The nationally-ranked Saint John’s wrestling team hosts No. 2 (Division II) St. Cloud State this Friday, Jan. 14. The dual is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Sexton Arena in Collegeville. – Listen Live (WBHR-660 AM) | Live Results/Blog
–Head coach Brandon Novak (2:28)
A LOOK AT THE JOHNNIES: No. 6 SJU (11-3 dual record) finished sixth out of 16 teams at the esteemed NWCA/Cliff Keen Division III National Duals last weekend in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The Johnnies defeated No. 26 Johnson & Wales (R.I.) 42-0 in the first round before losing two matches in overtime and forfeiting the heavyweight match in a 24-10 loss to No. 6 Ithaca (N.Y.). SJU bounced back with a 23-18 win over No. 25 Delaware Valley (Pa.) in Saturday’s finale. SJU defeated familiar-foe Concordia-Moorhead 22-21 to advance to the fifth-place dual, which was won by No. 5 Coe (Iowa), 23-18. SJU surrendered six points at the start of each dual due to a forfeit at 125 pounds.
A LOOK AT THE HUSKIES: SCSU (10-1 dual record) captured third place at the Division II Duals last weekend. The Huskies opened the tournament with a 32-6 win over Limestone (S.C.) and then charted a 27-9 win over No. 13 North Carolina-Pembroke on Jan. 8. In day two of the tournament, the Huskies lost a tough 18-15 decision to No. 3 Augustana (S.D.). SCSU rebounded in the match for third place with a convincing 25-9 win over No. 5 Newberry (S.C.).
NATIONAL RANKINGS: Saint John’s fell to No. 6 in the latest Brute-Adidas National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division III team rankings released Jan. 11. Five of the Johnnies’ starting 10 were ranked individually: senior Matt Baarson (15-2 record; Brooklyn Park, Minn./Champlin Park) moved up two spots to No. 3 at 165 pounds; senior Minga Batsukh (11-1 record; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia/St. Benedict’s Prep, N.J.) slipped one spot to No. 4 at 149; junior Matt Pfarr (12-4 record; Le Sueur, Minn./Le Sueur-Henderson) rejoined the rankings at No. 4 at 174; junior Dustin Baxter (12-4 record; Fairbanks, Alaska/West Valley) moved up one spot to No. 7 at 184; and senior Tony Willaert (9-6 overall record, 8-4 record at 197; North Mankato, Minn./Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial) stayed at No. 10 at 197.
The Huskies were ranked No. 2 in the latest NCAA Division II Coaches’ poll released Jan. 4. Six Huskies were ranked individually: Gabe Suarez (No. 7 at 141 pounds), John Sundgren (No. 6 at 157), Tad Merritt (No. 2 at 165), Shamus O’Grady (No. 6 at 174), Mic Berg (No. 5 at 184) and Jake Kahnke (No. 1 at 285).
RECENT SERIES: SJU is 6-9 against the Huskies in the last 15 meetings, including a 3-4 record in Collegeville. Each of the last two meetings, both wins by SCSU (17-16 and 22-17), have been decided by one match.
LAST YEAR’S MEETING: A forfeit at 125 pounds proved to be the difference as then-No. 9 (NCAA Division II) St. Cloud State defeated then-No. 9 (NCAA Division III) Saint John’s 22-17 on Feb. 11 in St. Cloud. Senior Drew Larson (Willmar, Minn.) started the dual at 149 pounds with a 13-5 major decision to give SJU an early 4-0 lead. The Huskies took their first lead at 6-4 with a pin from John Sundgren at 157 pounds. Baarson improved to 21-2 on the season with an 11-4 decision at 165. Baarson was two seconds away from a major decision as the referee began to count back points as the match ended. SCSU regained the lead with a decision at 174 before the evening’s lone upset occurred. Sophomore Mitch Hagen(Sunburg, Minn./Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg) upset Derek Skala, the third-ranked 184-pounder in NCAA Division II, by a 6-4 decision. The victory gave SJU its last lead of the dual at 10-9.
The Huskies took a 22-10 lead via a major decision, decision and forfeit at 197, 285 and 125, respectively. The Johnnies fought back, literally, to win the dual’s final two matches. Mogi Baatar was down 9-2 early in the third period before outscoring his opponent 13-5 to claim a 15-14 victory at 133. Batsukh improved to 10-2 on the season with a 13-3 major decision to end the dual. Pfarr did not compete at 174 pounds for the Johnnies due to injury.
125 – Trent Herold (SCSU) wins by forfeit [10-22]
133 – Mogi Baatar (No. 6, SJU) dec. Shane McQuade, 15-14 [13-22]
141 – Minga Batsukh (No. 2, SJU) major dec. Gabe Suarez, 13-3 [17-22]
149 – Drew Larson (SJU) major dec. Jacob Horn, 13-5 [4-0]
157 – John Sundgren (No. 8, SCSU) pinned John Vaith, 1:22 [4-6]
165 – Matt Baarson (No. 6, SJU) dec. Joe Andersen, 11-4 [7-6]
174 – Shamus O’Grady (SCSU) dec. Dustin Raygor, 7-2 [7-9]
184 – Mitch Hagen (SJU) dec. Derek Skala (No. 3), 6-4 [10-9]
197 – Luke Munkelwitz (No. 6, SCSU) major dec. James Carlson, 19-5 [10-13]
Hwt – Jake Kahnke (No. 6, SCSU) dec. Tony Willaert, 11-6 [10-16]