SJU Travels to Wisconsin for This Weekend’s NCAA Regional

Saint John’s wrestling competes at the NCAA Upper Midwest Regional this Friday (11 a.m.) and Saturday (10 a.m.), Feb. 25-26, at Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s McPhee P.E. Center.

Competition begins at 11 a.m. Friday and goes through the championship quarterfinals and consolation quarterfinals. The regional resumes at 10 a.m. Saturday and will award first-through-sixth at each weight class.

HOW TO GET TO NATIONALS: The top three finishers in each of the regional’s 10 weight classes advance to the 2022 NCAA Division III Championships, which will be held March 11-12 at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

A LOOK AT THE JOHNNIES: Nine Saint John’s wrestlers competed at Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Don Parker Open back on Feb. 5, a day after the Johnnies suffered a 54-0 dual loss to the Blugolds.

Sophomore Ben Gilbertson (Sauk Rapids, Minn./Sauk Rapids-Rice) led the Johnnies with a 2-2 record at 174 pounds, improving to 21-14 on the year. Both of his wins were for bonus points (technical fall and major decision).

Freshman Logan Thorsten (Foley, Minn.) won his first match via fall at 149 pounds, but suffered an 8-5 defeat in the second-round bout and left the tournament. Another freshman from Foley, Levi Henry, recorded SJU’s other win at 184 pounds.

WHO WILL BE THERE: In addition to SJU and the 15th-ranked Blugolds, the NCAA Upper Midwest region consists of No. 6 Augsburg, Aurora (Ill.), Carthage (Wis.), Chicago (Ill.), Concordia-Moorhead, Concordia (Wis.), Elmhurst (Ill.), Lakeland (Wis.), the Milwaukee School of Engineering (Wis.), Pacific (Ore.), Wheaton (Ill.), No. 7 Wisconsin-La Crosse, No. 14 Wisconsin-Oshkosh, No. 25 Wisconsin-Platteville, No. 21 Wisconsin-Stevens Point and No. 11 Wisconsin-Whitewater.

FOR THE JOHNNIES: SJU is scheduled to send these seven Johnnies to this weekend’s NCAA regional:

149: Freshman Logan Thorsten (16-10)
157: Junior Julian Mares (4-13)
165: Sophomore Hayden LeMonds (6-7)
174: Sophomore Ben Gilbertson (21-14)
184: Freshman D.J. Myles (9-7)
197: Freshman Levi Henry (4-16)
285: Freshman Thomas Allen (0-17)

TWO YEARS AGO: Noah Becker ’20 earned a trip to the NCAA Division III Championships with a second-place finish at the last NCAA Upper Midwest Regional held Feb. 28-29, 2020, at Augsburg.

Becker punched his ticket to nationals, which were scheduled to be held March 13-14 at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (but were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic), with a 7-5 win over second-ranked Victor Gliva of Augsburg in the 133-pound semifinals. He finished second overall with a 6-5 loss to undefeated No. 6/7 Matt Berlin (32-0 record) of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the championship bout.

Becker scored a late reversal to trail 4-3 against Gliva at the end of a fast-paced first period. Gliva chose down to start the second period and escaped, but Becker scored a takedown to tie the match at 5-5. Becker chose down and escaped 20 seconds into the third period and gained the extra point due to riding time.

The Johnnies’ other senior in action on the regional’s second day, Jerod Novak ’20, ended his collegiate career with a sixth-place finish at 157 pounds. He started his day two wins shy of the third-place match and fell one victory short. Novak won his first match, 3-2, but suffered a 5-2, double-overtime loss to eighth-ranked Steve Bonsall of the University of Chicago in the consolation semifinal. Wisconsin-Platteville’s Alexander Strueder recorded a takedown in the closing seconds to take the fifth-place match, 4-3, as Novak ended the season with a 14-8 record.

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