Johnnies to Face Three Nationally-Ranked Teams Saturday in La Crosse

The SJU wrestling team travels to La Crosse, Wis., for three duals this Saturday, Dec. 5. The Johnnies are scheduled to face top-ranked Wartburg (Iowa) at 9 a.m., No. 19 Cornell (Iowa) at 10:45 a.m. and the host Eagles, ranked fifth nationally, at 12:30 p.m.

Saint John's JohnniesA LOOK AT THE JOHNNIES: Saint John’s recorded a season-high four wins but surrendered three bonus-point victories, as well as a forfeit at 149 pounds, in a 29-15 loss to Division II MSU-Moorhead on Wednesday (Dec. 2) in Collegeville. MSU-Moorhead started the dual with a pair of pins before senior Ben Henle (Spicer, Minn./New London-Spicer), who is ranked fifth nationally at 141 pounds by, put SJU on the scoreboard with a 5-2 decision. He is now 9-3 on the season. The Dragons rattled off 11 straight points, thanks to a forfeit at 149 pounds and a technical fall at 157, before junior Teddy Erickson (Annandale, Minn.) improved to 5-7 with a 4-2 decision at 165. MSU answered with a decision of its own, but freshman Luke Dodd (Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) cut SJU’s deficit to 26-12 with a pin at 184 pounds. He is now 8-5 on the year. A regular at 197 pounds, sophomore Nick Pegelow (Eagan, Minn./Eastview) bumped up to heavyweight once again and earned his first at 285, a 7-5 decision, to end the dual.

A LOOK AT THE KNIGHTS: Last year’s runner-up at the NCAA Division III Championship, Wartburg has finished in the nation’s top two 16 of the last 19 years. The Knights are 1-0 on the season after defeating Simpson (Iowa) 49-6 Nov. 18. The win was head coach Eric Keller’s 100th career dual victory. The Knights have eight wrestlers ranked in the top 10 nationally, by the National Wrestling Coaches’ Association (NWCA): No. 7 Arnulfo Olea (125), No. 3 Connor Campo (133), No. 10 Kaz Onoo (141), No. 2 Mark Pinero (149), No. 4 Andrew Steiert (165), No. 8 Bryan Levsen (184), No. 1 Gerard Roman (197) and No. 7 Lance Evans (285). Campo (133), Nick Michaels (165), Roman (197) and Evans (285) were all individual champions at the Concordia (Wis.) Open Nov. 21.

A LOOK AT THE RAMS: Cornell (3-2 dual record) knocked off No. 8 Luther (Iowa) Wednesday night (Dec. 2). The Rams started the match with three straight wins, getting a 17-6 major decision from Scott Smith (125), a pin from seventh-ranked Phillip Opelt (133) and a 9-3 decision from Nathan Shank (141). After losing the next match at 149 pounds, Cornell got the next two with a 5-3 sudden victory from Aaron Engle and an 11-2 major decision by Ben Hewson. Luther then won back-to-back matches to trim the Rams’ lead to 20-13, but Aburough Abegesah sealed the win with a 7-5 decision at 197 pounds. Trevor Engle is Cornell’s other nationally-ranked wrestler, listed fourth, at 149 pounds.

A LOOK AT THE EAGLES: Wisconsin-La Crosse enters Saturday’s dual tournament 0-1 after falling to the Division I U.S. Air Force Academy, 29-3, No. 21. Mason Geary earned the lone win for the Eagles with a 6-3 decision at 149 pounds. La Crosse has four wrestlers ranked nationally by the NWCA: No. 6 Dustin Weinmann (133), No. 8 Cody See (141), No. 6 Kasey Einerson (149) and No. 1 Tyler Schneider (174).

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