7) in Collegeville. The 153-man tournament featured wrestlers from NCAA Division I Minnesota (16 wrestlers) and North Dakota State (9), as well as Division II MSU-Mankato (9), St. Cloud State (33) and Southwest Minnesota State (7). SJU’s 22 participants were joined by Augsburg (8) and Concordia-Moorhead (26) as members of Division III. Sophomore Colin Fisher(Eagan, Minn.) went 3-2 on the day to finish fourth at heavyweight. Saint John's JohnniesHe started the day with a pin and 5-3 decision, but fell to St. Cloud State’s Mike Hobbs in the semifinal. Fisher bounced back with a pin of North Dakota State’s Jerrad Nieland before falling to the Gophers’ Luke Destiche by a narrow 2-0 score in the third-place match. Senior Evan Guffey (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt) and freshman Nick Pegelow (Eagan, Minn./Eastview) each finished sixth at 133 and 184 pounds, respectively. Guffey, like Fisher, started the tournament with two wins before falling in the semifinal via fall. Guffey exited the tournament after the match and is 12-12 on the season. Pegelow, meanwhile, battled back from a loss in his first match to take sixth. Both of his wins were against fellow Johnnies. Junior Ben Henle (Spicer, Minn./New London-Spicer), who is ranked eighth nationally at 141 pounds, pinned his first opponent but fell to Minnesota’s Gannon Volk, 10-5 in the second round. He exited the tournament after the loss and is now 24-6 on the season, in which all six losses are to Division I and Division II opponents. Senior Ryan Michaelis (Monticello, Minn.), who is 10-1 and ranked sixth by D3wrestle.com at 197 pounds, did not compete.

Friday, Feb. 13, 7 pm – Concordia-Moorhead – Live Video

A LOOK AT CONCORDIA: Concordia (11-5 dual record), like SJU, placed three wrestlers at the North Country Open last weekend. Freshman Aaron Dick went 2-2 to take fourth out of five wrestlers at 125 pounds, while senior Yonas Gebreab, the team’s starting wrestler at 149, went 3-1 to take sixth. Sophomore Brandon Larson went 4-2 to claim fifth at 184 pounds and is 14-6 on the season.

RANKED COBBERS: Three Cobbers are currently ranked nationally by either the National Wrestling Coaches’ Association (NWCA, Jan. 28) or D3wrestle.com (Feb. 3):

141: No. 4/6 Jacoby Bergeron
165: No. 4/5 Jake Krogstad
174: No. 8 Sebastian Gardner

LAST YEAR: SJU built an early 9-4 lead on then-No. 6 Concordia-Moorhead before the Cobbers won five of the final six matches in a 23-12 loss last year. Alex Peck ’14 put SJU on the scoreboard with an 11-4 decision, one point from a major, at 133 pounds. Henle gave up the match-tying takedown with 20 seconds left, only to score a two-point reversal with six seconds remaining and earn an 8-6 win at 141 pounds. Joe Hessing ’14 used a pair of five-point moves (a takedown and three-point near-fall) and held on for a 14-13 upset of Jake Long, who was ranked as high as fifth nationally by D3wrestle.com (No. 7 by the NWCA) at 149 pounds. The win gave the Johnnies a 9-4 lead, but Concordia won each of the next four matches. Ryan Arne ’14, ranked No. 10 by the NWCA, fell by a 4-0 score at 157 pounds. The loss was just his fifth of the season (17-5 record). The Cobbers eked out a close 7-5 win over senior Brandon Seppelt ’14 at 165 pounds and earned a major decision at 174. Junior Josh Willaert lost a 4-1 lead via a pair of wild scrambles, involving back points, and lost by an 11-7 score at 184 pounds. Michaelis ended the drought for SJU with a 4-0 shutout at 197 pounds, but the Cobbers’ Cody Kasprick, ranked as high as fourth nationally by the NWCA, ended the dual with a pin of John Scepaniak ’14 in 1:02.

RECENT SERIES HISTORY: The Johnnies are 15-7 against the Cobbers in dual meets since the 1994-95 season, though Concordia has won seven of the last nine meetings. SJU won 13 straight from 1995-2007 before the Cobbers started a streak of four straight (2008-10).

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