MINNEAPOLIS — Claiming four champions, a runner-up and 15 placewinners in Gold division brackets, along with three titlists in lower divisions, the Augsburg University wrestling team opened its season at its Auggie-Adidas Invitational, held on Saturday at Si Melby Hall. Augsburg, the No. 2-ranked team in the National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III national rankings had 26 overall placewinners at the event. No team results were kept at the open meet.
Four Auggies claimed individual titles in Gold division brackets — 133-pounder Sam Bennyhoff (JR, Mound, Minn./Mound-Westonka HS), 157-pounder Ryan Epps (SO, Cannon Falls, Minn./Cannon Falls HS), 165-pounder Lucas Jeske (SO, St. Michael, Minn./St. Michael-Albertville HS) and 197-pounder Sebastian Larson (SR, River Falls, Wis./River Falls HS).
Jeske, ranked No. 1 in the NWCA Division III national poll at 165, had two pins and a major decision among his four victories to claim his weight-class title. He capped his individual crown with an 11-2, major-decision victory over Connor Hanson of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Bennyhoff, ranked No. 5 nationally at 133, claimed two pins and a major decision among his four wins, which included two wins over nationally ranked opponents — an 11-2, major-decision win over No. 9-ranked Noah Becker of Saint John’s, and a 3-2 triumph over Maleek Williams of Upper Iowa, ranked No. 7 in Division II at 125.
Epps, ranked No. 5 nationally at 157, had a pin and major decision in his four wins — a 9-0 triumph over Mac Spotts of Upper Iowa in the semifinals — and scored a 3-1, sudden-victory overtime win over Upper Iowa’s Brock Benitz in the finals.
Larson outscored his opponents by a 22-9 margin in his four victories to claim the championship at 197, including a 5-2 win over Matt Blome of Minnesota State-Mankato, ranked No. 5 in Division II, in the title match.
Alex Wilson (JR, Oak Grove, Minn./St. Francis HS) advanced to the championship match at 149 pounds with a technical fall and major-decision win, but was edged 8-6 by Damian Penichet of Upper Iowa, ranked No. 8 in Division II, in the championship match. His twin brother Aaron Wilson (SO, Oak Grove, Minn./St. Francis HS) placed third at 149, with his lone loss also to Penichet, in the semifinals.
Tanner Vassar (SO, Maple Lake, Minn./Maple Lake HS) placed second at 174 pounds, collecting two pins in his first two matches.
Victor Gliva (SO, Farmington, Minn./Farmington HS), ranked No. 3 nationally at 125, finished third in his weight class. After opening his tournament with a pin and major-decision win, Gliva was upset 6-4 in the semifinals, before rallying with a 10-9 win over Nelson Baker of Wisconsin-La Crosse in the third-place match.
Bryce Zdanovec (SR, Little Chute, Wis./Little Chute HS) went 3-1 in his 157-pound class to take third, scoring a 4-1 win over Mac Spotts of Upper Iowa in the third-place match.
Jackson Graham (SR, Apple Valley, Minn./Apple Valley HS) placed fourth at 184 pounds, and five Auggies finished fifth in their Gold Division classes — Mike Hayes (JR, Oconomowoc, Wis./Kettle Moraine HS) at 141, Brady McFarland (JR, Windlake, Wis./Muskego HS) at 165, Tone Fuenffinger (SR, Hibbing, Minn./Hibbing HS) at 174, Jonny Zarnke (SO, Chaska, Minn./Chaska HS) at 184 and Wyatt Richardson (SO, Grand Meadow, Minn./Grand Meadow HS) at 197.
In Silver brackets, Kayde Bartels (SO, Brookings, S.D./Brookings HS) won the title at 149 pounds, and Julian Georgescu (SO, Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Cardinal Gibbons HS) and Solomon Nielsen (FY, Luverne, Minn./Luverne HS) shared the title at 174.
AUGSBURG RESULTS BY WEIGHT CLASS
• 125 Gold: Victor Gliva 3-1, 3rd place.
• 133 Gold: Sam Bennyhoff 4-0, 1st place.
• 141 Gold: Mike Hayes 3-1, 5th place.
• 141 Silver: Charlie DesMarais 3-1, 5th place.
• 149 Gold: Alex Wilson 3-1, 2nd place; Aaron Wilson 3-1, 3rd place.
• 149 Silver: Kayde Bartels 4-0, 1st place.
• 149 Bronze: Shawn Barth 2-1, 3rd place.
• 157 Gold: Ryan Epps 4-0, 1st place; Bryce Zdanovec 3-1, 3rd place.
• 157 Silver: Boone Young 3-1, consolation champ; Josh Verbeten 1-2.
• 157 Bronze: Wyatt Bice 2-1, 3rd place.
• 165 Gold: Lucas Jeske 4-0, 1st place; Brady McFarland 3-1, 5th place.
• 165 Silver: Cameron Schmitz 3-1, consolation champ.
• 165 Bronze: Luke Wilson 2-1, 5th place.
• 174 Gold: Tanner Vassar 3-1, 2nd place; Tone Fuenffinger 3-1, 5th place.
• 174 Silver: Julian Georgescu 3-0, co-1st place; Solomon Nielsen 3-0, co-1st place.
• 184 Gold: Jackson Graham 2-2, 4th place; Jonny Zarnke 3-1, 5th place.
• 184 Silver: Lorenzo Hernandez 3-1, consolation champ.
• 197 Gold: Sebastian Larson 4-0, 1st place; Wyatt Richardson 3-1, 5th place; Brent Chambers 0-2.
• HWT Gold: Ethan Hofacker 0-2.
• HWT Silver: Tim Mandyck 4-0, 1st place.
Augsburg hosts St. Olaf College in a dual meet on Tuesday (11/21) at 7:30 p.m. at Si Melby Hall.