SJU Ventures to Florida for Two-Day Citrus Invitational

Saint John’s wrestling travels to Florida for the Citrus Invitational this Friday and Saturday, Dec. 29-30, in Fort Lauderdale. – Live Results

THE TOURNEY: The tournament is scheduled for 9 a.m. ET competition Friday and Saturday at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

A LOOK AT THE JOHNNIES: Saint John’s won the dual’s final six matches to earn a 37-15 victory at Buena Vista back on Dec. 9 in Storm Lake, Iowa.

A pin at 149 pounds gave the Beavers a 15-6 lead – after a forfeit at 141 put SJU on the scoreboard – but the Johnnies responded with six-straight wins, including the last four via fall.

Freshman Jon Gettel (Minneapolis, Minn./Benilde-St. Margaret’s) started the streak with a 12-0 major decision at 157 pounds and junior Logan Thorsten (Foley, Minn.) improved to 6-2 with a 7-3 decision at 165.

Freshman Owen Herbst (Buffalo, Minn.) moved his season record to 5-1 with a quick pin in 1:06 at 174 pounds and senior Ben Gilbertson (Sauk Rapids, Minn./Sauk Rapids-Rice) posted a third-period pin (5:54), his first victory of the season (1-3 overall), at 184.

Sophomore Zachariah Hunter (Stillwater, Minn./Stillwater Area) made his season debut and registered a pin in 3:21 to clinch the dual victory at 197 pounds and freshman Cody Kwak (Ridgeland, Wis./Menomonie) ended it with a pin in 3:19 at heavyweight to improve to 6-3.

Saint John’s (SJU) 37, Buena Vista (BVU) 15
125: Tyler Japp (BVU) tech. fall Marcus Hayes, 25-10/6:59 [0-5]
133: Nolan Nguyen (BVU) major dec. Xavier Jones, 18-9 [0-9]
141: Erick Solano (SJU) won by forfeit [6-9]
149: Axel Hernandez (BVU) pinned Connor Krueger, 4:29 [6-15]
157: Jon Gettel (SJU) major dec. Hayden Stout, 12-0 [10-15]
165: Logan Thorsten (SJU) dec. Mason Noel, 7-3 [13-15]
174: Owen Herbst (SJU) pinned Max Mashek, 1:07 [19-15]
184: Ben Gilbertson (SJU) pinned Ryan Hunter, 5:54 [25-15]
197: Zachariah Hunter (SJU) pinned Luis Salazar, 3:21 [31-15]
285: Cody Kwak (SJU) pinned Colton O’Hern, 3:19 [37-15]
165: Kris Castro (SJU) dec. Jonah Siebert, 12-7

REGIONALLY RANKED WRESTLERS: Four Johnnies – Herbst (fifth at 174), Krueger (seventh at 141 pounds), Thorsten (seventh at 165) and Kwak (eighth at heavyweight) – were ranked in the top eight of their respective weight classes in the latest National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Upper Midwest region rankings released Dec. 27. Herbst and Krueger were also listed as honorable mention (Nos. 29-36) by in its latest rankings posted Dec. 23.

WHO WILL BE IN FLORIDA: The Johnnies are scheduled to be joined by No. 6 Castleton (Vt.), Cornell (Iowa), Ferrum (Va.), John Carroll (Ohio), Johns Hopkins (Md.), Division I Liberty (Va.), Division II UNC-Pembroke, Ozarks (Ark.), Roanoke (Va.), NAIA Southeastern (Fla.), NAIA St. Thomas (Fla.) and Ursinus (Pa.).

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LAST YEAR: Fourteen Johnnies competed at last year’s Citrus Invitational. Wrestlers who suffered two losses on the first day of competition and were eliminated, as well as those who recorded their second loss on the morning of Day 2, were added to separate “warrior” (single-elimination, consolation) brackets in adjacent to the main tournament.

Gilbertson led SJU with a 5-3 record to take second place in the Warrior bracket at 184 pounds. He won his first two matches on Day 1 before he suffered a 5-0 loss to seventh-ranked Bentley Schwanebeck-Ostermann of Augsburg in the quarterfinal and bounced to the Warrior bracket with an 11-5 defeat to William Smith of Williams (Mass.). Gilbertson started Day 2 with three-straight wins – two first-period pins and a major decision – before he dropped a narrow 3-2 decision to Stefan Farian of John Carroll (Ohio) in the title bout.

Thorsten and Teagyn Ludwig both finished fourth at 157 and 133 pounds, respectively. Both wrestlers went 0-2 on Day 1 but bounced back with 2-1 records on the final day. Thorsten held his opponent to one point in a pair of decision victories before he fell to Christian Hite of Ferrum (Va.), 10-3, in the semifinal. Ludwig, meanwhile, opened the Warrior bracket with a pin and major decision, but ran out of gas in a technical-fall loss to Evan Husko of Cornell (Iowa) in the semis.

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

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