Johnnies Travel to Iowa Saturday for Season’s First Dual

Saint John’s wrestling travels south for a 1 p.m. dual at Buena Vista on Saturday, Dec. 9, in Storm Lake, Iowa.

A LOOK AT THE JOHNNIES: Four Saint John’s wrestlers won multiple matches in the White Division at Division II MSU-Moorhead’s Dragon Open on Sunday, Dec. 3.

The Johnnies and Concordia-Moorhead were the lone Division III representatives in the tournament, and were joined by the host Dragons, Division II Augustana (S.D.), NAIA Jamestown (N.D.), Division II Mary (N.D.), Minnesota North-Itasca, Division II Minot State (N.D.), Division I North Dakota State, Division II Northern State (S.D.), Northland C.T.C., Ridgewater, Division II St. Cloud State, Division I South Dakota State and Division II Southwest Minnesota State.

Sophomore Andy Johnson (St. Cloud, Minn./Tech) led SJU with a third-place finish – a 3-1 record – at 174 pounds. Following a first-round bye, Johnson posted a 15-3 major decision in his first match, but fell to Treytin Byers of Minnesota North-Itasca by a narrow 9-7 decision in the semifinal. He bounced back with another major decision (8-0) and edged Ridgewater’s Cody Brott 6-5 in the third-place match. Johnson is now 8-3 so far this season.

Freshman Kris Castro (Simi Valley, Calif./Chaminade) led the Johnnies with four wins (4-2 record) and placed fourth at 165 pounds. He recorded a technical fall, pin, decision and advanced to the third-place bout via medical forfeit, but suffered both losses to Concordia-Moorhead’s Zach Pribyl.

Freshman Cody Kwak (Ridgeland, Wis./Menomonie) won his first two matches of the day in dominating fashion, a first-period pin and an 18-1 technical fall, but dropped his next three to finish sixth at heavyweight.

Freshman Xavier Jones (Annandale, Minn.) went 2-2, including a technical fall and pin, but did not place at 133 pounds in his collegiate debut.

Freshman Connor Krueger (Superior, Wis.), who is ranked fifth in the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Upper Midwest region rankings, finished fourth with a 1-2 record in the Red Division’s 141-pound bracket. Both of his losses, the first of the season, were major decisions to Division I wrestlers. The win was a 7-2 decision over MSU-Moorhead’s Hunter Hayes. Krueger is now 6-2 this season.

REGIONALLY RANKED: A pair of Johnnies, Krueger (fifth at 141 pounds) and Herbst (sixth at 174), were ranked in the top six of their respective weight classes in the latest National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Upper Midwest region rankings released Nov. 28. Herbst was also listed as honorable mention (Nos. 29-36) by Dec. 7.

SJU’S PROBABLE LINEUP: The Johnnies are scheduled to send the following lineup to Iowa Saturday:

125: Sophomore Marcus Hayes (3-6) or Freshman Erick Solano (2-3)
133: Freshman Xavier Jones (2-2)
141: Freshman Connor Krueger (6-2)
149: Open
157: Freshman Jon Gettel (3-5)
165: Junior Logan Thorsten (5-2)
174: Freshman Owen Herbst (4-1)
184: Senior Ben Gilbertson (0-3)
197: Sophomore Zachariah Hunter (0-0)
285: Freshman Cody Kwak (5-3)

Watch Saint John’s at Buena Vista

A LOOK AT THE BEAVERS: Buena Vista (1-3 dual record) fell at No. 15 Coe (Iowa), 45-9, Wednesday night (Dec. 6) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Junior Nolan Nguyen gave the Beavers an early 6-5 advantage with a pin at 133 pounds midway through the third period. The result was his fifth win of the season and first by fall. After the Kohawks regained the lead with BVU being open at 141 pounds, fifth-year Axel Hernandez pulled out a thrilling 8-5 victory in sudden victory at 149 that pushed his season record to 9-1 overall. Hernandez finished eighth at the NCAA Regional and finished with a 16-7 record. The Kohawks took advantage of two more open weights by BVU at 184 and heavyweight, and won its final four matches by bonus points (a major decision and three pins). The Beavers went 3-13 overall last season, including a 1-7 mark in the American Rivers Conference.

TWO YEARS AGO: Saint John’s won four of the seven matches held but fell to Buena Vista (Iowa) 32-20 in the Johnnies’ home opener the last time these two teams met for a dual on Nov. 13, 2021, in Sexton Arena. A dual was scheduled for last Dec. 10 (2022) but it was canceled.

All four victories two years ago were bonus-point wins for SJU, which forfeited the first three weights (125, 133, 141).

Ethan Warren and junior Logan Thorsten (Foley, Minn.) started the actual wrestling portion of the dual, following the forfeits, with major decisions at 149 (12-3) and 157 pounds (12-2), respectively.

The Beavers answered with a decision, but pins from junior Noah Whitfield-Lopez (Wheatland, Wyo.) and senior Ben Gilbertson (Sauk Rapids, Minn./Sauk Rapids-Rice) at 174 and 184 pounds, respectively, brought SJU to within one point (21-20).

BVU sealed the dual win with a pair of bonus-point victories in the final two weights.

SERIES HISTORY: The Johnnies are 0-8 against the Beavers since 2000.

-Dec. 2, 2000 in Collegeville (L, 16-18)
-Feb. 2, 2002 in Storm Lake, Iowa (L, 15-32)
-Feb. 1, 2003 in Storm Lake, Iowa (L, 13-20)
-Jan. 14, 2006 in Cedar Falls, Iowa (L, 9-31)
-Dec. 15, 2007 in Collegeville (L, 7-27)
-Nov. 16, 2018 in Collegeville (L, 12-31)
-Jan. 10, 2020 in Storm Lake, Iowa (L, 20-28)
-Nov. 12, 2021 in Collegeville (L, 20-32)

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