LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Augsburg University, the top-ranked team in the National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III national rankings, is the No. 1 seed at the 2019 NWCA Division III National Duals, to be held on Friday and Saturday (1/4-5) at the Kentucky Expo Center (Freedom Hall/Exhibition Hall) in Louisville, Ky. Augsburg has been in the No. 1 spot in the latest NWCA Division III national rankings all season long, and has a 3-0 dual-meet record entering the NWCA Division III National Duals.
Augsburg will receive a first-round bye in the 24-team tournament, and will face the winner of the University of Chicago (Ill.) vs. Centenary (N.J.) match on Friday at 10 a.m. (Central time). Quarterfinal matches will on Friday at 2 p.m., with semifinals on Saturday at 10 a.m. and the championship match on Saturday at 1 p.m. Fifteen of the 24 teams in the Division III field are ranked in the top 25 in the latest NWCA Division III national poll, including nine of the top 10-ranked teams.
Since the NWCA began the Division III National Duals in 2002, the trophy has rested at either Augsburg or Wartburg (Iowa). Augsburg has won the title six times (2002, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2018), while Wartburg has won the crown 11 times (2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017). Augsburg has placed second five times (2003, 2004, 2006, 2012, 2017), placed third twice (2008, 2011), placed fourth in 2014, sixth in 2015 and seventh in 2016.
Augsburg is 54-15 in NWCA Division III National Duals competition since 2002. Augsburg also appeared in five NWCA National Duals competitions prior to the 2002 season, when the defending Division III national champion was invited to compete with Division I squads. Augsburg is 59-24 all-time in NWCA National Duals competition. In its 69 Division III National Duals meets, Augsburg has outscored its competition by a 1,912-845 margin, an average score of 27.7 to 12.2.
Due to weather and travel issues, the Auggies were unable to compete in their traditional holiday break competition, the Citrus Invitational in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Augsburg’s last competition came on Dec. 15, when it swept a pair of ranked opponents at the Loras (Iowa) Key City Classic in Dubuque, Iowa, winning eight of 10 bouts in a 31-9 win over No. 21-ranked Millikin (Ill.), and seven of 10 bouts in a 25-12 win over No. 7-ranked Loras.
Augsburg enters the National Duals with eight individuals ranked among the top six wrestlers in their weight classes, including two top-ranked wrestlers — Alex Wilson (SR, Oak Grove, Minn./St. Francis HS) at 149 and Ryan Epps (JR, Cannon Falls, Minn./Cannon Falls HS) at 165. Sam Bennyhoff (SR, Mound, Minn./Mound-Westonka HS) is ranked No. 2 at 133, while David Flynn (JR, Jordan, Minn./Jordan HS (Scott West)) is ranked No. at 3 141.
Ranked fourth in their classes are Tanner Vassar (JR, Maple Lake, Minn./Maple Lake HS) at 184 and Lance Benick (SO, Scandia, Minn./Totino-Grace HS) at 197. Ranked sixth are Victor Gliva (JR, Farmington, Minn./Farmington HS) at 125 and Aaron Wilson (JR, Oak Grove, Minn./St. Francis HS) at 157.