CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Augsburg College’s Mike Fuenffinger (JR, Hibbing, Minn.) will compete in his first national championship match at 125 pounds, after dominating in a 10-0, major-decision semifinal victory over Matthias Ellis II of Brockport State (N.Y.) on Saturday morning during the third session of the NCAA Division III National Championships at the U.S. Cellular Center.
Fuenffinger claimed a takedown midway through the first period, another late in the second period, and a reversal and three-point near-fall in the third period, building 2:31 of riding time en route to his 15th bonus-point victory of the season (seven major decisions, seven pins, one technical fall).
A two-time All-American after finishing seventh nationally at 125 last year, Fuenffinger is now 33-3 on the season and 76-20 in his Augsburg career. He will face Lucas Malmberg of Messiah (Conn.) in the championship match later tonight.
As a team, Augsburg sits in seventh place with 38.0 points, and could wrap up its 27th straight top-10 national tournament finish later tonight. It is also the 27th straight year (every year since 1988) that Augsburg has had two or more All-Americans in national wrestling competition.
Heavyweight Chad Johnson (SR, Ferryville, Wis./De Soto HS) saw his quest for a third straight national championship end in the semifinals, when he was upset 7-5 by No. 4-seed James Buss of Loras (Iowa). Buss collected three takedowns, while only allowing three escapes and a late reversal by Johnson. The loss was the first for Johnson against a Division III opponent since his first season at Augsburg.
Johnson recovered from the loss with a 3-0 win over Mackenzie Green of Trine (Ind.), taking advantage of a second-period reversal and 1:15 of riding time in the win. In the third-place match, Johnson pulled away in the third period, scoring an escape and takedown to take a 6-2 lead, en route to a 7-3 triumph over Zachery Roseberry of Delaware Valley (Pa.), Johnson’s second win over Roseberry during the championships.
The sixth Augsburg wrestler to ever earn four or more All-American honors, Johnson finished this season at 35-2 and 140-15 in his Augsburg career. Over his final three seasons, Johnson was 108-4.
Johnson closed each of his four collegiate seasons with victories — finishing seventh his first year, winning national titles in his sophomore and junior seasons, and finishing third his senior campaign.
Top 10 team scores after Saturday’s Session 3: 1. Wartburg (Iowa) 89.5, 2. Wisconsin-Whitewater 67.0; 3. Messiah (Pa.) 60.0; 4. Coe (Iowa); 5. Cortland State (N.Y.) 40.5; 6. Delaware Valley (Pa.) 39.5; 7. Augsburg (Minn.) 38.0; 8. Johnson & Wales (R.I.) 37.0; 9. Wabash (Ind.) 32.0; 10. Ithaca (N.Y.) 30.5. Other Minnesota schools: 11t. Concordia-Moorhead 28.5; 51t. St. Olaf 1.5; 59t. Saint John’s 0.0.
Saturday’s individual results from Minnesota college wrestlers:
125 — Mike Fuenffinger (Augsburg) dec. Matthias Ellis II (Brockport State) 10-0. National Championship match: Fuenffinger vs. Lucas Malmberg (Messiah).
133 — Jacoby Bergeron (Concordia-Moorhead) dec. Silas Murray (Rhode Island College) 6-4; Ryan O’Boyle (McDaniel) dec. Bergeron 6-5. Fifth-place match: Jimmy Nehls (UW-Whitewater) dec. Bergeron 10-4.
149 — Vincent Fava (Delaware Valley) dec. Jacob Long (Concordia-Moorhead) 6-5; Seventh-place match: Long dec. Nick Drendel (Dubuque) 6-3.
HWT — James Buss (Loras) dec. Chad Johnson (Augsburg) 7-5; Johnson dec. Mackenzie Green (Trine) 3-0. Third-place match: Johnson dec. Zachery Roseberry (Delaware Valley) 7-3.