ST. CLOUD, MINN. – It all comes down to one final regular-season dual for the No. 1 ranked St. Cloud State University wrestling team. After six weeks of postponements, schedule changes, and uncertainty, the Huskies will wrestle in their final regular-season dual of 2020-21 on Thursday, February 11 at 7 p.m. in Halenbeck Hall. St. Cloud State’s foe will be none other than Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) rival Upper Iowa University.
The Huskies maintained their No. 1 ranking in the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) top-25 poll after earning a 26-9 win over No. 25 UW-Parkside. St. Cloud State’s opponent will once again be nationally ranked, as Upper Iowa moved to No. 19 in the latest rankings, released last Friday.
A limited number of fans will be able to attend Thursday evening’s dual, and both live stats and video will be available for those who cannot attend in person. As in past weekend, family members of both the Huskies and Peacocks will be in attendance at a capacity of 150 individuals. Attendees will be expected to wear masks throughout the entirety of the dual and will be contacted 24 hours prior to the match.
Here are the five things to know before Thursday’s action:
7 – St. Cloud State will honor its seven seniors prior to Thursday’s dual with Upper Iowa. These seven seniors include Jake Barzowski, Josh Barzowski, Devin Fitzpatrick, Sakai Kelly, Tanner Pasvogel, Kameron Teacher, and Riley Vanik. In four years with the Huskies, these seven Huskies have earned four NSIC Championships, Four NWCA National Dual Championships, Four Super Region III Championships, one NCAA National Runner Up finish, and two NCAA National Championships. Perhaps more impressive, the seven seniors record. Throughout their careers, these seven seniors have recorded a combined team dual meet record of 76-1 overall, including a 35-0 mark in NSIC play.
4 – In addition to all the athletic honors (and we didn’t even include the All-American awards), these seven student-athletes led the St. Cloud State wrestling program to four top-25 NWCA All-Academic Team finishes in the last four seasons. Their academic majors range from special education to business – real estate, business-marketing, nursing and psychology, sports management, and operations management.
11 – Thursday’s dual will once again feature a slew of top-10 wrestlers at their respective individual weight class. Seven of those wrestlers are Huskies, and the other four are Peacocks. Additionally, a wrestler in this match is ranked in nine of the 10 weight classes, including 125, 133, 141, 149, 157, 165, 184, 197, and 285.
157 / 184 – Four of the 11 ranked wrestlers hail from one of these two weight classes: 157 and 184. The 157-pound match may be one of the most entertaining matches of the weekend, with No. 4 Jake Barzowski (Niles, Ill. / Notre Dame) squaring off against No. 3 Chase Luensman. It marks the first time this season Barzowski is the underdog, as he was ranked No. 1 in the same weight class until the most recent rankings. The 184-pound match will also feature two nationally ranked wrestlers: No. 8 Billy Pitzner (Jefferson, Wis. / Milton) and No. 10 Dalton Hahn.
3 – Three different St. Cloud State wrestlers are a perfect 4-0 this season and scored 10+ points for the Huskies in competition. No. 1 Teacher leads the way, having scored a team-leading 17 points through four duals. No. 8 Pitzner is also 4-0 having collected 15 points in dual matches this season, while No. 4 Joseph Bianchini (Elk Grove Village, Ill. / Immaculate Conception) is 4-0 with 14 points to his name.
12 – One other St. Cloud State wrestler is perfect this season and scored 10+ points: Garrett Vos (Bonifacius, Minn. / Waconia). The redshirt junior, who did not wrestler last week due to a forfeit at 133 pounds, is 3-0 in 2021 and has scored 12 points for the Huskies.
- 125 – Paxton Creese (Shakopee, Minn. / Shakopee) OR Robby Horsman (Kasson, Minn. / Kasson-Mantorville)
- 133 – No. 1 Garrett Vos (Bonifacius, Minn. / Waconia) OR Sam Spencer (Huntley, Ill. / Huntley)
- 141 – No. 4 Joseph Bianchini (Elk Grove Village, Ill. / Immaculate Conception) OR Cameron Riggs (North Platte, Neb. / Maxwell)
- 149 – Garrett Aldrich (Albert Lea, Minn. / Albert Lea) OR Ezekial Williamson (Jerome, Idaho / Jerome)
- 157 – No. 4 Jake Barzowski (Niles, Ill. / Notre Dame) OR Colby Njos (Anoka, Minn. / Anoka) or Jared Head (Washington, Ill. / Washington)
- 165 – No. 1 Devin FitzPatrick (Mahtomedi, Minn. / Mahtomedi) OR Jackson Held (Royalton, Minn. / Royalton)
- 174 – Devin Donovan (Wheaton, Ill. / Wheaton North) OR Dominic Murphy (Evergreen Park, Ill. / Brother Rice)
- 184 – No. 8 Billy Pitzner (Jefferson, Wis. / Milton) OR Cade Linn (Elysburg, Penn. / Southern Columbia Area)
- 197 – No. 5 Noah Ryan (Mantorville, Minn. / Kasson-Mantorville) OR Grant Parrish (Kasson, Minn. / Kasson-Mantorville)
- 285 – No. 1 Kameron Teacher (Grove City, Ohio / Central Crossing) OR Riley Vanik (Sugar Grove, Ill. / Kaneland)