Johnson Ranked 4th at 197lbs
Senior Eric Johnson (Highland, IN) is ranked 4th at 197lbs in the first regular season NAIA Wrestling Coaches' Poll. Johnson has twice earned All-American honors for the Crimson Wave with consecutive finishes of 8th and 7th at the NAIA National Championships. More recently, he captured the 197lb title at the Dan Gable Open last week, giving him a 3-0 record to start the season.
In addition to Johnson, the Crimson Wave wrestling team also received 13 votes in the Wrestling Coaches Top 20 Poll for teams. That total has them just miss making the cut and tied for the 24th place.
"We've been working hard and hopefully this recognition will motivate everyone to keep improving and perform well going forward,” said Head Coach Ryan Rivera.
The men will be back on the mats Saturday, November 22nd as they travel to Campbellsville University for the Campbellsville Duals.
Johnson Wins Dan Gable Open
The Crimson Wave Wrestling team traveled to Oshkosh, WI, to kick off the season with the Dan Gable Endowment Open on November 15th. CCSJ came away with five place winners led by Senior Eric Johnson who finished 1st at 197. Johnson was 3-0 en route to capturing first and recorded a pin and a tech fall on the day. Also earning an impressive finish for the men was Junior Ramiro Rojas who finished 3rd at 149. Rojas had a tough last second loss in his first bout but was able to battle back to end the tournament with a 4-1 record. Other wrestlers placing were Sophomore Scott Pitrowski: 4th at 285, Freshman Tony Vasquez: 5th at 141, and Freshman Tyler Bernard: 5th at 184.
"Eric and Ramiro wrestled great and showed me they will be hammers in the lineup this year,” said Head Coach Ryan Rivera. “Everyone else was inconsistent and we need to clean up some things," added Rivera.
The Crimson Wave wrestling team will be traveling to Campbellsville University in Kentucky on Nov 22nd to compete in four duals against Campbellsville University, St. Andrews, St. Catherine, and Truet McConell all from the Eastern Regional.
Johnson's National Run Ends As All-American
Crimson Wave junior wrestler Eric Johnson competed in the second day of action at the 2012 NAIA National Wrestling Championships in Topeka, KS. Johnson came away with a 7th place finish at 197lbs to earn All-American status. This marked the second time Johnson finished on the awards podium as he was able to best last season's 8th place finish by one spot.
"It was a great feeling to be able bounce back from Regionals last week and be an All-American again," said Johnson. "I'm very thankful for all the help my coaches, family and teammates gave me to get me back here again, he added."
Eric began Saturday on the consolation side of the bracket with a matchup against 8th ranked Garrett Demers of Montana State-Northern. Despite starting off the match strong with the first takedown, he was not able to hold the lead very long. Demers ended the first period with an escape and a takedown of his own to go ahead 3-2. After extending his lead in the following two periods Demers ultimately won by decision 6-3. That loss moved Johnson into the 7th place match.
In his final bout of the day Johnson would battle 7th ranked Jahwon Akui from Lindsey Wilson College. He ended the season with an emphatic victory in which he dominated his opponent from the starting whistle. The final score was 16-1 to give Johnson the win by technical fall and a 7th place finish. He ended the tournament 3-2.
"I couldn't have been prouder of the way Eric wrestled this weekend," said Head Coach Ryan Rivera. "He just came in with the mentality that he was going to be the aggressor in each match and battle for every point."