KENOSHA, WIS. – The grind never ends for the No. 1 St. Cloud State University wrestling team. After a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) showdown with No. 11 Minnesota State University last week, the Huskies hit the road to face yet another nationally ranked opponent in conference play. This time, St. Cloud State’s opponent will be none other than the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, the newest member of the NSIC.
This is No. 25 UW-Parkside’s first full season as a member of the NSIC, though the team only competes in the sport of wrestling. After switching conferences a few years ago, the Rangers joined the NSIC for wrestling, as the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Conference (GLIAC) doesn’t sponsor the sport. The first year in the rugged NSIC hasn’t been easy for UW-Parkside, as the team record currently stands at 1-3 with losses to Augustana, Northern State and No. 16 Upper Iowa.
Here are the five things to know before Thursday’s dual:
2019 – The last time the Huskies and Rangers faced off was on January 12, 2019 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. After a six hour road trip, the team’s longest in conference play now, St. Cloud State defeated UW-Parkside 25-9 at the Ranger Duals. The Huskies also faced fellow powerhouse McKendree that day and secured the 200th win in head coach Steve Costanzo’s career with a 36-3 win over the No. 5 ranked team in the nation.
2 – Current seniors Jake Barzowski (Niles, Ill. / Notre Dame) and Devin FitzPatrik (Mahtomedi, Minn. / Mahtomedi) are the only active players on St. Cloud State’s current roster to compete at the Ranger duals two seasons ago (current graduate assistant coach Travis Swanson competed at 141 pounds). As a sophomore, Barzowski charted three wins for the Huskies at 157 pounds, the same weight class he is expected to compete in Thursday. FitzPatrick only competed in two matches that day but won both at 165 pounds, including his dual against UW-Parkside’s Shane Gantz.
2/3 – Last week, St. Cloud State opened the hardest stretch of its 2020-21 schedule, as it faced the first of three nationally ranked opponents. Though the Huskies dispatched No. 11 Minnesota State 25-13, their schedule isn’t about to get any easier, as they face the No. 25 Rangers Thursday followed by a dual with No. 16 Upper Iowa on Thursday, February 11 to close out the regular season.
13 – It was clear Kameron Teacher (Grove City, Ohio / Central Crossing) would be a dominating force for St. Cloud State in 2020-21, and he has lived up to every expectation through the first three duals of the season. The senior captain currently leads the team in points, having tallied 13 through the first three duals of the season with win by major decision and pin. Teacher recently appeared on the NSIC’s Student-Athlete Spotlight Show to discuss his outstanding career, both at Notre Dame (OH) and with the Huskies.
3 – In addition to Teacher, three other student-athletes have tallied 10+ points during the 2020-21 season. No. 4 Joseph Bianchini (Elk Grove Village, Ill. / Immaculate Conception) is not suffering a sophomore point, as he’s posted a 3-0 record and won 10 points for the Huskies. No. 1 FitzPatrick is also 3-0 with 12 points to his name, while No. 11 Billy Pitzner (Jefferson, Wis. / Milton) has impressed at 184 pounds with a 3-0 record and 12 points scored.
- 125 – Paxton Creese (Shakopee, Minn. / Shakopee)
- 133 – No. 1 Garrett Vos (Bonifacius, Minn. / Waconia)
- 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. 1 Jake Barzowski (Niles, Ill. / Notre Dame) OR Colby Njos (Anoka, Minn. / Anoka)
- 165 – No. 1 Devin FitzPatrick (Mahtomedi, Minn. / Mahtomedi) OR Bryce FitzPatrick (Mahtomedia, Minn. / Mahtomedi)
- 174 – No. 12 Devin Donovan (Wheaton, Ill. / Wheaton North) OR Dominic Murphy (Evergreen Park, Ill. / Brother Rice)
- 184 – No. 11 Billy Pitzner (Jefferson, Wis. / Milton)
- 197 – No. 4 Noah Ryan (Mantorville, Minn. / Kasson-Mantorville)
- 285 – No. 1 Kameron Teacher (Grove City, Ohio / Central Crossing) OR Kaleb Haase (Morton, Minn. / Redwood Valley)