Augsburg wrestling to hold ‘Reunion of 8s’ on Sunday

MINNEAPOLIS — The Augsburg University wrestling program will honor five of the best teams in program history during a “Reunion of 8s” on Sunday (1/21), prior to the Auggies’ home dual meet against Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Augsburg will be honoring five teams that won Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles, from 1968, 1978, 1988, 1993 and 1998. The 1993 and 1998 teams won two of Augsburg’s 12 NCAA Division III national championships.

augslogoReunion social events in the Kennedy Center will start at 1 p.m., prior to the 3 p.m. Augsburg dual meet against Wisconsin-Eau Claire at Si Melby Hall, and will continue after the meet, back in the Kennedy Center. For more information on the reunion, contact the Augsburg athletic office at 612-330-1249.

1968
Under coach Ron Pfeffer, Augsburg captured its second MIAC tournament championship in program history, earning five individual champions: Mike Good (130), Dave Inness (145), Larry Stewart (160), Jon Snow (167) and Daryl Miller (177). The Auggies also had two third-place finishers (Bill Hickman and Joel Branes) and three fourth-place finishers (Mark Thurmer, Russ Davies, Ken Casperson). The five MIAC champions competed at the NAIA national tournament in Alamosa, Colo., finishing 30th. Augsburg was 12-3 in dual meets (7-1 MIAC).

1978
Under coach John Grygelko, Augsburg captured its eighth MIAC tournament championship in program history, earning six individual champions: Murray Herstein (118), Scott Whirley (126), Rory Jordan (142), Jeff Swenson (167), Cary Wenzel (177) and Tom Clawson (190). Mike Benson (157) and Keith Nelson (HWT) placed third for the Auggies. In all, nine Auggies qualified for the NAIA national tournament, held in Whitewater, Wis. The Auggies finished ninth as a team, led by Jeff Swenson’s second straight fourth-place national finish. Augsburg was 12-1 in dual meets.

1988
Under coach Jeff Swenson, Augsburg won its 16th MIAC tournament championship and 12th in a 14-year span. The Auggies had three individual champions: John Beatty (134), Brad Schafer (142) and Chester Grauberger (HWT). Those three Auggies, along with Matt Kretlow (150), who placed second, qualified for the NCAA Division III national tournament in Wheaton, Ill. At nationals, Beatty won the national title at 134 pounds and later competed at the Division I national meet. Kretlow finished eighth at 150 to earn All-American honors. Augsburg finished eighth as a team at the national tourney, and finished 11-4 in dual meets.

1993
Under coach Jeff Swenson, Augsburg claimed its 21st MIAC tournament, seventh in a row and 17th in a 19-year span. The Auggies earned nine individual champions, the most it had earned to that point: Nick Fornicoia (118), Jeff Board (126), Joe Hoialmen (134), Rick Habeck (150, tournament MVP), Gary Kroells (158), Randy Eastman (167), Gary Thompson (177), Marty Alger (190) and Kevin Schiltz (HWT). All nine champions qualified for the NCAA Division III national tournament, held in New London, Conn. The Auggies claimed their second Division III national title as a team, edging Wartburg by a 93-92 margin. Three Auggies earned national titles, with Kroells becoming Augsburg’s first repeat national titlist, earning the tournament Most Outstanding Wrestler award (Augsburg’s first) at 158 pounds. Nick Fornicoia (118) and Joe Hoialmen (134) also earned national titles in their weight classes, and six Auggies earned All-American honors. Joining the three titlists were Gary Thompson, who finished fourth at 177, Randy Eastman, who finished fifth at 167, and Kevin Schiltz, who finished sixth at heavyweight. Augsburg was 11-1 in dual meets, outscoring its opponents by a 468-65 margin. The Auggies also swept all five MIAC duals, outscoring the conference foes by a 257-5 margin, including four shutouts.

1998
Under coach Jeff Swenson, Augsburg claimed its 26th MIAC title and 12th in a row, scoring eight individual champions: Henry Gerten (118), Brian Jones (126), Jamie Larkin (134), Josh Cagle (142), Wade Johnson (150), Jesse Bakalyar (158), Nik Lewandowski (177), John Pena (HWT). Jim Peterson (167) finished second, and Shane Wevley (190) won the true second match, as all 10 Auggies qualified for the NCAA Division III national tournament. At the championships in Waterloo, Ohio, Augsburg earned its fifth Division III national title (tying the then-Division III record with Trenton State and SUNY-Brockport) and second in a row, the first time that Augsburg had repeated as national titlists and Augsburg’s first title in an even-numbered year. For the second year in a row, Augsburg won the national title by a Division III-record 42-point margin, scoring 132 points to top second-place Wartburg’s 90. Two Auggies earned national championships. Gerten repeated as national champion at 118 pounds (Augsburg’s third repeat national champion), and Peterson won the national title at 167 pounds. Augsburg set a program record at the time with nine All-Americans. In addition to the national titlists, Pena finished second at heavyweight, as did Lewandowski at 177. Jones placed third at 126, Cagle (142) and Wevley (190) each took fourth, Johnson (150) finished fifth and (158) finished seventh. Augsburg finished 13-2 in dual meets, outscoring its opponents by a 519-143 margin. In winning the MIAC Team Duals (its eighth straight MIAC Team Duals title) at Carleton, Augsburg outscored its five opponents by a 251-3 margin, including four shutouts.

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