MINNEAPOLIS — With nine wrestlers earning National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III Scholar All-America recognition, the Augsburg College wrestling team recorded the second-highest team grade-point average among Division III wrestling teams, it was announced recently.
Augsburg recorded a 3.46 team grade-point average, good for second place in the Division III national ranking. It’s the 14th time Augsburg has earned a top-10 national honor in the NWCA’s Scholar All-America team rankings since 1998. Combined with its second-place finish on the mat at the NCAA Division III National Championships, Augsburg was the lone Division III program to finish in the top 10 in both wrestling and academics this season, and its nine individual Scholar All-Americans were tied with Ursinus (Pa.) for the most in Division III.
According to the NWCA, “The team GPA was calculated by averaging the GPAs of the 10 regional starters, plus as many as four other team members who competed in at least 50 percent of the team’s scheduled competitions.”
Nine Auggie wrestlers earned NWCA Division III Scholar All-America honors — Sam Bennyhoff (SO, Mound, Minn./Mound-Westonka HS), Austin Boniface (SR, Wyoming, Minn./Forest Lake HS), Ryan Epps (FY, Cannon Falls, Minn.), Victor Gliva (FY, Farmington, Minn.), Jackson Graham (JR, Apple Valley, Minn.), Grant Parker (SR, Onalaska, Wis.), Tanner Vassar (FY, Maple Lake, Minn.), Owen Webster (FY, Shakopee, Minn.) and Alex Wilson (SO, Oak Grove, Minn./St. Francis HS).
A physics major with a 3.92 GPA, Bennyhoff finished his sophomore season with a 30-9 record, qualifying for the NCAA national tournament for the second straight year, winning the NCAA West Regional for the second straight year at 133 pounds. He is 58-16 in his two seasons at Augsburg.
A finance major with a 3.56 GPA, Boniface finished this season with a 23-14 record, placing fourth at the NCAA West Regional at 174 pounds. Boniface finished his Augsburg career with a 68-42 record, including 27 pins.
An undecided major with a 3.25 GPA, Epps finished his collegiate debut season with a 34-7 record with five pins, winning the NCAA West Regional title at 149 pounds to reach the national tournament for the first time.
An accounting major with a 4.00 GPA, Gliva earned All-American honors with an eighth-place finish at 125 pounds in his first NCAA national tournament. The NCAA West Regional champion at 125, Gliva finished 32-7 this season with six pins.
A political science major with a 4.00 GPA, Graham finished his junior season with a 29-14 record at 174 pounds. He is 50-24 with eight pins in his two seasons at Augsburg, and 56-30 in his collegiate career.
A finance major with a 3.375 GPA, Parker reached the NCAA national tournament for the second straight year at 157 pounds, placing third at the NCAA West Regional. An All-America in 2016, Parker finished this season 22-12 and finished his career at 88-61 with 15 pins.
An undecided major with a 3.50 GPA, Vassar finished his collegiate debut season with a 31-11 record, including 11 pins, at 149 pounds, claiming two co-championships in tournaments this season.
An undecided major with a 3.57 GPA, Webster placed third at 184 pounds at the NCAA national championships, winning the NCAA West Regional, one of four tournaments he won this season. He finished his collegiate debut season with a 33-2 record, including nine pins.
A biology major with a 3.59 GPA, Wilson finished his sophomore season with a 35-9 record, including 12 pins, at 149 pounds. He scored two tournament titles this season. In his collegiate career, Wilson is 58-24 with 17 pins.
Over the past 32 seasons, Augsburg has produced 145 NWCA Scholar All-Americans. Augsburg has had 122 student-athletes honored since 1997. As a team, Augsburg finished second at the 2017 NCAA Division III national tournament.
According to the NWCA, “In order to become an NWCA Scholar All-American, the following criteria must be met: The wrestler must have a GPA of 3.2 or greater for the previous academic year or have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or greater. Freshmen are eligible, and their GPA from the fall of 2016 must be above 3.2. The wrestler must have been at the current school for the entire 2016-2017 school year. The wrestlers must meet at least one of the following wrestling criteria: NCAA qualifier with a winning record, finish in the top six at the NCAA regional while competing in at least half of the team’s scheduled competitions and compiling a winning record, win at least 67 percent of his matches while competing in at least 50 percent of his team’s scheduled competitions.”