CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Claiming three All-Americans, the Augsburg College wrestling team moved into ninth place after the first day of the NCAA Division III National Championships on Friday at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.
Leading the way for the Auggies was defending heavyweight national champion Chad Johnson (JR, Ferryville, Wis./De Soto HS), who earned his third All-American honor of his career with two victories on Friday. Johnson opened with a 4:25 pin of Nick Pearch of Luther (Iowa), then claimed a 10-3 win over Tom Foote of Williams (Mass.) in the championship quarterfinals.
With the wins, Johnson became the 40th wrestler in Augsburg history to earn three or more All-American honors, improving to 35-1 in the process. Of his 35 wins, 24 are bonus-point victories (15 pins, one technical fall, eight major decisions). Over the past two seasons, Johnson is now 71-2. He is 103-13 in his three-season Auggie career.
Also earning All-American honors for the Auggies was 125-pounder Mike Fuenffinger (SO, Hibbing, Minn.). Fuenffinger rallied from a first-round 3-1 loss to top-seed Ricardo Gomez of Ithaca (N.Y.) with two wins in the wrestlebacks, topping Nathaniel Giorgio of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (N.Y.) 2-0, then scoring a 2:15 pin of Brandon Preston of Trine (Ind.).
Making his second appearance in the national tournament, Fuenffinger claimed his first All-American honors, improving to 28-7 on the season and 42-16 in his two years at Augsburg.
Augsburg’s Matt Hechsel (SO, Apple Valley, Minn.) also claimed All-American honors for the first time in his career, rallying from a first-round loss with two victories in the wrestlebacks. With the 2-1 day, Hechsel improved to 34-10 on the season. He is now 53-28 in his two seasons at Augsburg.
After being pinned in 2:05 in his opening match by Mike Benefiel of Elmhurst (Ill.) earlier in the day, Hechsel scored a pin of his own, a 4:53 pin of Travis Ebersole of Messiah (Pa.). He then scored a 6-5 win over Puna Soriano of Wartburg (Iowa) in his final match of the night.
Augsburg saw one streak snapped on Friday, as a streak of 24 straight years with at least five All-Americans came to an end. However, the three All-American performance marked the 35th time in school history that Augsburg has had three or more All-Americans. Augsburg has had at least one All-American in national competition every year since 1977 – a streak that now spans 37 straight years.
Three Auggies ended their seasons with losses in the wrestlebacks on Friday night. At 174, Josh Kohler (SR, Monticello, Minn.) was pinned in 1:38 by Anthony Bonaventura of Waynesburg (Pa.), after dropping a 15-8 decision to Dylan Azinger of Wartburg (Iowa) in the opening round. A two-time national tournament qualifier, Kohler finished his senior season at 27-14 and his career at 88-65.
At 141, Tom Kuehn (SO, Fargo, N.D./West Fargo HS) fell 4-1 to Nathaniel Behnke of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in the evening session, after dropping a 5-1 decision to No. 2-seed Ryan Earley of Elmhurst (Ill.) earlier in the day. Kuehn finished his season at 24-18 and is 44-27 in his two seasons at Augsburg.
At 157, Kurt Knutsen (SO, Inver Grove Heights, Minn./Simley HS) dropped a 10-0 major decision to Reece Lefever of Wabash (Ind.) in the wrestlebacks, after falling in a 9-1 major-decision loss to Cade Sarbacker of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the opening round. Knutsen finished his sophomore season at 13-23 and is 22-32 in his two seasons at Augsburg.
Two Auggies saw their seasons come to an end with two losses in Friday’s opening round. At 133, #Tossaporn “Boyd” Suparat# (SR, North Branch, Minn.) dropped a 12-2 major-decision loss to top-seed Kenneth Anderson of Wartburg in his opening match, then dropped a 10-4 decision to Joey Giaccio of York (Pa.). Suparat finished his senior season at 28-14 and his Auggie career at 84-50, making his first appearance in the national tournament.
At 165, Augsburg’s Justin Bowland (JR, Foley, Minn.) was edged in two matches, falling 4-3 to Cedric Gibson of Wisconsin-Whitewater in his opening match and 8-6 to Derrick Longo of Springfield (Mass.) in the wrestlebacks. Making his first national tournament appearance, Bowland finished his junior season 20-19 and is 45-44 on his career.
2013 NCAA Division III National Championships – Session 2
Friday, March 15, 2013 – Cedar Rapids Ice Arena, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Team Scores after Session 2: 1. Wartburg (Iowa) 66.0; 2. Wisconsin-Whitewater 46.0; 3. Elmhurst (Ill.) 39.5; 4. Wisconsin-La Crosse 32.5; 5. Ithaca (N.Y.) 29.0; 6. Centenary (N.J.) 27.0; 7. SUNY-Cortland (N.Y.) 25.5; 8. Springfield (Mass.), 9. Augsburg (Minn.) 22.5; 10. College of New Jersey 21.5. Other Minnesota schools: 13t. Concordia-Moorhead 13.5; 16t. St. John’s 12.0; 50. St. Olaf 1.0.
Matches involving Minnesota college wrestlers:
125 – Ricardo Gomez (Ithaca) dec. Mike Fuenffinger (Augsburg) 3-1; Brandon Preston (Trine) maj. dec. Will McCarthy (Concordia-Moorhead) 10-2; Fuenffinger dec. Nathaniel Giorgio (U.S. Coast Guard Academy) 2-0; Jacob Spearman (Washington & Jefferson) pinned McCarthy 5:38 (McCarthy eliminated); Fuenffinger pinned Brandon Preston (Trine) 2:15.
133 – Kenneth Anderson (Wartburg) maj. dec. Tossaporn “Boyd” Suparat (Augsburg) 12-2; Dalton Bullard (Elmhurst) dec. Jacoby Bergeron (Concordia-Moorhead) 7-4; Joey Giaccio (York) dec. Suparat 10-4 (Suparat eliminated); Bergeron dec. Chad Lammer (Elizabethtown) 5-4; Evan Obert (Luther) dec. Bergeron 10-4 (Bergeron eliminated).
141 – Ryan Earley (Elmhurst) dec. Tom Kuehn (Augsburg) 5-1; Nathaniel Behnke (Wisconsin-Eau Claire) dec. Kuehn 4-1 (Kuehn eliminated).
149 – Chris Stevermer (St. John’s) dec. Ben Strobel (Wisconsin-Stevens Point) 10-5; Jacob Long (Concordia-Moorhead) pinned Jorge Lopez (Williams) 2:07; Stevermer dec. Michael Polizzi (Stevens Tech.) 8-6 (OT-SV1); Kodie Silvestri (Wartburg) dec. Long 7-0; Vincent Pisani (York) dec. Stevermer 4-2 (OT-SV1); Long dec. Polizzi 8-5; Lopez dec. Stevermer 8-5 (OT-TB1) (Stevermer eliminated).
157 – Cade Sarbacker (Wisconsin-Whitewater) maj. dec. Kurt Knutsen (Augsburg) 9-1; Ryan Arne (St. John’s) dec. Troy Sterling (SUNY-Cortland) 6-3; Chris Burdge (Centenary) pinned Kevin Fynboh (Concordia-Moorhead) 6:12; Kristopher Krawchuk (Wilkes) dec. Arne 4-1; Reece Lefever (Wabash) maj. dec. Knutsen 10-0 (Knutsen eliminated); Fynboh dec. Ryan Warczynski (Dubuque) 5-2; Elias Larson (Trine) pinned Fynboh 2:08 (Fynboh eliminated); Josh Etzel (Washington and Jefferson) dec. Arne 6-0 (Arne eliminated).
165 – Cedric Gibson (Wisconsin-Whitewater) dec. Justin Bowland (Augsburg) 4-3; Collin Crowell (Roger Williams) dec. Nicholas Schuler (St. John’s) 8-3; Derrick Longo (Springfield) dec. Bowland 8-6 (Bowland eliminated); Sam Guidi (Waynesburg) dec. Schuler 5-4 (Schuler eliminated).
174 – Dylan Azinger (Wartburg) dec. Josh Kohler (Augsburg) 15-8; James Roach (St. Olaf) dec. Ryan Conat (Wisconsin-Stevens Point) 2-1; Kevin O’Brien (Wisconsin-La Crosse) dec. Roach 5-3; Kohler dec. Zach Hartzell (Worcester Polytechnic) 16-8; Anthony Bonaventura (Waynesburg) pinned Kohler 1:38 (Kohler eliminated); Ben Kramer (Messiah) dec. Roach 5-3 (Roach eliminated).
184 – Julian Meaney (Elizabethtown) maj. dec. Mitchell Hagen (St. John’s) 14-6; Hagen medical forfeit over Matt Rieckhoff (Wisconsin-Eau Claire); Hagen dec. Caleb Malychewski (Pacific) 5-2; Hagen dec. Sam Upah (Wartburg) 5-3.
197 – Mike Benefiel (Elmhurst) pinned Matt Hechsel (Augsburg) 2:05; Aaron Karns (Delaware Valley) maj. dec. Ryan Michaelis (St. John’s) 8-0; Alex Coolidge (Cornell) dec. Nathan Schmitz (Concordia-Moorhead) 2-1 (OT-TB1); Jeremy Burns (Springfield) dec. Michaelis 7-2 (Michaelis eliminated); Hechsel pinned Travis Ebersole (Messiah) 4:53; Hechsel dec. Puna Soriano (Wartburg) 6-5; Trent Flegel (Luther) dec. Schmitz 7-5 (Schmitz eliminated).
HWT – Chad Johnson (Augsburg) pinned Nick Pearch (Luther) 4:25; Ryan Fank (Wartburg) dec. John Scepaniak (St. John’s) 3-2; Tom Bouressa (Concordia-Moorhead) dec. Corey James (SUNY-Cortland) 2-0; Scepaniak pinned Pearch 4:43; Johnson dec. Tom Foote (Williams) 10-3; Bouressa dec. Jake Ceslick (Olivet) 7-2; John Wilkinson (Brockport State) dec. Scepaniak 4-3 (Scepaniak eliminated).