Road test for No. 5 Huskies awaits at No. 10 Upper Iowa

St. Cloud State looks to jump Peacocks in NSIC standings on Thursday evening

ST. CLOUD, Minn. – No. 5 St. Cloud State Wrestling continues their five dual road stand on Thursday with a match against No. 10 Upper Iowa. The Huskies and Peacocks will begin at 7:00 p.m. CT in Fayette at the Dorman Memorial Gymnasium, squaring off in a battle between the second and third-place teams in the current NSIC standings.

Wrestling their final season in the NSIC, Heath Grimm’s Upper Iowa squad enters the dual 9-3 with a 5-1 record in Northern Sun competition. The Peacocks’ lone conference loss came at the hands of No. 14 Mary, while the team features four ranked wrestlers in No. 4 Tate Murty (141), No. 2 Chase Luensman (165), No. 8 Dalton Hahn (197) and No. 10 Zach Ryg (HWT).

St. Cloud State and Upper Iowa first met this season at the NWCA National Duals. Advancing to the Quarterfinal with No. 9 Upper Iowa, SCSU 125-pounder and No. 6 Paxton Creese started things off with a textbook 20-6 major decision over Colby Lopez. Sam Spencer toughed out a key 7-5 decision over veteran Kaden Anderlik at 133, then No. 8 Alyeus Craig upset No. 5 Tate Murty with a 7-1 decision at 141. No. 4 Joey Bianchini won an 8-6 decision over Ethen Doty at 149 before No. 4 Nick Novak rolled to a 16-2 major decision in his bout at 157 against Jackson Rolfs. No. 10 Anthony Herrera lost a tight bout at 165 to No. 2 Chase Luensman, then No. 1 Abner Romero dominated Cael Meyer with a 15-4 major decision at 174. Bryce FitzPatrick dominated his bout at 184, majoring Cameron Lopez 12-0. No. 4 Dominic Murphy dropped a major decision to No. 9 Dalton Hahn at 197, then Elijah Novak closed things out by scoring an early takedown in SV-1 to earn a 4-2 decision over Jordan Baumler.

Watch St. Cloud State at Upper Iowa


“We have a tough matchup against Upper Iowa. They have a lot of veterans in their lineup, they have a lot of experience. We had the opportunity to wrestle them at the National Duals – I do think it’s going to be a lot closer dual than it was at the Duals. We’re going to have our hands full.”

“It’s a tough environment. It’s not one of my favorite places to go, to be honest with you. They love wrestling in Iowa, and they love wrestling in Upper Iowa. Heath Grimm does a great job of promoting the sport there. It’s a small gym so it’s super rowdy, they’re going to have it full, and we just have to make sure we don’t let those little things get to us because if they do it could be a huge factor.”

“We just communicate with our guys and let them know what’s ahead of them. Some of them have been there before and know what it’s all about, but with our other guys it’s just a communication piece I share with them. I just want them to focus on themselves and not worry about the surroundings or anything else.”

“I think guys have stepped in well. It’s an opportunity for them, and they need to take advantage of it. Whether it’s an opportunity to them to possibly be a starter this year, in the future or just taking advantage of their opportunities and going with it. It’s good for them – they’ve done a great job for us, and we’re really leaning on those guys at this time.”

“Saturday we definitely came out with a lot more energy than we did on Friday. I don’t know if it was because it was an early afternoon match versus a later match on Friday, but we certainly communicated to them what we needed to do a better job of and we responded. A lot of the guys who had leads against Northern State kept their leads because they continued to wrestle, not holding back and holding onto leads. That’s the key – that’s the key when you go down to Upper Iowa, when you get ahead you have to keep putting points on the board. You can’t allow them to stay in the match with you and get any confidence.”

“Upper Iowa has a lot of experience. Some of their guys have been in big matches. They’re gritty and they’re tough. We just have to go down there and not worry about the surroundings – just focus on each individual at a time and good things will happen. If we’re consistent all the way up and down the lineup, which we preach, I don’t think we have anything to worry about. You can’t leave the match in the hands of the officials, because that can be a factor in some of those close matches. We have to take those matches on and finish them ourselves.”

“I think we’re in a good place. There’s still plenty of time for improvement, we still have a few weeks before the Regional Tournament. Every match counts from here on out. We just want to get our guys healthy, get them confident and get them into the Regional tournament and have a good performance. That’s what we’re looking forward to. Before we get there it’s just one day at a time and one match at a time.”

St. Cloud State enters the weekend ranked No. 5 by the NWCA and No. 3 by the The Open Mat in tournament formats, No. 5 by Intermat and at No. 4 in duals by The Open Mat. 10 Huskies are currently ranked, with seven receiving notice by the NWCA: No. 7 Paxton Creese (125), No. 11 Sam Spencer (133), No. 11 Alyeus Craig (141), No. 8 Joey Bianchini (149), No. 2 Nick Novak (157), No. 1 Abner Romero (174) and No. 10 Dominic Murphy (197). The Open Mat has 10 Huskies recognized: No. 5 Paxton Creese (125), No. 11 Sam Spencer (133), No. 9 Alyeus Craig (141), No. 5 Joey Bianchini (149), No. 2 Nick Novak (157), No. 15 Anthony Herrera (165), No. 1 Abner Romero (174), No. 16 Shaeden Scheidt (184), No. 6 Dominic Murphy (197) and No. 9 Elijah Novak (HWT). Intermat’s January rankings place No. 7 Paxton Creese (125), No. 11 Sam Spencer (133), No. 8 Joey Bianchini (149), No. 2 Nick Novak (157), No. 1 Abner Romero (174) and No. 10 Dominic Murphy (197).

Two ranked Wolves went down as No. 5 St. Cloud State cruised to a 30-3 win over No. 20 Northern State at Wachs Arena on Saturday afternoon. The Huskies won the first six matches and dropped just one bout – a tight sudden-victory loss – in a dominant win over their conference foe. Six Huskies earned the riding time point as SCSU piled up 24 takedowns, giving up just three to Northern State. The Huskies added six nearfalls on the afternoon.

Blake Legred drew the start at 157 for the second straight night last weekend against Northern State and stayed red-hot, dragging down Robert Coyle III early and riding out the first. Legred chose down in the second, earning his escape, then adding another takedown and two tilts for an 11-0 lead through two. Starting neutral in the third, Legred shot in for another two and tilted Coyle III again for a 15-0 tech fall at 5:56. The redshirt junior has now won each of his last nine matches, outscoring opponents 68-2 in that span with eight shutouts, two tech falls and a major decision.

No. 10 Dominic Murphy had a big test at 197 on Saturday against Northern State, drawing No. 3 Cole Huss. True to form, Murphy came out firing early in the first and brought down Huss with a pair of takedowns. Murphy turned Huss for a four-count, piling up an 8-1 lead before cutting him. The SCSU 197-pounder earned his escape in the second and added another takedown in the third, winning ties and staying strong on his feet for an 11-4 decision. Murphy’s nearfall was the first scored on Huss this season, while the 11 points are the most the Wolves’ All-American has surrendered in 2022-23. Taking over the reigns at 197 from Noah Ryan this season, Murphy has already drawn seven ranked opponents – going 4-3 against them with signature wins against No. 1 Dalton Abney and Huss.

Information regarding single dual and season tickets can be found at For all the latest on St. Cloud State Wrestling, stay tuned to and follow the team on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

View More College News