TAKEDOWN CANCER: SJU’s Takedown Cancer event, which is spearheaded by sophomore Andrew Smith (Amery, Wis.), a cancer survivor, will benefit the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund. The Johnnies will sell Takedown Cancer t-shirts and all proceeds from the sales will be added to the monetary collection. Fans attending the Johnnies’ game are encouraged to donate. Ninety percent of all dollars collected go directly to fund cancer research, prevention, treatment and other programs relating to the cancer community’s needs. – Takedown Cancer
A LOOK AT THE JOHNNIES: Six Saint John’s (1-3 dual record) wrestlers competed last Saturday (Feb. 3) at Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Don Parker Open. Smith went 3-1 to finish fifth at 133 pounds. He won his first match of the day via fall but lost his quarterfinal match with the same result to Kolbe O’Brien of Division II MSU-Mankato. Smith bounced back with a pin and a 7-2 decision over MSU-Mankato’s Trenton McManus in the fifth-place match. He is now 14-11 on the season.
Sophomore Anthony Hennen (Cologne, Minn./Norwood-Young America) dropped his first match of the day at 141 pounds but responded with three straight wins, including two bonus-point victories, to claim the consolation title.
NEW RANKINGS: Junior Luke Dodd (Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) moved up one spot to No. 7 at 184 pounds in the latest D3wrestle.com rankings and stayed at No. 9 in the National Wrestling Coaches’ Association (NWCA) rankings released the same day, Feb. 6.
A LOOK AT THE AUGGIES: Augsburg (11-2 dual record) sent 24 wrestlers to the Wisconsin-Eau Claire Open last Saturday and 11 placed. Sophomore Ryan Epps went 4-0 to win his fifth tournament of the season at 157 pounds and was named the D3wrestle.com Wrestler of the Week for his performance. Sophomore Aaron Wilson and junior Alex Wilson shared a co-championship at 149 pounds and freshman Lance Benick, a transfer from Division I Arizona State, took second at 197. Senior Sebastian Larson (184) and sophomores Wyatt Richardson (197) and Tanner Vassar (174) all took home third place.
Eight Auggies are currently ranked nationally: Gliva (24-4 record) is ranked as high as ninth by d3wrestle.com at 125 pounds; junior Sam Bennyhoff (26-5) is No. 4 at 133; sophomore David Flynn (13-3) is No. 2 at 141; Alex Wilson (26-4) is ranked as high as No. 3 by the NWCA; Epps (32-1) is ranked No. 1; sophomore Lucas Jeske (29-1) is No. 1 at 165; Larson (22-7) is ranked as high as No. 8 by the NWCA; and Benick (6-3) is ranked No. 9.
125: Noah Becker (19-8) vs. No. 9/10 Victor Gliva (24-4)
133: Andrew Smith (14-11) vs. No. 4 Sam Bennyhoff (26-5)
141: Anthony Hennen (11-15) vs. No. 2 David Flynn (13-3)
149: Jake Fernholz (3-3) vs. No. 3/5 Alex Wilson (26-4)
157: Jerod Novak (15-10) vs. No. 1 Ryan Epps (32-1)
165: Brady Mehr (3-6) vs. No. 1/2 Lucas Jeske (29-1)
174: Dan Gainer (5-17) vs. Tanner Vassar (26-7)
184: No. 7/9 Luke Dodd (13-8) vs. No. 8/10 Sebastian Larson (22-7)
197: Dominic Skawiniak (5-19) vs. No. 9 Lance Benick (6-3)
285: Quincy Spiering (8-5) vs. Ethan Hofacker (7-21)
LAST YEAR’S DUAL: Then-No. 2 Augsburg recorded six bonus-point wins in a 37-14 dual victory over SJU last Jan. 22 (2017) at Si Melby Hall in Minneapolis. Augsburg jumped out to a 22-0 lead before sophomore Jerod Novak (Aitkin, Minn.) earned six team points due to an injury default for SJU at 157 pounds. Novak led ninth-ranked Grant Parker 2-0 before the Auggie’s knee buckled with 47 seconds left in the first period.
Teddy Erickson ’17 matched a technical fall at 165 pounds with one of his own, 17-1, at 174 to improve to 11-5 this season. He registered two four-point near falls and chose down to start the third period, where he scored a reversal and a two-point near fall for the victory. The win enabled Erickson to avenge a 5-2 loss to the Auggies’ Jackson Graham, who transferred from SJU following his freshman year and entered Sunday’s match with a 23-9 record, from earlier in the season.
Robert Tait ’17 recorded the Johnnies’ final win of the dual, a 4-1 decision at 197 pounds, to move his record to 7-1 on the year. Following a scoreless first period, Larson chose down to start the second, but Tait accrued 1:42 of riding time before Larson was able to escape. Tait chose down to start the third period, escaped with 1:49 left and scored a takedown with six seconds left to secure the win.