The Johnnie wrestling team hosts No. 23 (Division II) MSU-Mankato for a 7 p.m. dual this Wednesday, Jan. 11, at Guild Hall (Old Gym) in Collegeville.
Saint John’s (5-0 dual record) posted a perfect 4-0 record at the Chicago Duals this past Saturday (Jan. 7). SJU started the day with a 28-16 win over No. 7 Wabash, though the Little Giants were comprised of the program’s backups as the varsity competed at the National Wrestling Coaches’ Association (NWCA) National Duals Jan. 5-6 in Fort Wayne, Ind. The Johnnies jumped out to a 9-0 lead and overcame a 16-15 deficit with wins in the final four bouts to earn the victory.
A pin from senior Colin Fisher (Eagan, Minn.) at heavyweight capped an enormous comeback in the 22-21 win over Manchester (Ind.). SJU was down 21-3 after the first five matches, only to win the final five (three decisions, a major and Fisher’s pin) en route to the victory. Fisher ended the day with a 3-0 record and is now 4-0 on the season.
The Johnnies took advantage of three forfeits and won six other matches in a 41-6 win over the Milwaukee School of Engineering (Wis.) and broke a 13-13 tie with wins in the final four matches to end the day with a 29-13 win over Dubuque (Iowa). SJU was scheduled to only wrestle three duals but added the fourth against the Spartans as the day progressed.
Senior Teddy Erickson (Annandale, Minn.) tallied a 4-0 record, including three major decisions, at 174 pounds, while freshman Noah Becker (Browerville, Minn.) improved to 17-6 with a 4-0 mark at 133. Senior Robert Tait (Faribault, Minn./Bethlehem Academy) and sophomore Luke Dodd (Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) each went 3-0 at 197 and 184 pounds, respectively. Senior Branden Schorr (Mantorville, Minn./Kasson-Mantorville) posted a 3-1 record at 149 pounds.
BACK IN THE OLD GYM: Wednesday’s dual is the first for SJU in Guild Hall (Old Gym) since Nov. 16, 2012, which was a 33-7 SJU win over NAIA Northwestern (Iowa). The Old Gym went out of commission, in regard to the SJU varsity athletics, when the Warner Palaestra opened during the 1973-74 academic year.
A LOOK AT THE MAVERICKS: MSU-Mankato (3-3 dual record) went 1-3 at the Tracy Borah Duals on Saturday (Jan. 7) in Gunnison, Colo. The Mavericks returned seven starters from a team that finished ninth at the NCAA Division II Championships last spring. Senior Adam Cooling, MSU’s lone returning national qualifier, earned All-America honors with a third-place finish at 174 pounds at last year’s nationals and finished with a 30-5 record. He currently boasts a 21-1 record this season and is the lone Maverick ranked nationally, No. 3 at 174 pounds.
LAST YEAR’S MEETING: Then- No. 14 (DII) MSU-Mankato recorded five bonus-point wins in a 40-3 dual victory over SJU last Jan. 21 (2016) in Mankato. Mike Pleski ’16 recorded the lone win for SJU, a 5-4 decision at 133 pounds. SJU suffered two one-point losses on the night. Erickson entered the third period at 174 pounds with a 3-1 lead in an eventual 4-3 loss, while Fisher took a 5-4 loss at heavyweight. Ben Henle ’16 had a 4-1 lead in his match at 141 pounds but surrendered a four-point near fall at the end of the second period en route to a 10-5 loss.
RECENT HISTORY: The Johnnies are 0-3 against MSU since rekindling a series that was dormant since the 1950’s and 1960’s: L, 7-33 on Nov. 9, 2005; L, 6-36 on Nov. 15, 2006; and L, 3-40 on Jan. 21, 2016. The ranking of 23rd nationally is the lowest for the Mavericks out of the previous meetings: No. 2 (2005), No. 3 (2006) and No, 14 (2016).