Auggies claim 5 champs/co-champs at SJU North Country Open

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. — Claiming five individual champions/co-champions, the top-ranked Augsburg University wrestling team had a solid performance at the Saint John’s University North Country Open, held on Saturday.

Twenty-five Augsburg wrestlers combined to go 52-30 on Saturday, including 27 bonus-point wins — 13 pins, four technical falls, and 10 major decisions. Augsburg had 15 placewinners on the day.

Top-ranked 165-pounder Lucas Jeske (SO, St. Michael, Minn./St. Michael-Albertville HS) improved to 26-0 on the season with his third tournament title of the season. He topped two opponents from Division II St. Cloud State and two from Division I South Dakota State, with a pin and two major decisions before a 7-1 win over St. Cloud State’s Devin Donovan in the final. Of Jeske’s 26 wins, 21 are by bonus-point margins (14 pins, one technical fall, six major decisions).

augslogoRyan Epps (SO, Cannon Falls, Minn./Cannon Falls HS), ranked No. 3 nationally at 157 pounds, scored his fourth tournament championship of the campaign, scoring four wins, including three against upper-division foes. He had a pin and a major decision in his run to the finals, where he edged St. Cloud State’s Hunter Shelton 3-2. Epps is now 27-1 on the season with 10 bonus-point wins (six pins, one technical fall, three major decisions), and has won 11 matches in a row.

Wyatt Richardson (SO, Grand Meadow, Minn./Grand Meadow HS) captured the title at 197 pounds, going 4-0 with two pins, including a 3:43 pin in the finals. Richardson is now 17-6 on the season.

Tone Fuenffinger (SR, Hibbing, Minn./Hibbing HS) and Jackson Graham (SR, Apple Valley, Minn./Apple Valley HS) shared the title at 174, each going 3-0 on the day. Fuenffinger had a pin and technical fall to improve to 25-6, while Graham had a pin and moved to 17-5.

Mike Hayes (JR, Oconomowoc, Wis./Kettle Moraine HS) finished second at 141 pounds, going 3-1 to improve to 14-9 on the season.

No. 10-ranked 125-pounder Victor Gliva (SO, Farmington, Minn./Farmington HS) finished third, going 3-1 with a pin and technical fall to improve to 23-4 on the season. Bryce Zdanovec (SR, Little Chute, Wis./Little Chute HS) also finished third for the Auggies, going 5-1 on the day at 157 to move to 23-11.

Sam Bennyhoff (JR, Mound, Minn./Mound-Westonka HS), ranked No. 4 nationally at 133, finished fourth in his weight class, going 3-2, all against Division I and II opponents. He won all three of his matches by major decision and is now 26-4 on the season with 20 bonus-point wins (eight pins, five technical falls, seven major decisions).

Aaron Wilson (SO, Oak Grove, Minn./St. Francis HS), ranked No. 4 at 149, also finished fourth, going 3-1 on the day with two major decisions, outscoring his opponents by a 26-5 margin with all three of his wins by shutout. He is now 22-6 on the season with 15 bonus-point wins (five pins, three technical falls, seven major decisions).

Placing fifth for the Auggies were Brady McFarland (JR, Windlake, Wis./Muskego HS) at 165 and Brent Chambers (SO, Princeton, Minn./Princeton HS) at 197. Placing sixth were Cruze Hurlburt (FY, Spring Valley, Wis./Spring Valley HS) at 149, Solomon Nielsen (FY, Luverne, Minn./Luverne HS) at 174 and Lorenzo Hernandez (SO, New Ulm, Minn./New Ulm HS) at 184.

Augsburg is ranked No. 1 in the latest National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III national rankings.

UP NEXT: Top-ranked Augsburg travels to face No. 2-ranked Wartburg (Iowa) in the annual “Battle of the Burgs” meet on Thursday (2/1) at 7 p.m. in Waverly, Iowa.

North Country Open Results


  • 125: Victor Gliva 3-1, 3rd place.
  • 133: Sam Bennyhoff 3-2, 4th place.
  • 141: Mike Hayes 3-1, 2nd place; David Flynn 1-0.
  • 149: Aaron Wilson 3-1, 4th place; Cruze Hurlburt 4-2, 6th place; Alex Wilson 1-0; Shawn Barth 1-2; Boone Young 1-1.
  • 157: Ryan Epps 5-0, champion; Bryce Zdanovec 5-1, 3rd place; Kayde Bartels 0-2; Josh Verbeten 0-2.
  • 165: Lucas Jeske 4-0, champion; Brady McFarland 3-2, 5th place; Luke Wilson 0-2.
  • 174: Tone Fuenffinger 3-0, co-champion; Jackson Graham 3-0, co-champion; Solomon Nielsen 2-1, 6th place, Cameron Schmitz 0-2.
  • 184: Lorenzo Hernandez 1-3, 6th place; Jonny Zarnke 0-2.
  • 197: Wyatt Richardson 4-0, champion; Brent Chambers 3-1, 5th place.
  • HWT: Ethan Hofacker 0-2.

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