CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Augsburg College’s Chad Johnson (SO, Ferryville, Wis./De Soto HS) claimed an individual national title at heavyweight for the second straight year, one of three All-Americans for the Auggies on Saturday at the NCAA Division III Wrestling National Championships at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.
With a 5-1 victory over Joseph Zitone of Centenary (N.J.) in the title match, Johnson became the 10th Augsburg wrestler to ever win multiple national championships, and the second Auggie heavyweight to achieve the feat, after Ben Bauer won national titles in 2000 and 2001.
Including a seventh-place national finish his first year, Johnson became the 40th Augsburg wrestler in school history to earn three or more All-American honors. Johnson finished his junior season at 37-1. Over the last two national title seasons, Johnson has been unbeaten against Division III competition, with a 73-2 record in that span. Johnson is now 105-13 in his career.
As a team, Augsburg finished in 10th place in the national race with 37.0 points, marking the 37th year and 38th time that Augsburg has finished in the top 10 in wrestling national competition (Augsburg competed in both the NAIA and NCAA Division III national championships in 1985, finishing third in each). Augsburg has finished among the top 10 teams nationally every year since 1988 – 26 straight years. Augsburg’s streak of “trophy finishes” – finishing among the top four teams nationally – came to an end this year after 24 straight seasons (1989 to 2012).
In the heavyweight national title match, Johnson scored a takedown with 22 seconds left in the first period, then scored a reversal seven seconds into the second period to build a 4-1 lead. Johnson built 2:08 of riding time to claim the 5-1 win over Zitone.
Earlier in the day, Johnson reached the national title match with a 6-2 win over James Buss of Loras (Iowa). Johnson claimed two takedowns and built a 2:01 riding-time advantage to score the win.
Also on Saturday, Augsburg’s Mike Fuenffinger (SO, Hibbing, Minn.) and Matt Hechsel (SO, Apple Valley, Minn.) finished their seasons with All-American honors and seventh-place finishes in their weight classes, Fuenffinger at 125 pounds and Hechsel at 197.
Making his second career trip to the national tournament, Fuenffinger claimed a second-period, 22-5 technical-fall victory (4:37) over Matthias Ellis II of Brockport State (N.Y.) in the seventh-place match. Fuenffinger finished his second Auggie season at 29-8, and is now 43-17 in his collegiate career.
Hechsel captured seventh place at 197 pounds in his first trip to the national tournament, scoring a 7-5 win over Trent Flegel of Luther (Iowa) in the seventh-place match. Hechsel finished his sophomore season 35-11, and is now 54-29 in his Augsburg career.
Augsburg’s three All-Americans marked the 35th time that the squad has had three or more All-Americans at the wrestling national championships. Augsburg has had at least one All-American every year since 1977 – 37 straight years. Augsburg has now earned 220 wrestling All-Americans in program history.
2013 NCAA Division III National Championships – Final
Saturday, March 16, 2013 – Cedar Rapids Ice Arena, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Top 10 Team Scores: 1. Wartburg (Iowa) 103.0; 2. Elmhurst (Ill.) 82.0; 3. Wisconsin-Whitewater 78.0; 4. Wisconsin-La Crosse 56.0; 5. Ithaca (N.Y.) 47.0; 6. Centenary (N.J.) 45.0; 7. College of New Jersesy 42.5; 8. Springfield (Mass.) 42.0; 9. SUNY-Cortland (N.Y.) 40.0;10. Augsburg (Minn.) 33.0. Other Minnesota schools: 13t. Concordia-Moorhead 21.5; 18. St. John’s 19.5; 50t. St. Olaf 1.0.
Saturday’s matches involving Minnesota college wrestlers:
125 – Miguel Venecia (Elmhurst) dec. Mike Fuenffinger (Augsburg) 9-5. Seventh-place match: Fuenffinger tech. fall Matthias Ellis III (Brockport State) 22-5 at 4:37.
149 – Jacob Long (Concordia-Moorhead) dec. Emanual Ajagbe (Delaware Valley) 7-4; Vincent Pisani (York) maj. dec. Long 14-3.Fifth-place match: Long dec. Jorge Lopez (Williams) 6-2.
184 – Mitchell Hagen (St. John’s) maj. dec. Daniel Olson (Wheaton) 9-1; Julian Meaney (Elizabethtown) maj. dec. Hagen 16-5. Fifth-place match: Hagen pinned Colin Lenhardt (Johnson & Wales) 0:34.
197 – Jared Myhrberg (SUNY-Cortland) dec. Matt Hechsel (Augsburg) 9-6. Seventh-place match: Hechsel dec. Trent Flegel (Luther) 7-5.
HWT – Chad Johnson (Augsburg) dec. James Buss (Loras) 6-2. Tom Bouressa (Concordia-Moorhead) dec Ryan Fank (Wartburg) 5-0; Buss dec. Bouressa 5-1. Fifth-place match: Anthony Edgren (Wisconsin-Whitewater) dec Bouressa 6-4. National championship match:Johnson dec. Joseph Zitone (Centenary) 5-1.