Johnnies Post Five, Top-Five Finishes at North Country

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – Saint John’s wrestling recorded five, top-five finishes in a strong field at the annual North Country Open on Saturday, Jan. 30, in Collegeville.

SJU and No. 7 Augsburg supplied the lone NCAA Division III wrestlers in the tournament. The rest of the field featured Division I Minnesota and North Dakota State, as well as Division II Augustana (S.D.), MSU-Mankato, MSU-Moorhead, St. Cloud State and Southwest Minnesota State.

Saint John's JohnniesSeniors Mike Pleski (Stacy, Minn./Forest Lake) and Ben Henle (Spicer, Minn./New London-Spicer) each went 4-1 to finished third at 133 and 141 pounds, respectively. Henle, who is ranked seventh nationally by the National Wrestling Coaches’ Association (NWCA), won his first two matches via fall before he suffered a 7-5 loss to Minnesota’s Ben Brancale, the eventual champion, in the semifinals. He bounced back with a 6-3, double-overtime decision and claimed third place with a 10-7 victory over North Dakota State’s David Flynn.

Pleski, like Henle, won his first two matches (both by major decision) before he lost his semifinal match by a two-point margin (4-2) to Augsburg’s Sam Bennyhoff, the eventual champion. He responded with a pair of one-point wins, including a 5-4 decision over the Gophers’ Gresh Jones to place third.

Junior Teddy Erickson (Annandale, Minn.) went 3-1 to place third at 165 pounds. He avenged Jan. 24’s 9-6 loss to Augsburg’s Brady McFarland with a 6-2 decision in the rematch to start the day. Erickson lost his semifinal bout but took third with a 7-2 win over NDSU’s Alex Blaney.

Senior John Wells (Janesville, Wis./Milton) followed a similar path as Erickson by avenging Sunday’s loss to Augsburg’s James Goman with a 5-4 win Saturday morning at 125 pounds. He lost to St. Cloud State’s Joel Salomon in the third-place match via fall.

Junior Colin Fisher (Eagan, Minn.) bounced back from a loss in his first match with wins in his next three bouts at heavyweight. A 4-1 loss to Minnesota’s Luke Destiche in the consolation semifinal sent him to the fifth-place match, where he pinned Southwest State’s Jack Ryan in 4:39.

North Country Open Results

The Johnnies travel to face No. 8 Concordia for a 7 p.m. dual on Wednesday, Feb. 3, in Moorhead.

-Ben Kollaja (0-2)
-John Wells (Fourth, 2-2)

-Mike Pleski (Third, 4-1)

-Ben Henle (Third, 4-1)

-Branden Schorr (0-2)
-Adam Sutlief (0-2)

-Jack Barsody (1-2)
-Teddy Erickson (Third, 3-1)

-Glenn Castro (1-2)

-Nick Pegelow (0-2)

-Colin Fisher (Fifth, 4-2)
-Bryan Scepaniak (0-2)

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