ST. CLOUD, MINN. – The St. Cloud State University wrestling team is coming home.
After two dual matches on a road and an early season cancellation, the Huskies will compete in Halenbeck Hall for the first time in 2021. The team’s first home opponent: Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) rival Minnesota State, currently the No. 11 ranked team in Division II.
The dual is set to begin at 7 p.m. in the Halenbeck Hall Gymnasium. At this time, St. Cloud State will allow a limited number of family members for both the home and visiting teams to attend the match, with no more than 150 people in the gym. For those who cannot attend, the match will be streamed live on the NSIC Network, and fans can also follow along via TrackWrestling.
Of note, Thursday’s match will no longer serve as the alumni match due to COVID-19 protocols. Further information on the Huskies Wrestling Alumni Match, socials and events will be posted at a later time when permitted by the university.
Here are the five things to know before Thursday’s match against the Mavericks:
12 – A combined 12 wrestlers between St. Cloud State and Minnesota State were ranked in the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Top-12 Individuals Polls, including Garrett Vos (Bonifacius, Minn. / Waconia), Joseph Bianchini (Elk Grove Village, Ill. / Immaculate Conception), Jake Barzowski (Niles, Ill. / Notre Dame), Devin FitzPatrick (Mahtomedi, Minn. / Mahtomedi), Devin Donovan (Wheaton, Ill. / Wheaton Northern), Billy Pitzner (Jefferson, Wis. / Milton), Noah Ryan (Mantorville, Minn. / Kasson-Mantorville) and Kameron Teacher (Grove City, Ohio / Central Crossing). Of the eight Huskies ranked, four of them were ranked No. 1 in the nation in their respective weight class. Vos was No. 1 at 133, Barzowski at 157, FitzPatick at 165 and Teacher at 285. The other four are no slouches either. Both Bianchini and Ryan were ranked No. 4 at 141 and 197, while Pitzner was ranked No. 11 at 184 and Donovan No. 12 at 174.
2 – Two matches on Thursday could feature a showdown between two nationally ranked opponents. Donovan would currently be an underdog at 174 pounds, as the Mavericks Trevor Turriff is currently ranked No. 3 in the weight class. Ryan could also face a nationally ranked opponent, as Matt Blome is currently ranked No. 12 at 197 pounds.
1/11 – St. Cloud State remained at the top of the NWCA polls last Friday, as the team received 107 points to earn the No. 1 ranking in all of Division II. Minnesota State was also in the NWCA top-25 poll, moving from the No. 12 spot to No. 11 after opening the 2021 season with a perfect 3-0 record. Like the Huskies, the Mavericks have earned some big wins this season, defeating Minot State 31-12, Augustana 25-13 and Upper Iowa 19-13.
2:24 – It took Pitzner just 2:24 to win his match by fall against the Vikings this past Sunday. The redshirt sophomore earned six key points for St. Cloud State at 184 pounds, pinning Kolby Kost to win by fall. Pitzner is off to a 2-0 start this season and has earned a team-leading nine points for the Huskies this season.
6 – Six St. Cloud State wrestlers are off to 2-0 starts this season. First year Paxton Creese (Shakopee, Minn. / Shakopee) has impressed in both starts for the Huskies at 125, winning by tech fall and decision to earn nine points for the Huskies. Other 2-0 wrestlers: nationally ranked Bianchini, FitzPatrick, Pitzner, Ryan and Teacher.