No. 6 Augustana returns to action at NWCA National Duals

No. 6 Augustana (2-0) returns to action this Saturday and Sunday at the NWCA National Duals in Springfield, Ill.  The Vikings, the fifth seed, will face No. 17 Findlay (Ohio) (3-2), which is unseeded, Saturday at 9 a.m.

The National Duals
The 2012 NWCA National Duals will be hosted by the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield, Ill.  The event features compeition for NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA, NJCAA and women.  To learn more, click here.

Last time out
Augustana opened the 2011-12 dual season with a pair of wins at home on Dec. 9.  The Vikings beat Dakota Wesleyan 40-0 and Northwestern (Iowa) 43-4.  Augustana lost just one match between the two duals.

Last year
Augustana is the defending runner-up at the NWCA National Duals after going 3-1 at the event last season.  A year ago, Augustana beat San Francisco State, Minnesota State and St. Cloud State before falling to Nebraska-Omaha in the title tilt.  Last year’s champion, UNO, will not be back to defend its title as the school went to Division I and dropped wrestling.

Holiday break
The Vikings haven’t competed since their Dec. 9 duals with Dakota Wesleyan and Northwestern (Iowa).  Augustana hasn’t been off the practice circuit the entire time; however, the gap between duals will be more than a month by the time the VIkings take the mat to face Findlay (Ohio) on Saturday.

Two to start
For the second straight season, Augustana is off to a 2-0 start in dual competition.  Last year, Augustana began the season with wins over Augsburg and the University of Sioux Falls.  The Vikings tied a school record with 14 dual wins last season.

Scouting Findlay
Findlay (Ohio), a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, owns a 3-2 record.  The Oilers’ wins have come against North Carolina-Pembroke, Limestone and Anderson.  Blemishes on UF’s record include losses to Pitt-Johnstown and Newberry.  The Oilers are ranked No. 17 in the latest Division II national poll and have two nationally ranked individuals in Ben Sergen (No. 8 at 125 pounds) and Michael Lybarger (No. 1 at 174 pounds).  UF is led by 15th-year head coach Shawn Nelson, who has guided the program to a plethora of success in Division II after competing at the NAIA level until 2000.

Chain of events
The No. 5-seeded Vikings will either face Ouachita Baptist or No. 4-seeded Nebraska-Kearney following their dual with Findlay.  A win would put Augustana up against the winner of the OBU/UNK dual; a loss means the Vikings would face the loser of that dual.

The nation’s best
Of the 16 teams competing at this year’s NWCA National Duals, 10 are nationally ranked.  The field includes No. 1 Newberry (S.C.), No. 2 Upper Iowa, No. 3 St. Cloud State, No. 4 Nebraska-Kearney, No. 6 Augustana, No. 7 Central Oklahoma, No. 11 Wisconsin-Parkside, No. 15 King (Tenn.), No. 17 Findlay (Ohio) and No. 19 Minnesota State.

The rest of the slate
With the exception of a late-season open tournament Augustana will host in February, the Vikings schedule includes only duals for the remainder of the regular season.  Following competitions with St. John’s and Concordia (Moorhead) on Jan. 14 and 15, the Vikings will open the NSIC season at home against U-Mary on Jan. 20.

NSIC honors
The NSIC announced Dec. 5 Jayd Docken was named its wrestler of the week after winning the 184-pound title in the Red Division at the MSU Moorhead Open.  Docken, a redshirt freshman from Winner, S.D., went 4-0 en route to this title. He pinned Regina’s Regan Pratt in his opening match and followed it by beating Augsburg’s Josh Vaughan in a 14-1 major decision. After beating Cody Sorenson of North Dakota State 5-3, Docken capped his performance with a 7-3 win over teammate Sean Derry in the championship match.

Dec. 5Jayd Docken

Viking lineup
Head coach Jason Reitmeier plans to wrestle the following athletes Friday.

125TJ North
133Cody Lensing/Jeremiah Peterson
141Jason Jeremiason
149Nate Herda
157Marcus Edgington
165Tom Davies/Matt Morris/Bradyn Neises
174Carl Serck
184Jayd Docken
197Jeff Nielsen
285Mike Roberts
Up next
Augustana will face a pair of Division III opponents on Jan. 14 and 15, traveling to St. John’s and Concordia (Moorhead).