Johnnies Host Ridgewater Friday for Senior Night, Home Finale

Saint John’s wrestling hosts Ridgewater for Senior Night and its home finale at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, in Sexton Arena.

A LOOK AT THE JOHNNIES: Four Saint John’s wrestlers finished in the top eight at Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Don Parker Open last Saturday (Feb. 3). Only 24 of SJU’s 46 countable matches were against NCAA Division III competition.

Freshman Connor Krueger (Superior, Wis.) led the Johnnies with a seventh-place finish at 141 pounds. He started his day with a pair of decisions, 6-0 and 7-1, before he fell to Division I South Dakota State’s Avery Allen via major decision in the quarterfinal. Krueger suffered his second loss of the day by a decision but bounced back with a 24-9 technical fall in the seventh-place bout. He is now 19-8 on the season.

Sophomore Zachariah Hunter (Stillwater, Minn./Stillwater Area), like Krueger, started the tournament with a pair of wins – a pin and technical fall – at 197 pounds but suffered three straight defeats to non-NCAA Division III wrestlers (one Division I and two Division II) to place eighth. He is now 13-5 on the mat this season.

Two other Johnnies – senior Ben Gilbertson (Sauk Rapids, Minn./Sauk Rapids-Rice) and sophomore Andy Johnson (St. Cloud, Minn./Tech) – wrestled a handful of matches before leaving the tournament and placing eighth. Gilbertson won his first two matches via decision but dropped a 5-2 decision in the quarterfinal before leaving the tourney at 184 pounds. Johnson, meanwhile, went 1-1 at 174 pounds.

Freshman Cody Kwak (Ridgeland, Wis./Menomonie) won the Consolation B title at heavyweight with a 2-1 record, all by fall, and is now 17-9 on the year.

Junior D.J. Myles (Dayton, Minn./Champlin Park) went 3-2 at 197 pounds and finished as the Consolation A runner-up, while freshman Aidan Wayne (Maple Grove, Minn./Osseo) posted a 2-2 mark to end as the Consolation B runner-up at the same weight.

RANKINGS: Three Johnnies – Herbst (sixth at 174), Krueger (seventh at 141 pounds) and Hunter (eighth at 197 pounds) – were ranked in the top eight of their respective weight classes in the latest National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Upper Midwest region rankings released Jan. 26. Krueger was also listed as honorable mention (Nos. 29-36) by in its latest rankings posted Feb. 1.

SJU’S PROBABLE LINEUP: The Johnnies are scheduled to send this lineup to the mat for Friday night’s dual, which is likely to start at 197 pounds.

125: Open
133: Erick Solano (5-11)
141: Connor Krueger (19-8)
149: Open
157: Kris Castro (15-10)
165: Logan Thorsten (15-8) or Noah Whitfield-Lopez (4-7)
174: Owen Herbst (9-2) or Andy Johnson (10-10)
184: Ben Gilbertson (7-8)
197: Zachariah Hunter (13-6)
285: Thomas Allen (1-8) or Cody Kwak (17-9)

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LAST YEAR’S DUAL: SJU suffered a 25-19 loss at Ridgewater last Feb. 9 (2023) in Willmar. The dual featured a scoring run from each team and was decided in the final match.

Following a double forfeit at 125 pounds, Teagyn Ludwig gave SJU an early 4-0 lead with a 12-4 major decision at 133. Ridgewater, however, answered with four-straight wins to gain a 19-4 lead.

The Johnnies put together a three-match comeback – a forfeit at 174 pounds, a pin from Hayden LeMonds at 184, and a 5-3 decision from Myles at 197 – to tie the dual at 19-19 heading into the heavyweight bout. Hunter bumped up from his usual 197 pounds to 285 and was pinned in the second period.

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