CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – All three Saint John’s wrestlers exited the NCAA Division III Championships on Friday, March 11, at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Senior Ben Henle (Spicer, Minn./New London-Spicer) opened his third consecutive trip to nationals with a 7-0 win over the College of New Jersey’s Ryan Budzek, who is ranked as high as sixth nationally. Henle, who is ranked eighth at 141 pounds by the National Wrestling Coaches’ Association (NWCA), tallied a takedown and accrued 1:44 of riding time in the first period. He chose down to start the second, but Budzek rode him on top for the entire two-minute second period. With Budzek down, Henle rode out the duration of the third period and recorded a four-point near fall with five seconds left to clinch the win.
He suffered a 9-5 loss to second-ranked Nathaniel Behnke of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in the quarterfinals and ended the tournament one win from All-America honors with an 11-6 loss to Shawn Giblin of Rhode Island College. Giblin was seeded fourth but was unranked. Henle ended the season with a 24-13 record (82-40 career).
Senior Mike Pleski (Stacy, Minn./Forest Lake) started his day with a loss to top-ranked Nathan Pike of New York University, a returning All-American, via fall in 2:21 at 133 pounds and dropped a 7-4 decision to Romeo Riley of Alma (Mich.). He ended the season with a 20-20 record (33-45 career).
Junior Teddy Erickson (Annandale, Minn.) lost his opening-round match at 165 pounds via pin in 51 seconds to the defending national champion, top-ranked Farai Sewera of Coe (Iowa), and ended the day with an 8-5 loss to Concordia-Moorhead’s Cole Sladek in his first consolation match. He ended the year with a 15-20 record.
Day 1 Brackets (Pdf)