Saint John’s wrestling travels east to compete at the Don Parker Open, hosted by Wisconsin-Eau Claire, at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, in Eau Claire, Wis.
A LOOK AT THE JOHNNIES: Three Saint John’s wrestlers placed at the annual North Country Open, hosted by SJU, last Saturday (Jan. 27) in Collegeville. The 116-man tournament largely consisted of wrestlers from NCAA Division I (21) and Division II (39), as well as No. 1 (DIII) Augsburg (25).
Junior Luke Dodd (Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview), who is ranked as high as eighth nationally by D3wrestle.com at 184 pounds, finished second with a 2-1 record. He started his day with a 16-0 tech fall and advanced to the championship match with a 3-1, overtime win over Samuel Grove of Division I South Dakota State. Dodd lost the title match with a 10-3 decision to Division I North Dakota State’s Michael Otomo.
Sophomore Noah Becker (Browerville, Minn.), like Dodd, went 2-1 to finish second at 125 pounds. He registered two straight major decisions before falling to North Dakota State’s Brent Fleetwood, a Division I national qualifier last season at Central Michigan, by major decision (14-3). Becker is now 19-8 on the year, including a 19-6 record against non-Division III opponents.
Sophomore Jerod Novak (Aitkin, Minn.) won his first two matches of the tournament at 157 pounds, 11-4 over Augsburg’s Josh Verbeten and 4-0 over Justin Dravis of Division II MSU-Moorhead, before falling to Augsburg’s Ryan Epps in the semifinal (9-0). Epps is ranked as high as third nationally. Novak dropped out of the tournament via medical forfeit after the semifinal loss and took sixth.
WHO’S GOING: The Johnnies are scheduled to send seven wrestlers to Eau Claire Saturday.
133: Andrew Smith (11-10)
141: Anthony Hennen (8-14)
165: Brady Mehr (2-4)
174: Dan Gainer (5-15)
197: Dominic Skawiniak (5-17)
285: Quincy Spiering (8-3), Ben Ungar (2-8)
LAST YEAR’S TOURNAMENT: Ten Johnnies competed at last year’s Don Parker Open on Feb. 4 (2017). Robert Tait ’17 finished second at 197 pounds with a 3-1 record to improve to 10-3 on the season. He rattled off three straight decisions, including a close 3-2 win over Division I Minnesota’s Dalton Lunde in the semifinal, before falling, by fall, to Brady Wetter from Division I Wisconsin in the championship bout.
Becker dropped his first match of the day but battled back with two straight wins to win the consolation title (seventh place) and improve to 21-8 on the year. Mike Wagner ’18 and a pair of heavyweights, Colin Fisher ’17 and sophomore Quincy Spiering (Mounds View, Minn./St. Thomas Academy), all went 2-2.