Augsburg University, the top-ranked team in the latest National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III national poll, faces No. 2-ranked Wartburg College in the annual “Battle of the Burgs” dual meet on Thursday (2/1) at 7 p.m. in Waverly, Iowa.
The annual meet pits the two squads that have dominated NCAA Division III wrestling for the past three decades. Since 1995, every Division III national title has rested at either Augsburg or Wartburg. The Auggies have won 12 national titles since 1991 and the Knights winning 13 national titles since 1996, including six of the last seven championships.
Since 2015, this dual meet has also featured the “Swens/Milboy Belt” traveling trophy. The trophy is named for the two coaches who built the Lutheran colleges to national prominence in small-college wrestling — Augsburg’s Jeff Swenson (1980-84, 1986-2007) and Wartburg’s Jim Miller (1991-2013). Both coaches led their teams to 10 NCAA Division III national titles during their careers.
Augsburg took over the top spot in the national poll after upsetting Wartburg 21-17 in the NWCA Division III National Duals championship match on Jan. 5 in Fort Wayne, Ind., ending Wartburg’s seven-year National Duals title streak. Both teams won five bouts in the dual, but Augsburg took advantage of pins by David Flynn (SO, Jordan, Minn./Jordan HS (Scott West)) at 141 and Lucas Jeske (SO, St. Michael, Minn./St. Michael-Albertville HS) at 165, along with a team point deducted from Wartburg due to unsportsmanlike conduct, to claim the win.
Augsburg has nine wrestlers ranked in the top 10 in their weight classes, while Wartburg has eight top-10 wrestlers, and there could be meetings of ranked wrestlers in seven of the 10 bouts in Thursday’s dual. Three meetings of top-four wrestlers are likely — Wartburg’s top-ranked Cross Cannone against Augsburg’s No. 4-ranked Alex Wilson (JR, Oak Grove, Minn./St. Francis HS) at 149, Wartburg’s No. 1-ranked Logan Thomsen against Augsburg’s No. 3-ranked Ryan Epps (SO, Cannon Falls, Minn./Cannon Falls HS) at 157, and Augsburg’s top-ranked Lucas Jeske (SO, St. Michael, Minn./St. Michael-Albertville HS) against Wartburg’s No. 2-ranked Mike Ross at 165.
Augsburg is 11-1 in dual meets this season, while Wartburg is 16-2.
Wartburg leads the all-time series with Wartburg by an 18-16 margin. Wartburg had won nine duals in a row over Augsburg before the Auggies’ Jan. 5 National Duals title win. Augsburg is 4-7 all-time in its duals at Wartburg.