SJU Travels to Illinois for Saturday’s Elmhurst Invite

The Johnnie wrestling team hits the road for another out-of-state tournament, Elmhurst’s Al Hanke Invitational, at 9 a.m. this Saturday, Jan. 15.

A LOOK AT THE JOHNNIES: Three Saint John’s wrestlers finished sixth at Central’s Under Armour Invitational last Saturday (Jan. 8) in Pella, Iowa. All three wrestlers won their first match of the day, fell in the quarterfinal, bounced back with a victory in the first consolation bout, and lost the fifth-place match.

Sophomore Ben Gilbertson (Sauk Rapids, Minn./Sauk Rapids-Rice) wrestled to decisions in all four matches to take sixth at 174 pounds. He now touts a team-leading 16-9 record on the year.

Sophomore Hayden LeMonds (St. Michael, Minn./St. Michael-Albertville) made his first appearance since Nov. 20 and posted a technical fall and a pin against NAIA opponents at 165 pounds, while freshman Logan Thorsten (Foley, Minn.) improved to 15-8 this season at 157. Both of Thorsten’s losses were decisions (4-0 and 7-4).

Sophomore Andrew Hamilton (Eagle River, Alaska) wrestled in the silver bracket at 174 pounds and recorded a pair of pins to move his record to 4-3.

WHO WILL BE THERE: The Johnnies and host Blue Jays are scheduled to be joined by NAIA Calumet (Ind.), Chicago (Ill.), Concordia (Wis.), Harper (Ill.), Henry Ford (Mich.), Joliet J.C. (Ill.), NAIA Lincoln (Ill.), the Milwaukee School of Engineering (Wis.), Morton (Ill.), North Central (Ill.), Wheaton (Ill.) and Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Al Hanke Invitational Brackets/Results on

THREE YEARS AGO: Nine Saint John’s wrestlers placed, including two champions, as the Johnnies won the 12-team Al Hanke Invitational back on Jan. 12, 2019. The Johnnies collected 32 victories, 18 of which were pins, to finish with 124 points. The host Bluejays claimed second at 121, followed by Illinois’ Chicago (94) and North Central (82).

Current assistant coach Noah Becker ’20 registered three bonus-point victories at 133 pounds to win his fourth tournament of the season. His closest match, following an opening-round technical fall (17-2) and a pin in the semifinal, was the 12-2 major decision in the championship bout.

Luke Dodd ’19 returned to the mat for the first time since Dec. 8 and posted a 3-0 record of his own to claim SJU’s other title at 197 pounds. He started the tournament with back-to-back pins and took the championship with an 11-6 decision.

Anthony Hennen ’20 won his first two bouts at 141 pounds, a pin, and an 11-5 decision, but fell to fifth-ranked Jimmy McAuliffe of Elmhurst via fall in the title match.

Jerod Novak ’20 battled back from an opening-round loss to claim fourth at 157 pounds in what was his first competition of the season due to knee surgery in the fall. He posted four straight wins in the consolation bracket before falling in the third-place match by a 4-0 decision.

Three Johnnies finished fifth in their respective brackets. Quincy Spiering ’20 went 4-2 at heavyweight and Jacob Scherber ’21 matched his 4-2 record at 174 pounds. Dominic Skawiniak ’20 took fifth with a 3-2 mark at 184 pounds, while Andrew Smith ’20 placed sixth at 141.

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