Auggies take over NCAA tourney lead, put 3 in national title bouts

HERSHEY, Pa. — Three Augsburg College wrestlers will compete for national championships later tonight, and the Auggies moved into first place in the team standings following the third session of the NCAA Division III National Championships on Saturday afternoon at the Giant Center.


Augsburg leapfrogged perennial rival Wartburg (Iowa) into first place in the team race. Augsburg now has 91.0 points, while Wartburg has 85.5 points. Wisconsin-Whitewater is in third place with 60.5 points. Augsburg will have three wrestlers competing in tonight’s national championship matches, while Wartburg will have two.

Augsburg AuggiesTonight’s final session will begin at 7 p.m. (Eastern time) with championship matches in all 10 weight classes.

Augsburg and Wartburg have combined to win every NCAA Division III national title since 1995. Both schools have won a record 11 national titles each, though Wartburg has won the last four titles in a row. Augsburg’s last national title came in 2010.

Augsburg’s lead in the tournament has largely come down to bonus points, which teams receive for recording major decisions, technical falls and pins. Augsburg has received 23 bonus points in the team standings (seven pins, two technical falls, six major decisions), while Wartburg has only recorded seven bonus points (two pins, four major decisions).

Three Auggies advanced to compete for national championships later tonight, while three other Auggies capped their seasons with victories in placing matches. Augsburg’s six All-Americans are its most since claiming eight in the 2010 national title season.

Defending 125-pound national champion Mike Fuenffinger (SR, Hibbing, Minn.) will compete in a rematch of last year’s national title bout tonight, facing Lucas Malmberg of Messiah (Pa.). Last year, Fuenffinger won the 125-pound crown with a 12-4, major-decision win over Malmberg in the finals.

Fuenffinger advanced to the national title match in come-from-behind fashion, rallying from an early 2-0 deficit with a pin in 6:27 over Guesseppe Rea of Wilkes (Pa.). The 41st Augsburg wrestler to earn three or more All-American honors, Fuenffinger improved to 33-1 on the season, extending his winning streak to 30 straight matches.

Of Fuenffinger’s 33 victories, 24 are bonus-point wins (nine pins, four technical falls, 11 major decisions).

Heavyweight Donny Longendyke (SR, Vadnais Heights, Minn./White Bear Lake HS) advanced to his first national championship match with an 8-4 victory over James Bethel of Oneonta State (N.Y.), and will face Terrance Jean-Jacques of Rhode Island College in tonight’s finals.

A transfer from Division I Nebraska, Longendyke is now 43-2 on the season, including a 31-0 NCAA record. He has now won 35 matches in a row.

Chad Bartschenfeld (SR, Amery, Wis.) continued his incredible run through the tournament at 133 pounds, rallying for a 6-4 win in the second overtime tiebreaker session over Evan Obert of Luther (Iowa). Unseeded Bartschenfeld, now 30-11 on the season, will face No. 5-seed Matthew Grossmann of Wilkes (Pa.) in tonight’s national title match.

Against Obert, Bartschenfeld fell behind 3-1 after two periods, but claimed an escape with 22 seconds left in regulation and a takedown with three seconds left to force overtime. After two sudden-victory sessions and a tiebreaker session, Bartschenfeld scored a reversal with 16 seconds left in his second tiebreaker, then rode out Obert for the final 30 seconds to claim the win.

At 165, Eric Hensel (JR, Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville South HS) finished fifth for his first career All-American honor, claiming two pins on Saturday, including a 1:43 pin over top-seed Andrew Steiert of Wartburg in the fifth-place match. A transfer from Clackamas Community College (Oregon), Hensel finished his first Auggie season at 22-14, and is 38-26 in his collegiate career.

Hensel scored a pin over Ethan Farmer of Wabash (Ind.) in his first match on Saturday, scoring the pin with 18 seconds left in the first overtime sudden-victory session (7:42). He then was edged 8-7 by Sam Guidi of Waynesburg

Hensel scored a pin over Ethan Farmer of Wabash (Ind.) in his first match on Saturday, scoring the pin with 18 seconds left in the first overtime sudden-victory session (7:42). He then was edged 8-7 by Sam Guidi of Waynesburg

Hensel scored a pin over Ethan Farmer of Wabash (Ind.) in his first match on Saturday, scoring the pin with 18 seconds left in the first overtime sudden-victory session (7:42). He then was edged 8-7 by Sam Guidi of Waynesburg (Ohio), but rallied back for the pin of Steiert to secure fifth place.

Hensel finished the national tournament with four pins, leading the tournament field entering tonight’s finals.

Will Keeter finished his collegiate career with a seventh-place finish at 149 pounds for his second All-American honor in his third national tournament. He finished in third place at 141 pounds in 2012.

On Saturday, Keeter suffered a pin in 4:53 by Brad Mayville of the Rochester Institute of Technology (N.Y.), but rallied back in the seventh-place match with a dramatic 11-9 win over Luke Lohr of Waynesburg, who had beaten Keeter 6-3 in their opening match on Friday. Trailing 8-5 late in the second period, Keeter took advantage of two stalling points by Lohr, then gained the final advantage on a takedown with 12 seconds left in the third period.

Keeter finished his senior season at 33-13, and finished his Augsburg career with a 129-59 record, with three trips to the national tournament to his credit.

Matt Hechsel (SR, Apple Valley, Minn.) finished his collegiate career with a seventh-place finish at 197 pounds, claiming a 13-3, major-decision win over Matt Seabold of Central (Iowa) in the seventh-place match. Earlier in the day, he dropped a 6-1 decision to Aaron Karns of Delaware Valley (Pa.) to fall to the seventh-place match.

Against Seabold, Hechsel was dominant for the entire bout, claiming three takedowns and two 3-point near-falls, building 2:16 of riding time to earn the win.

Hechsel finished his Augsburg career as a two-time All-American, finishing seventh both this year and in 2013 at 197. A three-time national tournament qualifier, Hechsel finished this season at 30-11, and capped his career with a 116-48 collegiate record.

Top 10 Team Scores after Saturday’s Session 3: 1. Augsburg (Minn.) 91.0; 2. Wartburg (Iowa) 85.5; 3. Wisconsin-Whitewater 60.5; 4t. Delaware Valley (Pa.) 58.5; 4t. Wabash (Ind.) 58.5; 6. Messiah (Pa.) 48.0; 7. Wisconsin-La Crosse 40.0; 8. Luther (Iowa) 39.5; 9. Coe (Iowa) 36.5; 11. Williams (Mass.) 33.0. Other Minnesota schools: 27. Concordia-Moorhead 14.0; 48t. St. Olaf 1.0; 55t. Saint John’s 0.0.

Saturday’s Session 3 results from Minnesota college wrestlers:
125 — Mike Fuenffinger (Augsburg) pinned Guesseppe Rea (Wilkes) 6:27. National Championship match: Fuenffinger vs. Lucas Malmberg (Messiah).
133 — Chad Bartschenfeld (Augsburg) dec. Evan Obert (Luther) 6-4 (OT-TB2). National Championship match: Bartschenfeld vs. Matthew Grossmann (Wilkes).
149 — Brad Mayville (Rochester IT) pinned Will Keeter (Augsburg) 4:53. Seventh-place match: Keeter dec. Luke Lohr (Waynesburg) 11-9.
165 — Eric Hensel (Augsburg) pinned Ethan Farmer (Wabash) 7:42 (OT-SV1); Sam Guidi (Waynesburg) dec. Hensel 8-7. Fifth-place match: Hensel pinned Andrew Steiert (Wartburg) 1:43.
174 — Conor Lefever (Wabash) dec. Sebastian Gardner (Concordia-Moorhead) 10-5; Josh Thomson (Messiah) dec. Gardner 8-7. Fifth-place match: Troy Cain (Rochester IT) dec. Gardner 5-2.
197 — Aaron Karns (Delaware Valley) dec. Matt Hechsel (Augsburg) 6-1. Seventh-place match: Hechsel maj. dec. Matt Seabold (Central) 13-3.
HWT — Donny Longendyke (Augsburg) dec. James Bethel (Oneonta State) 8-4. National Championship match: Longendyke vs. Terrance Jean-Jacques (Rhode Island College)

Visit The Guillotine College Tournament Time Page for brackets, results, and live video links.

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