Caleb Meekins’ 133 Finals pin of No. 1 Reece Barnhardt (Mary) headlines strong SCSU performances
ROCHESTER, Minn. – Eight Huskies earned titles at the Yellowjacket Open as No. 2 St. Cloud State Wrestling enjoyed a strong performance in Rochester on Saturday.
Caleb Meekins headlined the six titles earned in the Open Division of the Yellowjacket, pinning No. 1 Reece Barnhardt of Mary in the Finals bout at 133 while going 3-0 with a major and a tech fall to go with his fall. Alyeus Craig went 3-0 with a tech fall at 141 to earn a title while Nick Novak won the 149-pound title with a 3-0 open, recording a major decision and a tech fall.
No. 5 Colby Njos won each of his three matches to take the title at 157 while No. 1 Abner Romero outscored his three opponents 38-5 to earn the 174-pound title. Dominic Murphy rounded out the Open Division champs with a 4-0 open in his debut at 197, scoring a major along with an upset 3-1 decision over No. 4 Matt Kaylor of Mary.
Elijah Novak and Jadon Mims were co-champs in the Freshman/Sophomore Division at heavyweight. Novak went 3-0 while Mims was 4-0 – both true freshmen heavies won by fall in their first collegiate match.
Eight more Huskies earned top-three finishes at the Yellowjacket including four runner-up placements. In the Open Division, No. 5 Paxton Creese (2-1, TF) took second at 125, Cameron Riggs (3-1, MD, PF) took second at 149 and Shaeden Scheidt (2-1) finished runner-up at 184. Phillip Kue (2-1, PF), Jimmy Pierandozzi (2-1, PF) and Tyson Meyer (3-1, 2 PF) each took third at 141, 157 and 184 respectively.
Isaac Grams had a pair of pins and went 3-1 to place second at 197 in the FR/SO Division. Aoci Bernard (4-1, TF) took third at 149 as did both Owen Herbst (3-1, 2 PF) and Logan Vaughan (2-1, TF) at 165.
SCSU led the open in pins, tech falls and match winning percentage.
Quotables – St. Cloud State head coach Steve Costanzo
“It’s early – I saw some good things, but I also saw a lot of things we need to work on. It’s a good indicator of where we need to go from here in terms of our practices. It’s early, but overall it was a pretty good day for a lot of the Huskies.”
On new faces that impressed… “Obviously at 133, Caleb Meekins went out and pinned the No. 1 guy in the country in the finals – I was really impressed by the way he performed in that finals match. Abner Romero at 174 wrestled really smart and dominated. Those two guys looked pretty good. We had some young guys that I thought performed fairly well in the freshmen/sophomore division. Aoci Bernard at 149 had a really good day finishing third, and we had two co-champions at heavyweight with Elijah Novak and Jadon Mims. Overall, I thought our younger guys got some matches – it’s important for those guys to go out and experience what it’s like to wrestle in college.”
On Alyeus Craig and Dominic Murphy moving up weight classes… “I was really pleased with those guys. Alyeus actually wrestled up a weight – it’s possible he might be going back down to 133 – but he looked pretty good at 141. I was really impressed by the way Dom wrestled going up two weight classes from last year and winning that division. It’s really promising at those two weights in terms of depth and what we have to look forward to at 197.”
Analyzing key areas to address after the season’s first open… “We just have to do a better job in tieups, setting up our shots better, finishes – we’re not finishing very well from our leg attacks. Getting up from the bottom, we need a lot of work on the bottom. Putting two or three things together on the bottom and chain wrestling more. It’s early, and there’s a lot to work on. There’s a lot of practice ahead of us. The guys are going to have to put some effort in themselves, get some extra workouts and extra drill sessions in.”
Up Next: The Huskies wrestle next at the Dakota Wesleyan Open on Saturday, November 12 in Mitchell, South Dakota.
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