Saint Johnâ€™s University sophomore Minga Batsukh joined an elite club during the 2009 NCAA Division III wrestling championships Saturday, March 7 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Batsukh became the fourth wrestling national champion in the schoolâ€™s history when he defeated Zach McKray from Wartburg (Iowa) College 5-2 to win the 141-pound title.
Batsukh becomes the first national champion since current SJU head coach Brandon Novak won the 197-pound title in 2001. John Newman (1999, 174 pounds) and Gary Svendsen (1972, 134 pounds, NAIA) were the other Johnniesâ€™ national champions.
Batsukh (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia/St. Benedictâ€™s Prep, N.J.) defeated Nick Garber of Waynesburg (Pa.) and James Beshada of U.S. Merchant Marine (N.Y.) by scores of 14-9 and 9-3, respectively, to advance to the semifinals on Friday, March 6.
Batsukh upset top-seeded Austin Bautista of Wisconsin-Whitewater 4-3 in the 141-pound semifinals to advance to the championship match.
Saint Johnâ€™s sophomore Dustin Baxter (Fairbanks, Alaska/West Valley) finished seventh at 184 pounds to also earn All-American honors, which go to the top eight place finishers at each weight class. As a team, the Johnnies placed 15th among 62 schools at the national tournament.
Michael Hemmesch (Original Here)
Director of Media Relations
Saint John’s University