Saint John’s wrestling hosts the annual North Country Open at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, in Sexton Arena.
Saint John’s (1-3 dual record) made a brief return to dual competition and suffered a 33-9 loss at Concordia-Moorhead Tuesday night (Jan. 23). The Cobbers recorded five bonus-point wins, three major decisions, and two pins, and took advantage of an SJU forfeit at 165 pounds.
Anthony Hennen (Cologne, Minn./Norwood-Young America) got SJU (1-3 dual record) on the scoreboard with an 11-5 win at 141 pounds. The match was tied at 2-2 after the first period. Down 7-5, CC’s Cole Kubesh let Hennen escape, but the SJU sophomore scored another takedown and brought the riding time back over a minute to seal the win and improve to 7-12 on the year.
Sophomore Jerod Novak (Aitkin, Minn.) posted a takedown in the first five seconds of his match at 157 pounds but found himself in a nail-biter. He surrendered a pair of reversals, one each in the first two periods, and the match-tying (7-7) takedown with 30 seconds remaining. The two grapplers left the circle with 15.1 seconds remaining and Novak escaped two seconds later to earn the 8-7 win and improve to 13-9.
Junior Luke Dodd (Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview), on the other hand, wrestled a rather non-threatening match until the final minute. Ahead 5-2, Dodd gave up a takedown with 45 seconds left in the match but was able to escape to earn the 6-4 victory. He is now 11-7 on the year, including a 5-1 record against NCAA Division III opponents, and ranked as high as eighth nationally by D3wrestle.com.
WHO’S COMING TO COLLEGEVILLE?: In addition to the host Johnnies, Saturday’s tournament is scheduled to include wrestlers from No. 1 Augsburg, Iowa Lakes C.C., Itasca C.C., Iowa Lakes C.C., Division II MSU-Mankato, Division I North Dakota State, No. 12 (DI) South Dakota State, Division II Southwest Minnesota State, No. 1 (DII) St. Cloud State, St. Olaf and No. 11 Wisconsin-La Crosse.
LAST YEAR’S NORTH COUNTRY: SJU placed four wrestlers at last year’s North Country Open in Collegeville. Novak won the 157-pound weight class with a 4-0 record. 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.
Dodd posted a 4-1 record to take third 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, then-No. 1/3 Owen Webster of Augsburg (now a wrestler at Division I Minnesota), in the semifinals. Dodd responded with a pair of wins over Division I wrestlers from North Dakota State to claim third.