Johnnies and Cobbers Meet Tonight in Moorhead

Saint John’s wrestling travels to face Concordia-Moorhead for a 7 p.m. dual tonight in Moorhead.

Four wrestlers found the podium for Saint John’s (1-2 dual record) last Saturday (Jan. 20) at the Minnesota West C.T.C. Open in Worthington. The unseeded tournament consisted of 221 wrestlers, of which the majority hailed from scholarship programs at the Division I, Division II and NAIA levels. The 10 Johnnies combined to wrestle only two Division III opponents on the day (both from Concordia-Moorhead).

Junior Luke Dodd (Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) went 4-1 at 184 pounds to take fifth place. He started his day with a 7-6 win over Division II St. Cloud State’s Riley Vanik, but fell to Braiden Nelson (8-3) of Division II Northern State (S.D.) in the quarterfinal. Dodd bounced back with three straight wins to claim fifth and improve to 10-7 on the season.

Sophomore Quincy Spiering (Mounds View, Minn./St. Thomas Academy), like Dodd, also went 4-1 to finish fifth at heavyweight. His four wins consisted of three pins and an 8-0 major decision over Iowa Central C.C.’s Jordan Hill in the fifth-place match. Spiering now touts an 8-3 record on the year.

Two SJU sophomores, Noah Becker (Browerville, Minn.) and Jerod Novak (Aitkin, Minn.) were scheduled to wrestle in seventh-place matches but the bouts were canceled. Becker went 2-2 at 125 pounds, with both losses decided by a 3-2 margin to Kahlen Morris of Division I South Dakota State. Becker is now 17-6 this season. Novak, meanwhile, posted a 3-2 mark at 157 pounds to improve to 12-9 on the year.

NEW RANKINGS: Dodd fell two spots to ninth in the latest National Wrestling Coaches’ Association (NWCA) rankings released Jan. 22, but moved up one spot to No. 8 in the rankings released this morning. Becker is still listed as a “Contender,” just outside the top 10 on the list at 125.

A LOOK AT THE COBBERS: Concordia-Moorhead (4-9 dual record) earned four, top-four finishes at the Worthington Open on Saturday (Jan. 20). Senior Joe Heinz led the way with a 4-0 record and a title at 165 pounds. Seniors Aaron Dick (third at 133 pounds) and Kody Van Den Eykel (second at 197), and freshman Alex Skaare (fourth at 149) all finished in the top four in their respective weight classes. The Cobbers’ last dual was a 36-6 home loss Jan. 18 to top-ranked Augsburg (11-1 dual record). Heinz and classmate Jake Johnson gained back-to-back victories against the Auggies, but it was not enough to overcome the 24-0 deficit.

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TONIGHT’S MATCHUPS: The two teams are scheduled to send these wrestlers to the mat tonight.

125: Noah Becker (17-6) vs. Jake Nohre (15-16)
133: Andrew Smith (11-7) vs. Aaron Dick (18-11)
141: Anthony Hennen (6-12) vs. Cole Kubesh (7-10)
149: Brandon Ortman (6-6) vs. Ty Johnson (11-11)
157: Jerod Novak (12-9) vs. Keaton Long (9-11)
165: Brady Mehr (1-2) vs. Joe Heinz (17-9)
174: Dan Gainer (5-12) vs. Jake Johnson (13-13)
184: No. 9 Luke Dodd (10-7) vs. Nick Gravdahl (7-7)
197: Nick Pegelow (0-4)/Dominic Skawiniak (4-13) vs. Kody Van Den Eykel (14-12)
285: Quincy Spiering (8-3) vs. Bryce Kallenbach (7-12)

LAST YEAR: Concordia registered six bonus-point wins in a 33-13 victory over SJU last Feb. 1 (2017) in Collegeville. The Johnnies earned a 6-4 lead thanks to a forfeit at 133 pounds, but the Cobbers answered with two pins and a major decision in succession. Sophomore Andrew Smith (Amery, Wis.) was ahead 10-6 in the first period at 141 pounds but was pinned at the 2:01 mark.

Jack Barsody stopped the bleeding for SJU with a strong 7-2 win at 165 pounds. The Johnnies aimed to win back-to-back matches, but Teddy Erickson ’17 injury defaulted his match in the first period at 174 pounds. Dodd continued his winning ways with a high-scoring 19-6 major decision at 184 pounds to improve to 14-8 on the year.

The Cobbers answered with a major decision of their own before ninth-ranked Justice Davis recorded a narrow 3-2 win over Colin Fisher ’17 to end the dual. Davis recorded a first-period takedown and accrued 2:03 of riding time in the match, to counter a pair of escapes for Fisher, for the win.

SERIES HISTORY: The Johnnies are 15-10 against the Cobbers in dual meets since the 1994-95 season, though Concordia has won 10 of the last 12 meetings. SJU won 13 straight from 1995-2007 before the Cobbers started a streak of four straight (2008-10). The Johnnies are 11-7 against the Cobbers either away or at a neutral site since 1995.

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