Auggies move into 2nd with 5 All-Americans

LA CROSSE, Wis. — For the 23rd straight year, the Augsburg College wrestling team claimed five or more All-Americans in NCAA Division III competition, as the Auggies moved into second place with all five of its wrestlers still alive after the first day of the NCAA Division III National Championships at the La Crosse Center.



With all five of its wrestlers remaining alive in the competition, including four in championship contention, the defending national champion Auggies have 51.5 points, standing second behind leader Wartburg (Iowa) with 63.5 points. Wartburg has seven wrestlers still alive in the competition, including five in championship contention.

Three Minnesota schools stand in the top 10 in the national title race. In addition to Augsburg, St. John’s stands fifth with 40 points and Concordia-Moorhead stands seventh with 35.5 points. The Johnnies have five All-Americans, including two in championship contention, while the Cobbers have three All-Americans, all in championship contention. St. Olaf earned two All-Americans, both in the wrestlebacks, and stands in 19th place with 12 points.

Augsburg has recorded five or more All-Americans in every national championship meet since 1989 – a 23-year streak. Augsburg has had at least one All-American in national competition every year since 1977 – now 35 straight years.

The Auggies had a strong first day of competition, winning 10 of its 11 matches, including eight bonus-point victories – four pins and four major decisions.

At 149, Augsburg’s Tony Valek (JR, Belle Plaine, Minn./Scott West) reached a career milestone while recording two pins to secure All-America honors for the second time. Valek picked up his 100th career victory with a second-period pin of Jacob Schwebke of Cornell (Iowa) in his opening match, then used a 1:41 pin of Anthony Dattolo of Wilkes (Pa.) in the quarterfinals to clinch an All-American honor.

A three-time national tournament qualifier and last year’s national runner-up at 149, Valek is now 36-5 on the season and 101-23 in his Auggie career.

Jared Massey (SR, Circle Pines, Minn./Centennial HS) claimed his third All-America honor in dramatic fashion on Friday. After scoring an 8-0, major-decision win over Brian Broll of Buena Vista in his opener, Massey claimed a 1:18 pin of Tony Willaert of St. John’s in the quarterfinals.

The 2009 national champion at 197 and last year’s third-place finisher, Massey is now 19-1 on the season and 78-3 in his three seasons at Augsburg. Massey wrestled at Division I Wisconsin in the 2003-04 season, but spent four seasons away from college wrestling before transferring to Augsburg in the 2008-09 season. At age 26, Massey is one of the oldest wrestlers in the competition.

Zach Molitor (SR, Cambridge, Minn./Cambridge-Isanti HS) also claimed his third All-American honor as an Auggie with two impressive decisions on Friday at 174. In his opening match, Molitor claimed a 4:28 pin of Stephan Birt of Loras (Iowa), and in the quarterfinals, Molitor used three takedowns, a three-point near-fall and 4:17 of riding time to score a 12-1, major-decision win over Frank Savegnago of Elmhurst (Ill.).

Molitor, who was a sixth-place finisher at 174 in 2009 and a third-place finisher in 2010, is now 27-3 in his three seasons at Augsburg, after competing his first season at Division I North Dakota State. In his career, Molitor is now 108-30, including a 90-17 record in three years at Augsburg.

At 157, Orlando Ponce (JR, Hialeah, Fla./Hialeah-Miami Lakes HS) secured his second All-America finish in dramatic fashion. After an 11-1, major-decision win over Ryan Warczynski of Dubuque (Iowa) in the opening round, Ponce needed overtime to claim a 3-1 win over Nicholas Loughlin of Cornell (Iowa) in the quarterfinals. Tied 1-1 after regulation, Ponce scored the match-ending takedown with 33 seconds left in the first sudden-victory overtime period.

In his third national tournament, Ponce was a national runner-up last season at 165 pounds. He moved to 157 in early February, and is now 33-5 on the season and 89-29 in his three seasons at Augsburg. Ponce has won 16 matches in a row, including all 13 since moving to 157.

Heavyweight Chad Johnson (FY, Ferryville, Wis./De Soto HS) secured his first All-American honor with two victories in his three matches on the day. In his opening match, the No. 8-seeded Johnson scored an 8-3 win over James Zarate of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Facing top-seed John Helgerson of Wartburg in the quarterfinals, Johnson suffered a 5-1 defeat, but he rallied back with a strong 12-3, major-decision win over Jeremy Klein of Loras (Iowa) in the wrestlebacks, improving to 31-10 in his debut season. Johnson has now won 21 of his last 24 matches, including 14 of his last 16.

At La Crosse Center, La Crosse, Wis.

Team scores after Friday’s Second Round:
1. Wartburg (Iowa) 63.5; 2. Augsburg (Minn.) 51.5); 3. Wisconsin-La Crosse 43; 4. Coe (Iowa) 41.5; 5. St. John’s (Minn.) 40; 6. Ithaca (N.Y.) 37; 7. Concordia-Moorhead (Minn.) 35.5; 8. Mount Union (Ohio) 27; 9. U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (N.Y.) 25; 10. Elmhurst (Ill.) 24. Other Minnesota school: 19t. St. Olaf 12.0.

Friday’s Results — Minnesota College Wrestlers:
125 —
 Carl DeLuca (Wis.-Oshkosh) dec. Ben Presler (Concordia) 5-4; Steve Godine (College of New Jersey) dec. Presler 8-6 (OT-TB1) (Presler eliminated).
133 — Chad Henle (St. John’s) dec. Thomas Mirocha (Wartburg) 10-8 (OT-SV1); Daron Hohbein (Concordia) pinned Dan Herr (College of New Jersey) 6:41; Nathan Fitzenreider (North Central) dec. Hohbein 4-1; William Livingston (Centenary) dec. Henle 7-0; Henle dec .Jake Frederickson (Wis.-Whitewater) 9-4; Thomas Mirocha (Wartburg) dec. Hohbein 7-1 (Hohbein eliminated).
141 — David Alsieux (Centenary) dec. Chris Sandy (St. John’s) 4-2; Ryan Timmerman (St. Olaf) dec. Matt Kelly (Wartburg) 4-3; Jeremy Stierly (Ithaca) dec. Timmerman 8-1; Timmerman pinned Andrew Zobac (North Central) 4:14; Kevin Bokoski (Luther) dec. Sandy 6-3 (Sandy eliminated).
149 — Tony Valek (Augsburg) pinned Jacob Schwebke (Cornell) 4:03; Minga Batsukh (St. John’s) tech. fall Corey Paulish (Williams) 25-7 at 7:00; Batsukh maj. dec. Zac Andrews (Delaware Valley) 17-6; Valek pinned Anthony Dattolo (Wilkes) 1:41; Batsukh dec. James Locke (Coe) 11-4.
157 — Orlando Ponce (Augsburg) maj. dec. Ryan Warczynski (Dubuque) 11-1; Justin Berns (Concordia) maj. dec. Cade Sarbacker (Wis.-Whitewater) 16-6; Berns tech. fall Mike Willey (Plymouth State) 15-0 at 6:03; Ponce dec. Nicholas Loughlin (Cornell) 3-1 (OT-SV1); Berns dec. Erik Hanson (Loras) 9-3.
165 — Matt Baarson (St. John’s) dec. Adam Weber (Wartburg) 5-4; Vincent Renaut (U.S. Merchant Marine Academy) maj. dec. Josef Waples (St. Olaf) 14-4; Baarson pinned Matt Curley (Heidelberg) 1:29; Waples dec. Nicholas Sanko (Ithaca) 5-3 (OT-SV1); Waples dec. Matt Curley (Heidelberg) 12-10 (OT-SV2).
174 — Zach Molitor (Augsburg) pinned Stephan Birt (Loras) 4:28; Mathew Pfarr (St. John’s) maj. dec. Kyle Roosa (Wesleyan) 10-2; Molitor maj. dec. Frank Savegnago (Elmhurst) 12-1; Michael Reilly (Kings) dec. Pfarr 3-1; Pfarr dec. Brian Broderick (College of New Jersey) 5-3 (OT-SV1).
184 — Phil Moenkedick (Concordia) pinned Scott Lowe (U.S. Merchant Marine Academy) 6:14; Dustin Baxter (St. John’s) dec. Andy Jenkins (Mount Union) 8-3; Moenkedick maj. dec. Baxter 12-4; Baxter dec. Sam Engelland (Wis.-Oshkosh) 5-2.
197 — Jared Massey (Augsburg) maj. dec. Brian Broll (Buena Vista) 8-0; Tony Willaert (St. John’s) maj. dec. Adam Latella (Wis.-Whitewater) 12-3; Ryan Malo (Williams) dec. Nathan Schmitz (Concordia) 7-5 (OT-SV1); Massey pinned Willaert 1:18; Chad Gregory (Wisconsin-Stevens Point) dec. Schmitz 7-3 (Schmitz eliminated); Sam Johnson (Dubuque) dec. Willaert 11-9 (Willaert eliminated).
HWT — Chad Johnson (Augsburg) dec. James Zarate (Wis.-Whitewater) 8-3; Tom Bouressa (Concordia) dec. Corey James (Cortland State) 3-1; Bouressa dec. Judson Connell (U.S. Merchant Marine Academy) 9-5 (OT-SV1); John Helgerson (Wartburg) dec. Johnson 5-1; Johnson maj. dec. Jeremy Klein (Loras) 12-3.