The Johnnie wrestling team hosts No. 26 (NJCAA) Itasca C.C. for a 7 p.m. dual this Friday, Jan. 12, in Sexton Arena.
Saint John’s (0-2 dual record) placed four wrestlers, including three in the top three, at the Ridgewater Open last Saturday (Jan. 6) in Willmar. The 125-, 174- and 197-pound weight classes had five wrestlers or less each, so those participants wrestled in a round-robin format.
Sophomore Noah Becker (Browerville, Minn.) improved to 14-4 on the season with a perfect 4-0 record, all via pin, to take first place at 125 pounds.
Sophomore Jerod Novak (Aitkin, Minn.) evened his record at 7-7 with a 3-1 mark and third-place finish at 157 pounds. All three of his wins were bonus-point, including a pin over Division II MSU-Mankato’s Don Boone in the third-place bout. Novak’s lone loss was a narrow 6-4 decision to Bailey Neises of Division II Augustana (S.D.).
Sophomore Quincy Spiering (Mounds View, Minn./St. Thomas Academy) moved to 4-2 on the year with a 3-1 record and third-place finish of his own at heavyweight. All of Spiering’s matches were decided by fall.
Sophomore Anthony Hennen (Cologne, Minn./Norwood-Young America) picked up two pins and a 2-2 record en route to a sixth-place finish at 141 pounds.
NEW RANKINGS: Junior Luke Dodd (Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) stayed at No. 7 at 184 pounds in the latest National Wrestling Coaches’ Association (NWCA) rankings released Jan. 8, but cracked the top 10 at No. 9 in the D3wrestle.com rankings posted Jan. 10. The returning national qualifier has a 6-5 record this season (4-1 against NCAA Division III opponents). Becker is still listed as a “Contender,” just outside the top 10, at 125 pounds by D3wrestle.com.
A LOOK AT THE VIKINGS: Itasca C.C. dropped its first dual of the season by a score of 29-15 Tuesday night (Jan. 9) to NAIA Jamestown (N.D.) in Grand Rapids. The Vikings forfeited two weights, 125 and 174, and the match was open at 184. Freshman Tanner Reetz, who is ranked No. 8 in the NJCAA at 133 pounds, earned a pin in 1:37 and classmate Than Kiehm pinned his opponent two seconds faster at 149. Freshman Corey Schmidt recorded the Vikings’ other win, via 8-4 decision, at 197 pounds.
SO FAR THIS SEASON: Individually, the Johnnies are a combined 3-4 against Itasca this season. Becker fell to Reetz by an 8-5 decision in SJU’s season opener Nov. 18 (Augsburg Open), while Dodd lost to Sam Truen via fall Dec. 2 at the MSU-Moorhead Open. Sophomore Graham Evavold (Minneapolis, Minn./Southwest) tallied a 9-3 win over Scott Jones at Moorhead. Schmidt recorded a technical fall over sophomore Dominic Skawiniak (Rogers, Minn.) and Spiering pinned Hunter Koski last Saturday (Jan. 6) at the Ridgewater Open. Sophomore Andrew Smith (Amery, Wis.) is the lone Johnnie with two matches against Itasca this season: a 13-1 loss to Reetz at the Augsburg Open and a 52-second pin of Ben Johnson Dec. 9 at the St. Cloud State Open.