MOORHEAD, Minn. – Saint John’s wrestling finished third out of 11 teams and earned four national qualifiers at the NCAA West Regional on Saturday, Feb. 25, at Concordia-Moorhead.
Freshman Noah Becker (133; Browerville, Minn.), sophomore Luke Dodd (184; Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview), senior Teddy Erickson (165; Annandale, Minn.) and senior Robert Tait (Faribault, Minn./Bethlehem Academy) all qualified for the 2017 NCAA Division III Championships, which are scheduled for March 10-11 in La Crosse, Wis. The top three finishers in each weight class advanced to the national meet.
SJU has now qualified two or more wrestlers to the NCAA Championships in 27 of the last 28 seasons.
No. 2 Augsburg won the meet with a total of 159 points, followed by No. 24 Concordia-Moorhead (123.5), SJU (90) and Wisconsin-Platteville (86).
Lesson of the day? Never count out seniors Teddy Erickson and Robert Tait. Tait won his first match of the day at 197 pounds, 8-2, but lost the semifinal to the Milwaukee School of Engineering’s Devin Mahnke, 4-2. The deciding points were a penalty for allegedly pulling Mahnke’s singlet and riding time. Tait battled back with a pin in 1:16 to reach the third-place bout, where he punched his ticket with a wild 10-8, overtime win over Augsburg’s Sebastian Larson. Down 7-4 late in the match, Tait posted a takedown, let Larson escape, and tied the match at 8-8 with a takedown as time expired. He won the sudden-victory overtime with a takedown 20 seconds in to improve his record to 13-4 on the season.
Like Tait, Erickson won his first match of the day at 165 pounds but suffered a defeat in the semifinals. He bounced back with a thrilling 10-8 overtime win over the Cobbers’ Travis Deegan in the consolation semifinal. Erickson entered the third period down 4-3 with 1:43 of riding time against him, gave up a takedown but then scored a reversal. The ensuing escape made it 7-5, but Deegan was called for stalling and Erickson earned a takedown with four seconds left on the edge of the mat to tie it at 8-8. Erickson rode the momentum to a takedown with 38 seconds left in the sudden-victory overtime to advance to the third-place match, where he tallied a 6-2 win to punch his ticket and improve his record to 17-11 on the year.
Dodd suffered a tough loss in his first match of the day at 184 pounds but battled back with three straight wins to earn his first trip to nationals. On the bottom and ahead 2-1, Dodd gave up a four-point near-fall with 20 seconds remaining in the 6-2 opening-round loss. He retaliated with a pin and advanced to the third-place match with a 9-5 decision. Dodd amassed 5:12 of riding time in a 9-0 major-decision win over Concordia’s Ricky Briggs to claim third and move his record to 18-9 on the season.
Freshman Noah Becker (Browerville, Minn.) just missed a technical fall (19-5) in his first match of the day, but lost his semifinal bout via technical fall (20-3) at 133 pounds. He bounced back with a pin in the consolation semifinal and edged Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Cody Vogel, 9-6, to take third place. Becker, who is now 24-9 on the year, is the first SJU freshman to make the national tournament since Dustin Baxter ’12 in 2008.
Freshman Jerod Novak (Aitkin, Minn.) just missed a trip to nationals with a 4-2 loss to Augsburg’s Grant Parker in the third-place match. He finished 3-2 on the day to end his season with a 20-14 record.
Freshman Andrew Smith (Amery, Wis.) finished fifth at 141 pounds (1-2 record), while freshman Anthony Hennen (Cologne, Minn./Norwood-Young America) and senior Branden Schorr (Mantorville, Minn./Kasson-Mantorville) claimed sixth at 125 and 149 pounds, respectively.
- 125 -Anthony Hennen (Sixth, 1-3)
- 133 -Noah Becker (Third, 3-1)
- 141 -Andrew Smith (Fifth, 1-2)
- 149 -Branden Schorr (Sixth, 1-3)
- 157 -Jerod Novak (Fourth, 3-2)
- 165 -Teddy Erickson (Third, 3-1)
- 174 -Glenn Castro (1-2)
- 184 -Luke Dodd (Third, 3-1)
- 197 -Robert Tait (Third, 3-1)
- 285 -Colin Fisher (0-2)
Visit The Guillotine College Tournament Time Page for brackets, results, and live video links.