MINNEAPOLIS — Augsburg College wrestling alumnus Jesse Armbruster ’96 will be inducted into the National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III Hall of Fame in a ceremony on Thursday evening in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, site of this year’s NCAA Division III Wrestling National Championships.
Armbruster will be the eighth Auggie to be inducted into the NWCA Division III Hall of Fame. In 2012, Joe Hoialmen ’93 was inducted, and in 2011, Nick Fornicioia ’93 was inducted. Steve Gliva ’85 was inducted in 2010, John Beatty ’90 was inducted in 2007, Gary Kroells ’93 was inducted in 2005 and Dan Lewandowski ’97 was inducted in 2003. Former head coach Jeff Swenson ’79 was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.
He will be honored at a ceremony on Thursday at the Hilton DoubleTree Hotel in Cedar Rapids. A social hour begins at 6 p.m., with the event to follow at 7 p.m. Joining Hoialmen in the induction class of 2014 are wrestlers Matt Pyle of Luther College (Iowa) and Dustin Hinschberger of Wartburg College (Iowa), Rochester Institute of Technology (N.Y.) coach Scott Stever and former Wisconsin-Eau Claire coach Don Parker.
A three-time All-American, Armbruster won the NCAA Division III national championship for Augsburg College at 126 pounds in 1995, while placing second in at 134 pounds in 1996 and third at 126 pounds in 1994. Armbruster was a part of Auggie squads that won the NCAA Division III national title in both 1993 and 1995, while placing second in 1996 and fourth in 1994. Auggie teams had a 51-8 dual-meet record during Armbruster’s tenure, including a perfect 16-0 season in 1994-95, while winning the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship each of his four years.
Armbruster claimed MIAC individual titles in 1994 (126 pounds), 1995 (126 pounds) and 1996 (134 pounds). He finished his Auggie career with a 134-35 record – 20-11 in 1992-93, 38-13 in 1993-94, 40-5 in 1994-95 and 36-6 in 1995-96. He served as a team co-captain in both 1994-95 and 1995-96.
In 1995, Armbruster was one of the keys to Augsburg’s rally to win the national championship, its third in a five-year span. Entering the final round, Augsburg trailed Trenton State (N.J.) by a 76.5-to-75.5 margin, but Armbruster claimed a 16-6 win over Tom Smith of Wartburg (Iowa) to give the Auggies an 80.0-to-76.5 advantage – a lead the Auggies did not relinquish. Augsburg later clinched the national title when Tom Layte won the title at 150 pounds.
Following his collegiate career, Armbruster served as a student assistant coach on Augsburg’s 1997 national championship team, then returned to his hometown of Faribault, Minn., to serve his high school’s wrestling program. He has spent the last 21 seasons on the Faribault High School wrestling staff, including the last 12 seasons as head coach.
Armbruster earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Augsburg, and earned his master’s degree in education leadership from Southwest Minnesota State. He works as a teacher in the Faribault School District.
The NWCA Division III Wrestling Hall of Fame has honored NCAA Division III wrestlers, coaches and contributors since 1989. Augsburg has been an NCAA Division III member since 1983. To be considered for Hall of Fame induction, wrestlers must be three-time All-Americans or two-time national champions.