Augsburg ranked 2nd in D-III preseason poll

MINNEAPOLIS – With six individuals ranked among the top 10 wrestlers in their weight classes, the Augsburg College wrestling team is ranked No. 2 in the National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III preseason national rankings, in the first poll released on Thursday.

Augsburg AuggiesAugsburg has one individual ranked No. 1 nationally in his weight class – two-time defending national champion Chad Johnson (SR, Ferryville, Wis./De Soto HS) at heavyweight. Two Auggies are ranked No. 2 in their weight classes – 125-pounder Mike Fuenffinger(JR, Hibbing, Minn.) and 149-pounder Will Keeter (JR, Twin Falls, Idaho).

Matt Hechsel (JR, Apple Valley, Minn.) is ranked No. 4 at 197 pounds, while Tom Kuehn (JR, Fargo, N.D./West Fargo HS) is ranked No. 6 at 141 and Tommy Teigen (JR, Ham Lake, Minn./Meadow Creek Christian HS) is ranked No. 9 at 174.

“It is always nice to get national recognition,” said Augsburg head coach Mark Matzek. “We have a great group of hard-working young men this year who have given themselves high expectations. This team must live the Auggie wrestling motto of improving a minimum of 1 percent a day and giving maximum effort to reach their daily, weekly, and season-long goals.”

A three-time All-American, Johnson enters his senior season with a 105-13 career record. During his last two national championship seasons, Johnson went 73-2 (37-1 in 2012-13, 36-1 in 2011-12), and was unbeaten against Division III competition.

Fuenffinger finished seventh at 125 pounds at the 2013 national tournament with a 29-8 record. A two-time national tournament qualifier, Fuenffinger enters his junior season with a 43-17 record. Hechsel finished seventh nationally at 197 pounds last year with a 35-11 record, entering his junior campaign with a 54-29 record.

Kuehn qualified for the national tournament for the first time in 2013, finishing 24-18 at 141 pounds. He enters this season with a 44-27 career record.

Keeter was 10-4 at 149 pounds before an injury cut his 2012-13 season short. He finished third nationally at 141 pounds at the 2012 national tournament. He will enter this season with a 69-30 career record. Teigen also had his 2012-13 season cut short due to injury, with a 5-1 record last year in three events. He competed at the 2012 national tournament, finishing 24-14 at 165 pounds. He is 44-24 in his Augsburg career.

Winners of a Division III-record 11 wrestling national titles since 1991, Augsburg is ranked second nationally in the preseason poll behind three-time defending national champion Wartburg (Iowa). The Auggies finished 10th at the 2013 national tournament, 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 opens its 2013-14 season on Saturday, Nov. 23 at 9 a.m., with the Auggie-Brute Open at Si Melby Hall.


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