SJU’s Henle and Michaelis Return to Nationals, Johnnies Tie for Third at NCAA Regional

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Saint John’s wrestling earned two national entrants and tied for third out of 12 teams at the NCAA West Regional on Saturday, Feb. 28, at Augsburg’s Si Melby Hall in Minneapolis.

The top three at each weight class qualified for the 2015 NCAA Division III Championships, which are scheduled for March 13-14 at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa.

Augsburg won the team title with 179 points, followed by Concordia-Moorhead (143.5) and a tie between SJU and Wisconsin-Platteville at 74.5 points.

Saint John's JohnniesSenior Ryan Michaelis (Monticello, Minn.) earned his third consecutive trip to nationals with a second-place finish at 197 pounds. He started his day with a pair of pins before falling to No. 7 Matt Hechsel of Augsburg, 7-3, in the championship match. He is ranked as high as sixth nationally and touts a 12-2 record on the season.

Junior Ben Henle (Spicer, Minn./New London-Spicer) tallied a major decision (15-3) and a 10-8 overtime victory over Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Nathaniel Behnke to earn his second straight trip to nationals, but fell to Concordia-Moorhead’s Jacoby Bergeron by a 6-5 score in the title bout. He is ranked as high as seventh nationally and is 26-8 on the season. Both of his Division III losses have been to Bergeron (2-0 decision on Feb. 13).

SJU has now qualified two or more wrestlers to the NCAA Championships in 25 of the last 26 seasons.

The Johnnies had three wrestlers on the cusp of earning a national bid, but all three lost in the third-place match. Senior Evan Guffey (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt) battled back from a loss in his first match of the tournament with a pair of wins, including a 6-4 decision over Sean Ambrocio of Concordia (Wis.), who earned All-America honors (eighth) at 125 pounds last season. Guffey (14-14 record) ended his season with a 6-0 decision in the third-place match.

Freshman Chase Monger (Eden Prairie, Minn.) totaled a 3-2 record on the day, but suffered a pair of losses to Augsburg’s Gable Frandsen. Frandsen tallied a 4-2 win over Monger in the quarterfinal and a close 4-3 decision in the third-place match. Monger ended the season with an 8-11 record.

Sophomore Colin Fisher (Eagan, Minn.) bounced back from a 9-0 loss in his first match of the day with three straight wins, but missed a chance at nationals with a 6-2 loss in the third-place bout. He ended the season with a 13-9 record.

Two SJU freshmen claimed sixth place. Jackson Graham (Apple Valley, Minn.) won his first match of the day, 3-1 over Augsburg’s Eric Hensel, and lost to the eventual regional champion, Concordia-Moorhead’s Jake Krogstad, by a 4-0 score. Graham lost two more decisions, 11-6 and 6-2, to end the season with a 6-6 record. Hensel later won third place and a trip to nationals.

Tevin Zavadil (Clearwater, Minn./Monticello) cut down from 133 pounds to 125 and went 1-2 on the day. He lost his fifth-place match via medical forfeit and ended his freshman season with an 8-12 record.

The Johnnies were without a wrestler at 174 pounds after junior Josh Willaert (Le Sueur, Minn./Le Sueur-Henderson) was disqualified for leaving the gym to warm up during skin checks prior to the start of the tournament Saturday morning. Willaert started the 2014-15 season ranked 10th nationally in both major polls at 174 pounds and went 2-0 at the Augsburg Open Nov. 22 before suffering a rib injury. He just missed nationals with a pair of fourth-place finishes as a freshman (174) and sophomore (184) at the NCAA Regional.

125: Tevin Zavadil (Sixth, 1-2)
133: Evan Guffey (Fourth, 2-2)
141: No. 7/8 Ben Henle (Second, 2-1)
149: Branden Schorr (0-2)
157: Chase Monger (Fourth, 3-2)
165: Jackson Graham (Sixth, 1-3)
184: Nick Pegelow (1-2)
197: No. 6/9 Ryan Michaelis (Second, 2-1)
285: Colin Fisher (Fourth, 3-2)

NCAA Division III West Regional results

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