Augsburg tops NWCA D-III Scholar All-America Team list

LA CROSSE, Wis. — For the second time in program history, the Augsburg College wrestling team achieved the highest team grade-point average in the nation in NCAA Division III wrestling, it was announced on Thursday.

Mark Matzek

The Auggies recorded a team grade-point average of 3.7341 to lead the nation in the National Wrestling Coaches Association’s Division III Scholar All-America Team Award listing. It marks the second time that the Auggies recorded the nation’s highest team GPA in wrestling; the first was in 1999, when the Auggies had a 3.480 team GPA. Augsburg has finished in the top 10 in team GPA 11 times since the award was first given in 1998, with this year’s GPA the highest in Augsburg’s history in the award listings.

According to the NWCA (from its 2011 news release on the academic awards): “To be awarded this honor, teams must meet the following criteria: the team GPA is calculated as an average of the top 10 students on each team. At least six of the 10 chosen must have competed in the NCAA qualifying tournament, while the other athletes must have competed in at least 50 percent of the teams scheduled contests.”

The team awards were presented at the Division III National Wrestling Coaches Association Championship and Hall of Fame Banquet, held at the La Crosse Center on Thursday evening in advance of this weekend’s NCAA Division III National Championships.

“I’m proud of the whole team. It’s a total team effort,” said Augsburg head coach Mark Matzek. “I’m proud of the guys buying into the program and into one another. It confirms that you don’t have to just focus your potential on the mat. You can focus your potential in the classroom and on the mat, too. It’s a great way to start the weekend.”

In addition, five Auggies earned NWCA Division III Scholar All-American honors — all five competing at this weekend’s national championships. Augsburg 149-pounder Tony Valek (SR, Belle Plaine, Minn./Scott West) earned Scholar All-American honors for the third straight year, as did 197-pounder Brad Baus (SR, Mukwonago, Wis.). Receiving Scholar All-American honors for the first time were 141-pounder Will Keeter (SO, Twin Falls, Idaho), 165-pounder Tommy Teigen (SO, Ham Lake, Minn./Meadow Creek Christian HS) and heavyweight Chad Johnson (SO, Ferryville, Wis./De Soto HS).

Valek is an accounting/general management major with a 3.87 grade-point average. Baus is a sociology major with a 3.68 GPA. Keeter is a mathematics major with a 3.63 GPA. Teigen is an exercise science major with a 3.63 GPA. Johnson is an accounting/management major with a 3.29 GPA.

Over the past 27 seasons, Augsburg has produced 117 NWCA Scholar All-Americans. Augsburg has had 94 student-athletes honored since 1997, including 14 under current head coach Mark Matzek — himself a three-time NWCA Scholar All-American during his Augsburg career (2001-05).

In addition to the five individual Scholar All-Americans, other members of Augsburg’s Scholar All-America Team are: Tom Kuehn (FY, Fargo, N.D./West Fargo HS), Kurt Knutsen (FY, Inver Grove Heights, Minn./Simley HS), Chad Bartschenfeld (FY, Amery, Wis.), Nick Dahlquist (FY, Albuquerque, N.M./Eldorado HS) and Ryan Cook (SO, Wetumpka, Ala.).

The top 10 teams in the Division III Scholar All-America Team rankings: 1. Augsburg (Minn.), 3.73; 2. Olivet (Mich.), 3.54; 3. Johnson and Wales (R.I.), 3.46; 4. Wesleyan (Conn.), 3.44; 5. Wisconsin-La Crosse, 3.44; 6. Concordia-Moorhead (Minn.), 3.42; 7. Thiel (Pa.), 3.42; 8. Williams (Mass.), 3.41; 9. New York Univ., 3.39; 10. Ithaca (N.Y.), 3.39.

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