The Johnnie wrestling team returns to the mat this Saturday, Dec. 1, at the MSU-Moorhead Open. The tournament is scheduled for 9 a.m. at the Dragons’ Nemzek Fieldhouse.
Saint John’s recorded four top-five finishes two weeks ago (Nov. 17) at the Auggie-Adidas Invitational in Minneapolis. Senior Luke Dodd (Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) totaled a 3-1 record to finish second at 197 pounds. He started the morning with a 5-0 shutout of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Lawrence Thomas and edged Augsburg’s Wyatt Richardson with a 3-2 decision in the quarterfinal. Dodd advanced to the final via medical forfeit and fell to Augsburg’s Lance Benick, who is ranked as high as sixth nationally, by a narrow 5-3 score.
Junior Noah Becker (Browerville, Minn.) matched Dodd’s 3-1 record but finished fifth at 133 pounds. Three of his four matches were against NCAA Division II wrestlers. Becker’s lone loss was a 5-2 decision to Upper Iowa’s Justin Folley. He defeated Tyler Difiore of Luther (Iowa) 12-6 in the fifth-place match.
A pair of SJU, freshmen, Josh Clark (Fridley, Minn./Totino-Grace) and Jacob Scherber (Buffalo, Minn.) claimed fifth place in the silver brackets. Clark bounced back from a major-decision loss at 125 pounds with a pair of pins, while Scherber did the same to finish 3-1 at 174. Scherber lost his quarterfinal match, 6-3.
D3WRESTLE.COM RANKINGS: Dodd was ranked No. 10 at 197 pounds in the latest D3wrestle.com rankings released Nov. 20. Becker is listed as a “Contender” in the rankings, just outside the top 10, at 133 pounds.
LAST YEAR’S TOURNAMENT: Six SJU wrestlers placed at last year’s MSU-Moorhead Dragon Open held on Dec. 2 (2017). SJU was the only NCAA Division III program with competitors in the tournament. Becker won the 125-pound title with a 4-0 record. He won the championship with a 9-8 win over Division I South Dakota State’s Kahlen Morris. Ahead 8-6, Becker surrendered a match-tying takedown late, but was able to earn an escape for the title. Junior Andrew Smith (Amery, Wis.) placed second at 133 pounds and started the day with a pair of decisions, 11-4 and 9-7, before falling to Division II St. Cloud State’s Garrett Vos via fall in the championship bout. Junior Dan Gainer (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall) claimed fifth in the white bracket at 174 pounds.
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