No. 5 Augustana faces highly ranked squads this weekend

No. 5-ranked Augustana (9-1, 1-0 NSIC) takes to the road for a pair of Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference duals this weekend. Augustana visits No. 1 and unbeaten St. Cloud State (16-0, 3-0 NSIC) for a 7 p.m. match Friday at Halenbeck Hall in Saint Cloud, Minn. The Vikings are guests of No. 17 Minnesota State (2-5, 0-0 NSIC) on Saturday for a 7 p.m. encounter at the Taylor Center in Mankato, Minn.

Last time out
Augustana opened its conference season with a 31-3 win over the U-Mary last Friday. The battle in the Elmen Center saw the Vikings register nine consecutive wins.

Augustana’s Cody Lensing (125) and Jason Jeremiason (133) take perfect 10-0 records into the weekend encounters with St. Cloud and Minnesota State. Lensing did not compete in the dual with U-Mary, while Jeremiason pinned the Marauders’ Kyle Larson at the four-minute mark.

Conference openers
The Vikings remained perfect in NSIC openers after defeating U-Mary 31-3 last Friday. Since joining the conference in 2008-09, Augustana is 4-0 to open the NSIC season. Last year, the Vikings beat MSU Moorhead 29-6 at home. 2009-10 started with a 36-6 victory over Southwest Minnesota State in Sioux Falls, and 2008-09 began with a 26-10 triumph over MSUM at home.

Outscoring opponents
Augustana has more than doubled its opponents’ points in dual contests this season. The Vikings are outscoring foes 260-112 for 2011-12. The largest margin of victory for Jason Reitmeier’s team this season was a 40-0 throttling of Dakota Wesleyan on Dec. 9.

A year ago
St. Cloud State and Minnesota State were tagged with losses last season on their trips to Sioux Falls. The Vikings beat SCSU 18-13 and MSU 21-10 in the Elmen Center. The wins were part of Augustana’s 7-0 conference campaign that saw the Vikings earn the NSIC crown.

Scouting St. Cloud State
St. Cloud State, ranked No. 1 in the country, brings a 16-0 record to Friday’s dual against the Vikings. SCSU is tied for first in the NSIC with a 3-0 mark. Six Huskies are nationally ranked: Jacob D. Horn is fifth at 157 pounds, Tad Merritt is first at 165 pounds, Shamus O’Grady is third at 174 pounds, Derek Skala is third at 184 pounds, Lucas Munkelwitz is third at 197 pounds and Jacob Kahnke is first at 285 pounds. Head coach Steve Costanzo is in his sixth season and owns a 74-23 at the school and a 135-53-2 career record.

Scouting Minnesota State
Minnesota State is ranked 17th in Division II and owns a 2-5 record. The Mavericks have yet to wrestle an NSIC dual. Corey Ulmer is ranked second at 125 pounds, and Drew Lexvold is No. 8 at 133 pounds. Head coach Jim Makovsky, now in his 19th season, has a record of 222-84-4 at MSU and a career record of 247-103-5.

In the NSIC
Augustana is one of four teams in the NSIC with perfect conference records. St. Cloud State and Upper Iowa lead the NSIC with 3-0 marks, the Vikings are 1-0 and Minnesota State is 0-0. The remaining four teams are winless in conference action.

Win, win, win
Augustana’s 14 dual wins last season tied a school record. The Vikings, who already have nine dual wins in 2011-12, could break that record with victories in their remaining seven contests. It will be a tall task, however, as the ensuing opponents–all NSIC members–include three teams currently nationally ranked.

Consecutive victories
The Vikings have strung together six-straight dual wins heading into this weekend. The win streak is the longest since last season when Jason Reitmeier’s crew put together eight-consecutive midseason victories.

Viking lineup
Jason Reitmeier plans to field the following lineup this Friday:
125 Cody Lensing
133 Jason Jeremiason OR Jeremiah Peterson
141 Chism Fink
149 Nate Herda
157 Marcus Edgington
165 Matt Morris OR Tom Davies
174 Carl Serck
184 Jayd Docken
197 Brian Schultz OR Sean Derry
285 Mike Roberts

Up next
Augustana hosts Southwest Minnesota State and Northern State on Feb. 3 and 5.

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