Preparing for the National Tournament

Johnnie Wrestling Alumni, Fans, Friends and Parents,

Our trip up to Concordia-Moorhead for the NCAA West Regional was a fun one! Although we ended the day with four national qualifiers, it was an emotional roller coaster all day! Freshman Noah Becker, sophomore Luke Dodd, and seniors Teddy Erickson and Robert Tait will all continue their seasons for one more event down at the NCAA Tournament in La Crosse!

We started the day off very well, being within a point of second-place Concordia-Moorhead after the first round. We had pushed five guys through to the semifinals and feeling good about where we were at. That next round went horribly wrong. We went 0-5 in the semis, moving everyone within one loss of elimination and not sending anyone to nationals. We gathered everyone together and had a quick chat about bouncing back and came through with a huge round. We ended up with eight placers and five guys in the third-place match, giving themselves a chance to qualify.

Becker became the first Johnnie freshman to qualify for nationals since 3-time All-American Dustin Baxter ’12. His road began with a 19-5 victory in the first round against an opponent from Concordia-Wisconsin. In his first match in the consolation bracket, Noah got a second period fall to move onto his final match. He qualified by wrestling a very smart and controlled match against UW-Eau Claire to place third.

Senior Teddy Erickson qualified for the second consecutive year at 165 pounds. Starting the day as the 6th seed, he upset the third seed in the first round by winning 12-2. After his semifinal loss, he had his toughest match of the day. Teddy came from behind to beat a very tough Concordia-Moorhead wrestler. He scored a last-second takedown in the third period, followed by the winning takedown in overtime to win the match. In the third-place match, Teddy won 6-2 to secure his spot next weekend in La Crosse.

At 184 pounds, Dodd’s day started different than the other qualifiers. Luke was the fourth seed but got upset in the first match. Battling back from that loss and an injury from that match, Luke rattled off three straight wins in the consolation bracket to earn his first NCAA Tournament berth.

Finally, Tait was our last NCAA qualifier. Rob made the semis as the second seed before taking his first loss. He then came back with a pin to reach the third-place match where he met his Augsburg opponent. Rob also had to come from behind late to stay alive. He scored two takedowns in the last 30 seconds of the match, the second one being at the buzzer, to send the match into overtime. He then found himself in on a leg and in a scramble to score the winning takedown.

Although he didn’t qualify, freshman Jerod Novak also made the third-place match before losing a close match to returning All-American Grant Parker of Augsburg. Jerod was 3-2 on the day.

We will find out who the guys will wrestle at nationals when brackets come out on Monday, March 6.


Tony Willaert