CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – With four All-Americans, including two in national championship contention, the Augsburg College wrestling team stands in fourth place after the first day of the NCAA Division III National Championships on Friday at the U.S. Cellular Center.
Defending heavyweight national champion Donny Longendyke (JR, Vadnais Heights, Minn./White Bear Lake HS) and 165-pounder Eric Hensel (JR, Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville South HS) remain alive in the championship bracket, after both repeated their All-American honors from last season. Both Longendyke and Hensel claimed two pins on Friday to reach Saturday’s semfinals.
Augsburg stands in fourth place after the first day with 34.5 points. Top-ranked Wartburg (Iowa) leads with 78.0 points, with Messiah (Pa.) second with 48.0 points, Luther (Iowa) third with 34.5 points and Wabash (Ind.) fifth with 31.5 points.
At 149, the lone senior on the Augsburg roster, Rashad Kennedy (SR, Inver Grove Heights, Minn./Henry Sibley HS), suffered a 6-3 loss to Kenny Martin of Wartburg (Iowa) in the quarterfinals, but rallied back with a 5-3 win over Daniel Del Gallo of Southern Maine in the wrestlebacks to earn All-American honors for the first time in his career. Kennedy used three takedowns and an escape to counter Del Gallo’s three escapes in the win.
At 157, Grant Parker (JR, Onalaska, Wis.) also rallied in the wrestlebacks to earn All-American honors for the first time, winning two matches in the evening session. He topped Pierce Holtfreter of Concordia-Wisconsin 8-5, then scored a 6-4 win over Ty Herzog of Roger Williams (R.I.), battling back from an early deficit to win a wild bout.
At 197, Logan Hortop (JR, Faribault, Minn.) nearly completed an incredible comeback in the wrestlebacks, coming back from a 6-0, first-period deficit to Kyle Koser of Messiah (Pa.) to take an 8-6 lead after two periods on the strength of a takedown and two nearfalls. But Koser was able to convert a reversal into a pin with 50 seconds left in the third period, ending Hortop’s season. Hortop finished his junior campaign at 23-21, and is 42-49 in his Auggie career.
After going 1-1 in the opening session, 133-pounder Sam Bennyhoff (FY, Mound, Minn./Mound-Westonka HS) saw his season end with a 14-2, major-decision loss to Dustin Weinmann of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Bennyhoff could not overcome a takedown and back-to-back four-point near-falls in the final 20 seconds of the first period. Bennyhoff finished his strong first season as an Auggie at 28-7.
Competing in his first national tourney, Aaron Wilson (FY, Oak Grove, Minn./Trinity-River Ridge HS) battled hard against Ithaca’s Nick Wahba in the 141-pound wrestlebacks, but fell 7-3 to bring his first collegiate season to an end at 16-20.
NCAA Division III National Championships Brackets/Results on TrackWrestling.com
TOP 10 TEAM SCORES: 1. Wartburg (Iowa) 78.0; 2. Messiah (Pa.) 48.0; 3. Luther (Iowa) 35.5; 4. Augsburg (Minn.) 34.5; 5. Wabash (Ind.) 31.5; 6. Stevens Tech (N.J.); 7. Wisconsin-La Crosse 23.5; 8t. Alma (Mich.) 22.0; 8t. Coe (Iowa) 22.0; 10. SUNY-Cortland (N.Y.) 20.0. Other Minnesota colleges: 24. Concordia-Moorhead 10.0; 36. St. Olaf 6.0; 48t. Saint John’s 1.0.