Valek’s 100th win highlights 1st round

LA CROSSE, Wis. – With all five wrestlers winning their opening matches, including four by bonus-point margins, the Augsburg College wrestling team stood in third place after the first round of the NCAA Division III National Championships on Friday morning at the La Crosse Center.


Augsburg’s four returning All-Americans all opened up with bonus-point wins – two pins and two major decisions – to give the Auggies 14 team points after the first round. Wartburg (Iowa) leads with 16 points, while Coe (Iowa) is in second with 14.5. Concordia-Moorhead and St. John’s are tied for fourth with 13.5 points, and host Wisconsin-La Crosse is in sixth with 13 points.

Friday’s second round, the “All-American Round,” begins at 6 p.m., when the field will be eliminated to the eight All-Americans in each weight class. All five Auggies will be competing in quarterfinal matches to open the second session.

Defending 149-pound national runner-up Tony Valek (JR, Belle Plaine, Minn./Scott West) earned his 100th career win in dominating fashion on Friday, getting the Auggies off to a strong start with a second-period pin of Jacob Schwebke of Cornell (Iowa). In his third trip to the national tournament, Valek is now 100-23 on his career and 35-5 this season.

Zach Molitor (SR, Cambridge, Minn./Cambridge-Isanti HS), a two-time All-American, took a big step towards claiming his third All-American honor with a 4:28 pin of Stephen Birt of Loras (Iowa) in his opening match. Molitor built a 10-1 lead in the second period on three takedowns and a three-point near-fall before claiming the pin.
All-American Orlando Ponce (JR, Hialeah, Fla./Hialeah-Miami Lakes HS) used three takedowns, a three-point near-fall and 3:41 of riding time to secure an 11-1, major-decision win Ryan Warczynski of Dubuque (Iowa) in his opening match at 157. Last year’s national runner-up at 165, Valek is now 32-5 on the season and has won 15 matches in a row, including 12 in a row since moving to 157.
At 197, two-time All-American Jared Massey (SR, Circle Pines, Minn./Centennial HS) had a dominating opening match, using three takedowns and 4:58 of riding time to secure an 8-0, major-decision win over Brian Broll of Buena Vista (Iowa). The 2009 national champion and third-place finisher last year at 197, Massey is now 18-1 on the season and 77-3 in his three seasons at Augsburg (82-5 overall).
Chad Johnson (FY, Ferryville, Wis./DeSoto HS) made his national tournament debut an impressive one, as he improved to 30-9 on the season with an 8-3 win over James Zarate of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Johnson rallied from an early 2-0 deficit with a reversal just before the end of the first period, then scored two takedowns and 1:52 of riding time to collect the win.

At La Crosse Center, La Crosse, Wis.

Team scores after Friday’s First Round:
1. Wartburg (Iowa) 16.0; 2. Coe (Iowa) 14.5; 3. Augsburg (Minn.) 14.0; 4t. Concordia-Moorhead 13.5; 4t. St. John’s 13.5; 6. Wisconsin-La Crosse 13.0; 7. Ithaca (N.Y.) 9.5; 8t. Centenary (N.J.) 9.0; 8t. U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (N.Y.) 9.0; 10. Elmhurst (Ill.) 8.0. Other Minnesota school: 26t. St. Olaf 2.0.

Friday’s First Round Results — Minnesota College Wrestlers:
125 — 
Carl DeLuca (Wis.-Oshkosh) dec. Ben Presler (Concordia) 5-4.
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.
141 — David Alsieux (Centenary) dec. Chris Sandy (St. John’s) 4-2; Ryan Timmerman (St. Olaf) dec. Matt Kelly (Wartburg) 4-3.
149 — Tony Valek (Augsburg) pinned Jacob Schwebke (Cornell) 4:03; Minga Batsukh (St. John’s) maj. dec. Zac Andrews (Delaware Valley) 17-6.
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.
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.
174 — Zach Molitor (Augsburg) pinned Stephan Birt (Loras) 4:28; Mathew Pfarr (St. John’s) maj. dec. Kyle Roosa (Wesleyan) 10-2.
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.
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).
HWT — Chad Johnson (Augsburg) dec. James Zarate (Wis.-Whitewater) 8-3; Tom Bouressa (Concordia) dec. Corey James (Cortland State) 3-1.