Saint John’s wrestling begins its 2022-23 season at Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s 8-Man Battle at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 19. – Live Results
Young but eager to get started. That’s the description that best sums up the state of the Saint John’s University wrestling team as the Johnnies begin the 2022-23 season.
In all, a total of 13 freshmen will be part of the roster of a team looking to improve on its performance from a year ago.
But the team is not without experience either. Here is a more in-depth look at how this year’s squad shapes up:
A pair of juniors, Ben Gilbertson (Sauk Rapids, Minn./Sauk Rapids-Rice) and Hayden LeMonds (St. Michael, Minn./St. Michael-Albertville), return in 2022-23. Gilbertson led the Johnnies with a 21-16 record between 174 and 184 pounds last season. Within that record was a team-leading nine decision wins, four major decisions and two technical falls. He went 15-11 against NCAA Division III competition. Gilbertson placed second in the 184-pound bracket at the MSU-Moorhead Dragon Open last December and won the Warrior bracket at 174 pounds at the Citrus Invitational.
LeMonds posted a 7-9 record at 165 pounds a year ago, but only wrestled in two events – seven total matches – after the holiday break due to injury. In the fall, LeMonds finished fourth at both the Wisconsin-Stevens Point Open and Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s 8-Man Battle.
Two SJU sophomores, D.J. Myles (Dayton, Minn./Champlin Park) and Logan Thorsten (Foley, Minn.), made instant impacts as freshmen last season for the Johnnies.
Thorsten tallied the Johnnies’ best winning percentage, .571 (16-12 record), between 149 and 157 pounds, including an 11-7 record against Division III competition. He placed third at the UWEC 8-Man Battle and led SJU with a 6-1 record to finish third at 157 pounds at the Citrus Invitational.
A two-sport athlete (football), Myles led the team in pins last year with seven and went 5-2 against non-Division III opponents for a 9-9 record. He led eight Johnnies in the North Country Open’s silver bracket by taking the title at 197 pounds with a 3-0 record.
The 2022-23 Schedule
SJU opens its 2022-23 season Nov. 19 at UWEC’s 8-Man Battle, followed by MSU-Moorhead’s Dragon Open on Dec. 3. The first dual of the season is a Dec. 10 trip to Buena Vista (Iowa) and the fall semester ends Dec. 29-30 at the Citrus Invitational in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The Johnnies begin 2023 with consecutive, out-of-state tournaments Jan 7 at Central (Iowa) and Jan. 14 at Elmhurst (Ill.) before their lone home event – the annual North Country Open – Jan. 22 in Collegeville. SJU ventures north Jan. 27 to take on Itasca C.C. and returns to Eau Claire, Wis., Feb. 4 for the Blugold Open. The Johnnies close the regular-season schedule with a pair of duals, Feb. 9 at Ridgewater and Feb. 14 at Concordia-Moorhead, before the NCAA Upper Midwest Regional on Feb. 24-25 on the campus of Concordia (Wis.) in Mequon, Wis.
THE TOURNAMENT: The Johnnies and Blugolds will be joined by Augustana (Ill.) and Cornell (Iowa). Each team will have a maximum of two wrestlers in each weight class (hence, the eight-man battle). Extra matches will also be held for the rest of the respective teams on other mats.
FOR SJU: Eighteen Johnnies, including eight freshmen, are scheduled to compete at Saturday’s season opener.
-Freshman Marcus Hayes (Katy, Texas/Cypress Lakes)
-Freshman Teagyn Ludwig (Richmond, Minn./Eden Valley-Watkins)
-Freshman Luke Dorweiler (New Prague, Minn.)
-Freshman Andrew LeMire (Stacy, Minn./Forest Lake)
-Junior Chad Crocker (Stillwater, Minn./Stillwater Area)
-Freshman Sam Hamilton (Parker, Colo./Valor Christian)
-Sophomore Nate Langer (St. Paul, Minn./Eastview)
-Sophomore Logan Thorsten (Foley, Minn.)
-Senior Logan Edwards (Prior Lake, Minn.)
-Junior Hayden LeMonds (St. Michael, Minn./St. Michael-Albertville)
-Freshman Dan Miller (Isle, Minn.)
-Freshman Jacob Vaughan (New Prague, Minn.)
-Sophomore Noah Whitfield-Lopez (Wheatland, Wyo.)
-Sophomore Ben Gilbertson (Sauk Rapids, Minn./Sauk Rapids-Rice)
-Sophomore Tyler Karas (Stillwater, Minn./Stillwater Area)
-Sophomore D.J. Myles (Dayton, Minn./Champlin Park)
-Freshman James Diaz (Hemet, Calif./Beaumont)
-Sophomore Thomas Allen (Colorado Springs, Colo./St. Mary’s)
LAST YEAR: Four Johnnies claimed top-four finishes at last year’s Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s 8-Man Battle on Nov. 20 (2021). Gilbertson finished third with a 2-1 record at 184 pounds. He started his day with a pin, but suffered a 5-2 decision in the semifinal. He bounced back with a major decision (14-3) over Langer in the third-place match.
Thorsten matched Gilbertson’s record and finish at 157 pounds. He, like Gilbertson, started the tournament with a fall and lost a nail-biter, 6-5, in the semifinal. He returned the favor with a 5-4 decision over Buena Vista’s Jacob Hanssen in the third-place bout.
LeMonds claimed fourth with a 1-2 record at 165 pounds. He pinned his first opponent before falling to Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Chad Schmidt, who was ranked No. 7 nationally, by a 10-4 decision in the semifinal and suffered a 13-6 defeat in the third-place match.