MINNEAPOLIS — Claiming eight individual champions, including four in Gold classes, the Augsburg College wrestling team opened its 2013-14 season with a strong performance at its Auggie-Brute Open, held on Saturday at Si Melby Hall.
Mike Fuenffinger (JR, Hibbing, Minn.), Will Keeter (JR, Twin Falls, Idaho), Matt Hechsel (JR, Apple Valley, Minn.) and Chad Johnson (SR, Ferryville, Wis./De Soto HS) all claimed weight-class championships in Gold classes to lead the Auggies. James Goman (FY, Lakeville, Minn./Trinity-River Ridge HS), Marcus Hamer (FY, Kimball, Minn.) and Austin Boniface (FY, Forest Lake, Minn.) all claimed titles in Silver classes, and Drew Randall (FY, Lewiston, Idaho) scored a triumph in a Bronze class.
Augsburg, ranked No. 2 in the latest National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III national poll, had 24 placewinners among its 31 wrestlers competing in the season-opening tournament.
“Today was a very good way to start our season,” said Augsburg coach Mark Matzek. “The team was hungry to compete and they wrestled that way. The coaching staff and I are very proud of the way the team wrestled with confidence and carried themselves with poise.”
A two-time defending national champion, three-time All-American and current top-ranked heavyweight in the Division III national poll, Johnson cruised through his four matches to claim the championship, winning all four bouts by pin. He claimed pins of 4:46, 1:23 and 4:40 leading up to the final against Abram Reynolds of Briar Cliff (Iowa), the No. 12-ranked wrestler in the NAIA heavyweight national rankings. Johnson scored a 4:32 pin of Reynolds to claim the title, improving to 109-13 in his career.
Fuenffinger, ranked No. 2 nationally at 125 pounds, claimed major-decision wins in his first two bouts en route to his weight-class title, won on a 2-1 decision over Dakota Trom of Rochester Community and Technical College. A two-time national tournament qualifier, Fuenffinger is coming off of last year’s seventh-place finish at 125 at the Division III national tournament.
Entering the season ranked No. 2 nationally at 149 pounds, Keeter moved up a weight class to 157 and scored a weight-class title, going 4-0 with a major decision. He topped Ryan Arne of Saint John’s 6-3 in the finals. Keeter, who finished third nationally at 141 in 2012, is returning to the mat after an injury-shortened 2012-13 campaign.
Hechsel, an All-American coming off a seventh-place national finish at 197 last season and ranked No. 4 nationally at 197 this season, scored three pins in his opening matches on Saturday, leading up to a championship bout with Carl Broghammer of Upper Iowa, the No. 2-ranked wrestler in Division II. Hechsel claimed a win by medical forfeit in the championship match.
Two Auggies opened their seasons with second-place finishes in Gold classes. At 133, Kirk Anderson (SO, Comstock, Minn./Barnesville HS), a transfer from Division I North Dakota State (2007-08) who won three state titles as a high school wrestler, made his Auggie debut with wins in his first three matches, including a 4-3 semifinal triumph over Evan Obert of Luther (Iowa), the No. 4-ranked 133-pounder in Division III. In the finals, Anderson met Joe Munos of Rochester Community and Technical College, a transfer from Division I Ohio who was a three-time Minnesota high school state champion. Munos edged Anderson in the finals by a 3-1 decision.
At 149, Rashad Kennedy (JR, Inver Grove Heights, Minn./Henry Sibley HS) had a strong opening to his season, claiming a technical-fall and first-period pin en route to the championship match, going 3-1 on the day.
Five other Auggies recorded place wins in Gold classes, with Tom Kuehn (JR, Fargo, N.D./West Fargo HS) finishing fourth at 141,Justin Bowland (SR, Foley, Minn.) finishing fifth at 165, Tommy Teigen (JR, Ham Lake, Minn./Meadow Creek Christian HS) finishing fifth at 174, Chad Bartschenfeld (JR, Amery, Wis.) placing sixth at 133 and Miles Hammerlund (FY, Delano, Minn.) earning consolation honors at 184.
In Silver classes, Goman went 4-0 with a pin to claim the title at 125, while Hamer recorded two pins and a major decision to win the crown at 141. Boniface had three pins and a major decision in claiming the title at 165. Randall scored the Bronze crown at 157, scoring three pins among his four victories.
Augsburg opens the dual-meet portion of its schedule on Tuesday (11/26) at Si Melby Hall. The Auggie White Team (JV) takes on Ridgewater Community and Technical College at 6 p.m., and the varsity hosts Waldorf (Iowa) at 7 p.m.
AUGSBURG INDIVIDUAL RESULTS:
125 Gold — Mike Fuenffinger 4-0, champion.
125 Silver — James Goman 4-0, champion; Blong Kong 1-2.
133 Gold — Kirk Anderson 3-1, 2nd place; Chad Bartschenfeld 1-2, 6th place; Roarke Langer 1-2.
133 Silver — Blake Miller 3-1, 3rd place; Brandon Peters 3-1, consolation.
141 Gold — Tom Kuehn 2-2, 4th place; Ryan Cook 0-2.
141 Silver — Marcus Hamer 4-0, champion; Tucker Sarbacker 1-2.
141 Bronze — Sidney Rodriguez 0-2.
149 Gold — Rashad Kennedy 3-1, 2nd place.
149 Silver — Quade Zupko 2-1, co-5th place; Mark Akpaka 2-1, co-5th place.
157 Gold — Will Keeter 4-0, champion.
157 Silver — Grant Parker 0-2.
157 Bronze — Drew Randall 4-0, champion; Brandon Strong 3-1, 5th place.
165 Gold — Justin Bowland 3-1, 5th place.
165 Silver — Austin Boniface 4-0, champion.
174 Gold — Tommy Teigen 3-1, 5th place.
184 Gold — Miles Hammerlund 2-1, consolation.
184 Silver — Gregory Skon 1-1, 3rd place; Avery Sweeney 1-1, co-5th place; Todd Fairbanks 0-1, co-5th place.
197 Gold — Matt Hechsel 4-0, champion.
197 Silver — Justin Flores 0-2, 6th place.
HWT Gold — Chad Johnson 4-0, champion.
HWT Silver — Logan Hortop 1-2.