Saint John’s (6-3 dual record) placed four wrestlers at the annual North Country Open this past Sunday (Jan. 29) in Collegeville. In addition to the Johnnies, the individual tournament featured wrestlers from Augsburg, Itasca C.C., Division I Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth (club), Division II MSU-Mankato, Division II MSU-Moorhead, Division I North Dakota State, Division II Southwest Minnesota State and Division II St. Cloud State.
Freshman Jerod Novak (Aitkin, Minn.) won the 157-pound weight class with a 4-0 record to improve to 16-11 on the season. He opened the day with a pair of major decisions, 14-3 and 10-2, before buckling down with a 3-2 victory over Adam Knutson of Division II Southwest Minnesota State in the semifinals. Novak won the title with a strong 7-3 win over Augsburg’s Tanner Vassar.
Senior Colin Fisher (Eagan, Minn.) posted a 2-1 record to take second place at heavyweight. Following a first-round bye, Fisher pinned Jerrad Nieland of Division I North Dakota State and edged Logan Linderbaum of Division II MSU-Mankato, 3-2, in the semifinals. Fisher scored an early takedown of Augsburg’s Donny Longendyke, who is ranked third nationally, in an eventual 7-3 loss in the championship bout.
Sophomore Luke Dodd (Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) posted a 4-1 record to take third place at 184 pounds and improve to 13-8 on the year. He started the tournament with a pair of decisions before falling to the eventual champion, No. 1/3 Owen Webster of Augsburg, in the semifinals. Dodd responded with a pair of wins over Division I wrestlers from North Dakota State to claim third.
Senior Branden Schorr (Mantorville, Minn./Kasson-Mantorville) placed sixth at 149 pounds. He responded from a first-round loss to split his next four matches, all by fall.
A LOOK AT THE COBBERS: Concordia-Moorhead (8-7 dual record) returns to action following a 21-18 win over NAIA Dickinson State (N.D.) last Thursday (Jan. 26). The Cobbers currently tout two nationally-ranked wrestlers: junior Adam Presler (20-12 record), No. 6/9 at 157 pounds; and senior Justice Davis (18-5), No. 9 at heavyweight.
WEDNESDAY’S MATCHUPS: The probable lineups for each team are below.
125: Anthony Hennen (10-19) vs. Aaron Dick (9-12)
133: Noah Becker (18-7) vs. Open
141: Andrew Smith (5-17) vs. Adam Presler (20-12)
149: Branden Schorr (10-12) vs. Ty Johnson (9-9) or Blane Tschida (14-8)
157: Jerod Novak (16-11) vs. No. 6/9 Cole Sladek (12-1)
165: Jack Barsody (9-13) vs. Joe Heinz (16-11)
174: Teddy Erickson (13-9) vs. Jake Johnson (16-10)
184: Luke Dodd (13-8) vs. Ricky Briggs (6-11) or Dan Marquette (3-1)
197: Glenn Castro (5-11) or Robert Tait (7-2) vs. Kody Van Den Eykel (11-11)
285: Colin Fisher (6-4) vs. No. 9 Justice Davis (18-5)
LAST YEAR’S DUAL: Then-No. 8 Concordia took advantage of a forfeit and three bonus-point wins in a 29-9 victory over SJU last Feb. 3 (2016) in Moorhead. Three of the Johnnies’ losses were decided by three points or less. Concordia built an 8-0 lead with a pair of wins from its nationally-ranked wrestlers, including a 4-3 overtime victory from No. 4/6 Gabe Foltz over Mike Pleski ’16 at 133 pounds. Down 3-1 entering the third period, Foltz chose down and earned an escape. Riding time in favor of Foltz sent the match to overtime, where neither wrestler scored a point in the first sudden-victory period. Pleski was unable to escape in his first 30-second frame, while Foltz registered one of his own to earn the win.
Ben Henle ’16, who was ranked seventh nationally by the National Wrestling Coaches’ Association (NWCA), improved to 20-10 with a 7-4 win at 141 pounds. The Johnnies followed the forfeit at 157 pounds with back-to-back wins from seniors Teddy Erickson (Annandale, Minn.) and Robert Tait (Faribault, Minn./Bethlehem Academy). Erickson moved his record to 13-15 with a 12-8 win at 165 pounds, while Tait improved to 7-4 with a 6-2 decision at 174.
RECENT SERIES HISTORY: The Johnnies are 15-9 against the Cobbers in dual meets since the 1994-95 season, though Concordia has won nine of the last 11 meetings. SJU won 13 straight from 1995-2007 before the Cobbers started a streak of four straight (2008-10).