Auggies No. 2 in wrestling rankings

MINNEAPOLIS — With seven individuals ranked among the top 10 in their individual weight classes, the Augsburg College wrestling team is ranked second in the preseason National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III national rankings, it was announced recently.

Defending national champion Chad Johnson (JR, Ferryville, Wis./De Soto HS) is the top-ranked wrestler at heavyweight, while Will Keeter (JR, Twin Falls, Idaho) will enter the season as the No. 2-ranked wrestler at 149 pounds. Three All-Americans, five national tournament qualifiers and seven starters will return to the 2012-13 Auggie lineup.

Johnson finished 36-1 last season en route to his first national title and his second All-America finish, after placing seventh nationally at heavyweight in 2011. Johnson enters his junior season with a 68-12 career record, including 20 pins, a technical fall and 17 major decisions.

Keeter went 33-7 last season to finish third nationally at 141 pounds, and will move up a weight class to 149 this season. He is 59-26 in his Auggie career.

Tommy Teigen (JR, Ham Lake, Minn./Meadow Creek Christian HS) is ranked eighth at 165 pounds to enter the season. A first-time national tournament qualifier with a 24-14 record last season, he is 39-23 in his Auggie career. Tossaporn (Boyd) Suparat (SR, North Branch, Minn.) will enter the season ranked No. 8 at 133 pounds. He finished 17-9 last season.

Mike Fuenffinger (SO, Hibbing, Minn.) enters the season ranked ninth at 125 pounds. Joining the Auggies midway through last season, Fuenffinger went 14-9 to earn a trip to the national tournament for the first time. He also excelled at the national level last season, winning the USA Wrestling FILA Junior World Team Trials in the 121-pound Greco-Roman weight class in May, representing the United States at the 2012 FILA Junior World Championships in Thailand in September.

Two Auggies are ranked 10th in their weight classes — Tom Kuehn (SO, Fargo, N.D./West Fargo HS) at 141 pounds and Josh Kohler (SR, Monticello, Minn.) at 174. Kohler qualified for his first national tournament last season, finishing 30-19 on the year and 61-51 in his career. Kuehn finished 21-9 last season at 133 pounds and will move up to 141 this season.

Winners of 11 NCAA Division III team national titles since 1991, the Augsburg wrestling team finished second for the second straight year at the 2012 national championships, earning one national title and five All-American honors. It marked the Auggies’ 22nd top-two finish in national competition (21 in NCAA and one in NAIA competition) and the 24th straight year that Augsburg finished among the top four teams in NCAA competition — the longest current streak by any NCAA wrestling program, regardless of division, and the second-longest consecutive-year top-four streak in NCAA wrestling history. Augsburg has also had at least five All-Americans in each of the last 24 seasons. The Auggies went 10-3 in dual meets last season and finished second at the NWCA’s Division III National Duals tournament.

Augsburg opens its fifth season under head coach Mark Matzek on Nov. 17 at 9 a.m., hosting the annual Auggie-Brute-Adidas Open at Si Melby Hall. As head coach, Matzek has a 41-10-1 dual-meet record, with 25 All-Americans and three individual national champions to his credit.

All four Minnesota Division III wrestling programs are ranked in the top 30 in the preseason national rankings. Concordia-Moorhead is ranked No. 14, St. Olaf is ranked No. 19 and st. John’s is ranked No. 23.

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