Auggies win regional, send 9 to national tourney

MINNEAPOLIS – Qualifying wrestlers to the NCAA Division III National Championships in nine of 10 weight classes, the Augsburg College wrestling team claimed the team championship in an NCAA wrestling regional for the 14th straight year, winning the West Regional on Saturday at Si Melby Hall.

Augsburg won the 11-team regional with 155.5 points. Augsburg has won the team title in its NCAA regional every year since starting regional competition in the 2002-03 season.

Augsburg AuggiesWith its nine national tournament qualifiers, Augsburg has had seven or more national tournament qualifiers in 13 of the last 14 seasons.

Augsburg had four regional champions, two runners-up and three third-place finishers. The top three finishers in each weight class qualify for the national tournament.

Augsburg Head Coach Jim Moulsoff shared West Region Coach of the Year honors with Concordia-Moorhead’s Matt Nagel, while Augsburg’s Tony Valek was named West Region Assistant Coach of the Year by his coaching peers.

Defending heavyweight national champion Donny Longendyke (JR, Vadnais Heights, Minn./White Bear Lake HS) qualified for the national tournament for the second straight year, and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Wrestler in the process. He claimed bonus-point wins in all four of his matches, three pins and one major decision. The top-ranked wrestler in the National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III national rankings, Longendyke pinned No. 9-ranked Zachary Gibson of St. Olaf in 2:52 in the championship match – his third pin of Gibson this season.

Now 36-2, Longendyke has won 26 straight matches. Of his 36 wins, 28 are bonus-point wins (21 pins, six major decisions, one technical fall). Longendyke is now 80-4 in his Augsburg career and 120-25 in his collegiate career. Of his 120 wins, 91 are bonus-point victories (66 pins, five technical falls, 20 major decisions).

No. 10-ranked 165-pounder Eric Hensel (JR, Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville South HS) qualified for the national tournament for the second time in his career, claiming the weight class with three wins – two pins and a major-decision. He scored a 3:28 pin of Teddy Erickson of Saint John’s in the finals.

Hensel is now 24-6 on the season with 18 bonus-point wins (16 pins, two major decisions), 46-20 in his two Auggie seasons and 62-32 in his collegiate wrestling career.

Rashad Kennedy (SR, Inver Grove Heights, Minn./Henry Sibley HS), the lone senior on the Augsburg roster, qualified for the national tournament for the first time in his career at 149 pounds, going 3-0 with a technical fall and major decision. He scored a 4-3 win over Roy Munroe of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in the finals.

The No. 9-ranked 149-pounder nationally, Kennedy is now 22-4 on the season and 88-52 in his career. He has 10 bonus-point decisions this season (six major decisions, four technical falls).

Sam Bennyhoff (FY, Mound, Minn./Mound-Westonka HS) earned a trip to his first national tournament with another outstanding performance at 133 pounds, going 3-0 with a major decision and technical fall. He avenged an earlier loss this season to Gabe Foltz of Concordia-Moorhead with a 5-4, overtime victory in the championship match.

Bennyhoff is now 27-5 on the season with six major decisions, three technical falls and six pins.

Grant Parker (JR, Onalaska, Wis.) finished second for the Auggies at 157, reaching the national tournament for the first time. He scored three straight major decisions to reach the finals, but lost 4-2 in the second sudden-victory overtime to Concordia-Moorhead’s Ben Cousins. Parker is now 30-11 on the season and 62-47 in his career.

Logan Hortop (JR, Faribault, Minn.) finished second at 197 to qualify for the national tournament for the first time. After two wins to reach the finals, he dropped a 7-0 decision to Concordia-Wisconsin’s Mason Baumgartner in the finals. Hortop is now 23-19 on the season and 42-47 in his collegiate career.

James Goman (JR, Lakeville, Minn./Trinity-River Ridge HS) rallied from a loss in the semifinals with two wins in the wrestlebacks at 125, placing third to earn his first trip to the national meet. Going 3-1 on the day, Goman is now 18-19 on the season and 55-42 in his career.

Sebastian Larson (SO, River Falls, Wis.) finished third at 184, earning his first trip to the national tournament. Larson rallied from a semifinal loss with two wins to go 3-1 on the day, improving to 24-14 on the season and 40-24 in his career.

Aaron Wilson (FY, Oak Grove, Minn./St. Francis HS) advanced to the national tournament for the first time with a third-place finish at 141, also rallying with two wins after a semifinal loss. He is now 16-18 on the season.

Austin Boniface (JR, Wyoming, Minn./Forest Lake HS) finished fifth at 174 pounds, going 2-2 on the day. He finished his junior season at 19-15, and is now 45-28 in his career.

2016 NCAA DIII West Regional results

Augsburg competes at the NCAA Division III National Championships, to be held March 11-12 at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

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