SJU Competes Sunday at MSU-Moorhead’s Dragon Open

The Johnnie wrestling team competes at Division II MSU-Moorhead’s Dragon Open at 9 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 3.

A LOOK AT THE JOHNNIES: Three Saint John’s wrestling student-athletes reached the podium two weeks ago (Nov. 18) at Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s 8-Man Battle.

Freshman Connor Krueger (Superior, Wis.) posted a 2-0 record to win the title at 141 pounds. Following a bye, Krueger recorded a technical fall and defeated Eau Claire’s Andrew Kested with a pin at the end of the first period for the title. He is now 5-0 to start his collegiate career.

Junior Logan Thorsten (Foley, Minn.) finished second with a 3-1 record in his five-man, round-robin at 165 pounds. He started the day with a pin and technical fall, but dropped his third match via tech fall. Thorsten finished the tournament strong, however, with a 15-2 major decision to improve his season record to 5-2.

Freshman Owen Herbst (Buffalo, Minn.) won his first match at 174 pounds via technical fall, but suffered his first loss of the season (4-1 record) by a 6-5 decision in the semifinal. He claimed third place with a no-decision against senior Ben Gilbertson (Sauk Rapids, Minn./Sauk Rapids-Rice).

A pair of Johnnie underclassmen – sophomore Andy Johnson (St. Cloud, Minn./Tech) and freshman Cody Kwak (Ridgeland, Wis./Menomonie) – won three matches in their round-robin (flight) brackets. Johnson collected two first-period pins to finish 3-1 at 174 pounds, while Kwak went 3-0 with three first-period pins in his collegiate debut.

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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 Tuesday (Nov. 28). Both were listed as honorable mention (Nos. 29-36) by D3wrestle.com.

WHO WILL BE THERE: The Johnnies and MSU-Moorhead are scheduled to be joined by Division II Augustana (S.D.), Concordia-Moorhead, NAIA Jamestown (N.D.), Division II Mary (N.D.), Division II Minot State (N.D.), Division I North Dakota State, Division II Northern State (S.D.), Northland C.T.C., Division II St. Cloud State, Division I South Dakota State and Division II Southwest Minnesota State.

LAST YEAR’S DRAGON OPEN: Three Johnnies placed at last year’s Dragon Open held on Dec. 3 (2022).

Gilbertson went 2-2 at 184 pounds to place fifth. His first three matches were against wrestlers from Division II Minot State (N.D.). Gilbertson bounced back from a first-round loss (8-2) with a narrow 10-9 victory in his first consolation bout. He suffered an 11-9 defeat in the semis but ended the day with a 4-3 decision in overtime for fifth place.

Hayden LeMonds won his first match of the day at 174 pounds via fall, but dropped a close 6-5 decision to Elijah Sterner of Division II Southwest Minnesota State. He left the tournament (medical forfeit) and took sixth.

Teagyn Ludwig went 2-2 at 133 pounds to claim fifth place in the White bracket.

Check out Johnnies Wrestling at gojohnnies.com and on X (Twitter).

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