Dec. 15, 2008

Courtesy of St. Cloud State

St. Cloud, Minn. - Tad Merritt's (Canby) title at 165 lbs. earned him the Husky Open's Most Outstanding Wrestler award, and Luke Munkelwitz (Forest Lake) earned the top spot at 184 lbs. to pace the SCSU effort at Saturday's Husky Open at the Halenbeck Hall Fieldhouse.


"It was a good effort all around," said assistant coach Matt Lowers. "We had three finalists and a lot of our guys bounced back from tough losses, which is something we can build on for the second half of the season," Lowers added.


Led by Merritt, Munkelwitz and a second place finish at 133 lbs. by Josh Williams (Banks, Ore.), the Huskies placed eight wrestlers in the top six.


“It’s always tough for your wrestlers hosting a tournament like this,” said Lowers. “Our guys were here late last night [Friday] and here early this morning setting up. They battled through and still performed at a high level, and they deserve a lot of credit for that,” Lowers added.


Merritt controlled the tempo in his matches all day, including scoring a big 7-2 victory over sixth ranked Corey VanGroll of Wisconsin-Parkside in the title bout. Merritt added two victories by fall and a tech fall triumph to punctuate the day.


Munkelwitz’s route was a little tougher; as he won four of his five matches by less than three points. He scored a 3-2 win over seventh ranked (D-III) Dustin Baxter of Saint John’s in the semifinal to highlight his 184 lbs. title run.

Williams, wrestling for the first time this year, wasted no time in making his way to the 133 final, but fell D-III’s top ranked wrestler in Travis Lang of Augsburg. Williams recorded a fall and two major decision victories on his way to a 3-1 afternoon.


A trio of Huskies took third place, as Jake Roberts (Jordan), John Sundgren (Blaine) and Derek Skala (Owatonna) took honors at 149, 157 and 174 lbs. respectively.


Roberts fell in his semifinal match with eighth ranked Craig Becker of UW-Parkside before rebounding for two victories for third.


Sundgren fell to eventual champion and ninth ranked (D-III) Jason Adams before his two victories and Skala battled to a 2-1, double overtime victory in his third place match with Luke Rynish of Parkside.


Rounding out the Husky placers was: Joe Andersen (Bemidji) sixth at 149 lbs. and Chad Kubasch (New Germany) who took fifth at 157 lbs.


Itasca’s Skip Johnson took home the tournament’s other award, as he won the most falls award, picking up five en route to a fifth place finish at 197 lbs. His fastest pin came in a speedy 33 seconds.


The Huskies will be off until the New Year when they travel to California for the Menlo Invitational on January 4. They will follow that up with an appearance at the National Duals in Cedar Falls, Iowa on the 10th.


“We’ll enjoy the holiday, get a couple solid weeks of training in for those two events,” said Lowers. “Today puts an exclamation point on this portion of our season, and hopefully we’ll be able to carry it over to the second half,” he added.


For complete results from the Husky Open, please click on link below: