Johnnies Host No. 22 Concordia Friday, North Country Open Saturday

Saint John’s wrestling hosts a pair of events this weekend in Sexton Arena. The Johnnies welcome No. 22 Concordia-Moorhead for a 7 p.m. dual on Friday, Jan. 25, and host the annual North Country Open at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 26. – Listen Live (Friday, WBHR-660 AM) | Live Video (Friday) | Live Results (Saturday)

A LOOK AT THE JOHNNIES: Saint John’s (1-3 dual record) suffered a 22-15 loss to No. 25 (Division II) Northern State (S.D.) last Friday (Jan. 18) in Collegeville. The Johnnies jumped out to a 9-0 lead thanks to a forfeit at 125 pounds and an 11-4 win from junior Noah Becker (Browerville, Minn.), his 20th of the season (20-2 record), at 133. The Wolves, however, answered with four straight wins, including three by three points or less, to claim a 13-9 lead.

Freshman Jacob Scherber (Buffalo, Minn.) stopped the bleeding with a 5-3 victory at 174 pounds, his team-leading 21st win of the season (21-11 record). Senior Luke Dodd (Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) brought the Johnnies to within one point (16-15) with a nail-biting 5-4 decision at 197 pounds. He broke a 3-3 tie on a takedown in the closing seconds to improve to 10-3 on the year.

Junior Quincy Spiering (Mounds View, Minn./St. Thomas Academy) nearly gave SJU the dual win by pinning his opponent with a takedown and four-point near fall in the second period, and was ahead 8-6 but suffered a loss via fall with 1:10 remaining in the heavyweight match.

THE JOHNNIES’ PROJECTED LINEUP:
125: Freshman Josh Clark (9-8)
133: Junior Noah Becker (20-2)
141: Junior Anthony Hennen (6-15)
149: Junior Andrew Smith (3-8)
157: Junior Jerod Novak (4-3)
165: Freshman Caleb Jungling (2-11)
174: Freshman Jacob Scherber (21-11)
184: Junior Dominic Skawiniak (11-10)
197: Senior Luke Dodd (10-3)
285: Junior Quincy Spiering (14-11)

WHO WILL BE HERE SATURDAY?: SJU is scheduled (as of Jan. 24) to host wrestlers from No. 1 Augsburg, Division II Augustana (S.D.), Division II Mary (N.D.), Division I Minnesota, Division II MSU-Moorhead, Minnesota West C.T.C., Division I North Dakota State, Division II St. Cloud State, St. Olaf, Division II Southwest Minnesota State and Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

LAST YEAR: Three Johnnies placed at last year’s North Country Open back on Jan. 27 (2018) 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).

Dodd, who was 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.

Becker, 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).

Novak 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 was ranked as high as third nationally. Novak dropped out of the tournament via medical forfeit after the semifinal loss and took sixth.

A LOOK AT THE COBBERS: Concordia-Moorhead (6-3 dual record) competed in two events last week, beginning with a 40-3 loss Jan. 17 at No. 1 Augsburg. Freshman Jacob Arends recorded the Cobbers’ lone win, a 6-3 decision, at 197 pounds. The Auggies tallied eight bonus-point victories (five major decisions, one technical fall and two pins) on the night. CC competed at the Worthington Open (only freshmen and sophomores) and had four wrestlers place in the top four, led by freshman Adam Jaeger’s first-place finish at 157 pounds.

THE COBBERS’ PROJECTED LINEUP:
125: Sophomore Jake Nohre (13-10)
133: Sophomore Ben Bogart (20-11)
141: Freshman Bret Wilson (17-11)
149: Senior Ty Johnson (20-8)
157: Freshman Adam Jaeger (12-5)
165: Senior Travis Deegan (18-8)
174: Senior Nick Gravdahl (21-10)/Freshman Kaden Spindler (19-7)
184: Freshman Aiden Jolley (5-16)
197: Freshman Jake Arends (20-12)/Sophomore Bryce Kallenbach (4-8)
285: Freshman Noah Carter (11-17)

A YEAR AGO: The Johnnies dropped a 33-9 decision at Concordia last Jan. 23 (2018) in Moorhead. The Cobbers recorded five bonus-point wins, three major decisions, and two pins, and took advantage of an SJU forfeit at 165 pounds.

Junior Anthony Hennen (Cologne, Minn./Norwood-Young America) got SJU 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.

Junior 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 period, 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.

Dodd, 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.

SERIES HISTORY: The Johnnies are 15-11 against the Cobbers since 1995, including a 4-4 record in Collegeville. Concordia has won 11 of the last 13 meetings and each of the last six. SJU had a 13-match win streak against CC from 1995-2007.

Check out Johnnies Wrestling at gojohnnies.com.

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