COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – Five Saint John’s University wrestlers were listed in the D3wrestle.com (Oct. 25) and National Wrestling Coaches’ Association (NWCA, Oct. 24) preseason rankings last week, including two in the top 10.
A dynamic duo of Ryan’s, senior Ryan Arne (Orono, Minn.) and junior Ryan Michaelis (Monticello, Minn.), led the SJU contingent in the top 10 of their respective weight classes. Arne was ranked eighth at 157 pounds by the NWCA and was labeled as a “Contender,” just outside the top 10, by D3wrestle.com. He claimed first at the NCAA West Regional with a pair of major decisions with two technical falls to earn his first trip to the NCAA Division III Championships last spring. Arne upset the fifth-ranked wrestler in the opening round of nationals before falling in consecutive matches to end the season with a 10-6 record.
Michaelis, meanwhile, was ranked 10th at 197 pounds by D3wrestle.com. He won his first match at the NCAA regional but allowed a late takedown in a 3-1 semifinal loss. He wrapped up third place with two more decisions to earn a trip to nationals, where he lost both matches to finish the 2012-13 campaign with a 10-6 record.
Three other Johnnies were listed as “Contenders” by D3wrestle.com: senior John Scepaniak (Avon, Minn./Holdingford) at heavyweight, sophomore John Wells (Janesville, Wis./Milton) at 125 pounds and sophomore Josh Willaert (Le Sueur, Minn./Le Sueur-Henderson) at 174 pounds.
Scepaniak became the first SJU heavyweight to reach the national tournament since 1997 (Matt Wentland) last season with a third-place finish at the NCAA regional. He went 1-2 with two one-point losses at nationals to finish with a 13-16 record.
Wells went 2-2 to claim fifth at the NCAA regional last spring and finish with a 10-7 record at 125 pounds. Willaert, meanwhile, finished fourth at regionals with a 3-2 record to end his freshman campaign with a 20-5 record.
The NWCA also ranked Nick Schuler ’13 eighth at 165 pounds. Schuler was a junior athletically last season and elected to graduate on schedule in May.
Despite finishing 18th out of 64 teams at last year’s national tournament, of which three entrants return, SJU was not ranked in the NWCA preseason poll (top 32 teams).
The Johnnies begin their 2013-14 season Nov. 16 at the Luther (Iowa) Invitational.
Division III Rankings:
NWCA Preseason Team | NWCA Preseason Individual | D3wrestle.com
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