Larson added to Augsburg national tourney lineup

MINNEAPOLIS — Sebastian Larson (SR, River Falls, Wis./River Falls HS) has been added as an injury replacement at 184 pounds for the NCAA Division III Wrestling National Championships, giving his Augsburg University squad eight competitors in the tournament, to be held Friday and Saturday (3/9-10) in Cleveland, Ohio.

Larson, who finished fourth at 184 at the NCAA Division III Upper Midwest Regional on Feb. 23-24, will compete at his second national tournament, after previously qualifying in 2016. He is 27-10 on the season, with a pin, two technical falls and five major decisions, and is 86-55 in his Auggie career (eight pins, five technical falls, 13 major decisions).

Larson’s addition gives Augsburg eight competitors in the national tournament, tied with Messiah (Pa.) for the third-most in the 180-wrestler field. Defending national champion Wartburg (Iowa) and Baldwin-Wallace (Ohio) both have qualifiers in nine of the 10 weight classes.

augslogoThe NCAA Division III National Championships will be held at the Cleveland Public Auditorium in Cleveland, Ohio. Action will begin on Friday with sessions at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. (Eastern time), reducing the field to eight All-Americans in each weight class. Saturday’s action begins at 10 a.m. (Eastern), and will include placing matches for third, fifth and seventh places. National championship matches will begin at 7 p.m. (Eastern) on Saturday.

Of Augsburg’s eight competitors, six are seeded among the top eight in their weight classes — the second-most in the field, behind Wartburg’s eight. The Knights have the top-seeded wrestlers in five weight classes. Ithaca (N.Y.) and Johnson & Wales (R.I.) both have four seeded wrestlers among their seven qualifiers each, while Baldwin-Wallace and Messiah have just two seeded wrestlers each.

The Auggies, winners of 12 Division III team national championships since 1991, enter the meet led by top-ranked 157-pounder Ryan Epps (SO, Cannon Falls, Minn./Cannon Falls HS), who enters the tournament at 38-1 and on a 22-match winning streak. Lucas Jeske (SO, St. Michael, Minn./St. Michael-Albertville HS) is seeded No. 2 at 165, and is 35-1 on the year. Both Epps and Jeske are competing in their second national tournaments. Jeske finished third at 165 pounds to earn All-American honors.

Three-time national tournament qualifier Sam Bennyhoff (JR, Mound, Minn./Mound-Westonka HS) enters the tournament as the No. 4-seed at 133 pounds, with a 32-5 record. Also seeded fourth is 141-pounder David Flynn (SO, Jordan, Minn./Jordan HS (Scott West), who is 19-4 on the season. He earned All-American honors with a third-place finish last year at 141.

Alex Wilson (JR, Oak Grove, Minn./St. Francis HS) is seeded No. 5 at 149, entering his first national tournament with a 32-5 record. Victor Gliva (SO, Farmington, Minn./Farmington HS), who finished eighth nationally at 125 last year, is 28-6 this year and seeded seventh in his weight class.

Two Auggies are unseeded in the field — Larson and Tanner Vassar (SO, Maple Lake, Minn./Maple Lake HS) at 174 pounds. Vassar is making his first national tournament appearance, entering the meet with a 32-8 record.

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