The Johnnies travel to Wisconsin-Eau Claire for a 7 p.m. dual tonight and compete at the Blugolds’ Don Parker Open at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 2.
Saint John’s dropped a dual to nationally-ranked Concordia last Friday night (Jan. 25) by a score of 31-12. Junior Noah Becker (Browerville, Minn.) and senior Luke Dodd (Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) earned decisions at 133 (6-1) and 197 (5-4) pounds, respectively. Junior Jerod Novak (Aitkin, Minn.) registered a pin at 157 pounds.
SJU hosted the annual North Country Open the following day (Jan. 26). The tournament showcased 142 wrestlers from across the Upper Midwest, including Division I Minnesota, North Dakota State and South Dakota State, as well as Division II St. Cloud State and top-ranked (Division III) Augsburg.
Becker won the 133-pound bracket, his fifth tournament victory of the season, with a 3-0 record to lead the Johnnies. He is now 24-2 on the year, including 13 consecutive wins and 22 victories in his last 23 matches. Becker started his day with a pin and defeated a pair of wrestlers from Division II Augustana (S.D.), one by a 6-2 decision and the other with an 18-1 technical fall.
Three Johnnies finished fifth. Novak went 4-2 at 157 pounds, while Dodd and freshman Josh Clark (Fridley, Minn./Totino-Grace) posted 1-2 records at 197 and 125 pounds, respectively.
Novak opened the tournament with a pin, but his comeback (down 6-0 early) fell short in an 8-6 loss to St. Cloud State’s Boone Giulio in the quarterfinal. He battled back with a pin of South Dakota State’s Dalton Lakmann and a major decision (12-2) over Anthony Velazquez of Division II Mary (N.D.), but lost to top-ranked Ryan Epps of Augsburg 6-0. Novak took fifth with a forfeit and is now 9-5 on the year.
Dodd registered a 9-1 major decision over Jordan Urbach of Division II MSU-Moorhead in the quarterfinal, but suffered back-to-back defeats by one point. He dropped a 4-3 decision to Augsburg’s Lance Benick, who is ranked fourth in the country, in the semifinal and a 5-4 bout to Jacob Dykes of Division II Southwest Minnesota State. Dodd claimed fifth, uncontested, due to the departure of North Dakota State’s Cole Witzig.
Freshman Josh Clark (Fridley, Minn./Totino-Grace), like Novak, started his day with a pin but dropped two major decisions en route to the fifth-place match, which he claimed thanks to MSU-Moorhead’s Cameron Williams leaving the meet.
FRIDAY’S MATCHUPS: The shorthanded Johnnies are scheduled to post this lineup tonight against the Blugolds.
125: Freshman Josh Clark (10-11) vs. Freshman Jack Marley
133: Open vs. Freshman Thomas Severson
141: Junior Anthony Hennen (6-18) vs. Sophomore Hunter Pierce
149: Junior Andrew Smith (4-11) vs. Sophomore David Dudych
157: Junior Jerod Novak (9-5) vs. Sophomore Brady Bastyr
165: Junior Dan Gainer (6-15) vs. Sophomore Chase Schmidt
174: Freshman Jacob Scherber (22-14) vs. Senior Toby Mosley
184: Open vs. Freshman Jordan Blanchard
197: Open vs. Sophomore James Huntley
285: Junior J.W. Windsor (0-1) vs. Freshman Adam Lucast
157: Freshman Joe Hennen (4-10) vs. Freshman Ryan Hannah
A LOOK AT THE BLUGOLDS: Wisconsin-Eau Claire (6-12 dual record) competed at the Pete Willson Invitational last Friday and Saturday (Jan. 25-26) in Wheaton, Ill. Freshman Jake Drexler (141 pounds) and sophomore James Huntley (197 pounds) both took eighth place with 4-3 records.
WHO WILL BE THERE SATURDAY?: In addition to the Johnnies and host Blugolds, other schools scheduled to compete Saturday include No. 1 Augsburg, No. 20 Concordia-Moorhead, Lakeland (Wis.), Luther (Iowa), Division I Minnesota, Division II MSU-Mankato, Division II, Nebraska Wesleyan, Ridgewater, Rochester C.T.C., Division II St. Cloud State and St Olaf.
LAST YEAR’S TOURNEY: Six Johnnies competed at last year’s Don Parker Open held on Feb. 3, 2018. Junior Andrew Smith (Amery, Wis.) 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. Junior 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
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