Division II St. Cloud State visits SJU tonight on the mat

The Johnnie wrestling team hosts No. 2 St. Cloud State, the defending NCAA Division II national champions, for a 7 p.m. dual on Tuesday, Nov. 24, in Sexton Arena.

A LOOK AT THE JOHNNIES: Seven Saint John’s wrestlers competed at the annual Augsburg Open on Saturday (Nov. 21) in Minneapolis. Senior Mike Pleski (Stacy, Minn./Forest Lake) lost his first match at 141 pounds, but bounced back with two wins before falling to MSU-Mankato’s Tanner Mills by a narrow 5-4 score. Sophomore Nick Pegelow (Eagan, Minn./Eastview) bumped up to heavyweight from 197 pounds, like the Nov. 18 dual against Southwest Minnesota State, and posted a 2-2 record to finish sixth.

A LOOK AT THE HUSKIES: St. Cloud State (0-0 dual record) competed at the Concordia-Moorhead Open this past Saturday (Nov. 21) and earned seven top-three finishes, including two champions. Redshirt-senior Clint Poster, the top-ranked wrestler in Division II at 165 pounds, led the way with three consecutive pins to win the title. Redshirt-junior Uthman Rabiu, meanwhile, won the 184-pound title. Redshirt-freshman Brett Velasquez placed second at 125 pounds, falling to Division I Northern Iowa’s Dylan Peters, 13-5. Redshirt-junior Mike Rhone and redshirt-senior V.J. Giulio also took second at 133 and 197 pounds, respectively. Heavyweight Austin Goergen, a redshirt-junior, is 5-0 and ranked No. 1 nationally.

THE LAST MEETING: Then-No. 5 St. Cloud State posted a 38-0 shutout of Saint John’s the last time the two squads met on Dec. 5, 2013, in St. Cloud. Senior John Wells (Janesville, Wis./Milton) erased a 4-0 deficit with six straight points, including over a minute of riding time, to build a 6-4 lead at 125 pounds but was pinned by Tanner Johnshoy in 3:43. SCSU’s Andy Pokorny, a redshirt-senior that was ranked No. 2 in Division II and a two-time national runner-up, gave the Huskies a 10-0 lead with a 15-1 major decision over Pleski at 133.

Matt Nelson, who was ranked second nationally at 141 pounds and a returning All-American (fifth place), posted a 10-4 decision over senior Ben Henle (Spicer, Minn./New London-Spicer). Jay Hildreth tallied a 10-3 decision against Joe Hessing ’14 at 149 pounds, while Clint Poster recorded an 8-2 win over Ryan Arne ’14 at 157. The fourth-ranked wrestler in Division II and a returning All-American (fourth place), Poster led by a 2-1 score after two periods over Arne.

Ryan Zumwalt took advantage of riding time and a takedown with 40 seconds remaining in the match to tally a 7-3 decision over Brandon Seppelt ’14. Taylor Lewandowski increased the Huskies’ lead to 26-0 with a 15-4 major decision against junior Teddy Erickson (Annandale, Minn.) at 174 pounds. Clayton Jennissen continued erased a 1-0 lead with five points late in the second period en route to a 6-2 win over Josh Willaert at 184 pounds.

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Chris Brassell registered a 4-1 win against Ryan Michaelis ’15 at 197 pounds and Austin Goergen ended the dual with a pin in 6:22 over John Scepaniak ’14. The matches were the first for Michaelis and Scepaniak due to football.

The shutout was the first against SJU since Nov. 22, 2006, at then-No. 1 Augsburg (43-0).

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