LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For the 15th time in its 18 all-time appearances, the top-ranked Augsburg University wrestling team has advanced to the semifinals at the National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III National Duals, claiming a 36-3 win over the University of Chicago and a 29-6 win over the No. 10-ranked University of Wisconsin-La Crosse on Friday at the Kentucky Expo Center’s Freedom Hall.
Augsburg wrestlers won 17 of 20 bouts on Friday, including seven bonus-point decisions and one forfeit, in remaining unbeaten on the season in dual meets. Augsburg has been ranked No. 1 all season long in the NWCA’s Division III national poll.
Augsburg will face No. 5-ranked Wabash (Ind.) in the semifinals on Saturday (1/5) at 10 a.m. (Central time) in Louisville, with the winner advancing to face the winner of the other semifinal between No. 3-ranked Johnson & Wales (R.I.) and No. 2-ranked Wartburg (Iowa), and the losers meeting in the third-place match. Both the finals and third-place match will be at 1 p.m. (Central time).
Defending NCAA Division III 165-pound national champion Lucas Jeske (JR, St. Michael, Minn./St. Michael-Albertville HS) made his season debut, after not competing for the Auggies during the first semester, with two pins on Friday, scoring a 2:48 pin of Chicago’s Will Britain in his opener and a 3:34 pin of UW-La Crosse’s Jackson Schoen in his second match. Jeske is now 66-9 in his Auggie career with 32 pins.
Victor Gliva (JR, Farmington, Minn./Farmington HS) opened the two bouts with a pair of major-decision victories, improving to 11-2 on the season with a 10-0 win over David Traub of Chicago and a 9-1 win over Sawyer Sarbacker of UW-La Crosse. He now has seven bonus-point wins (four pins, three major decisions) among his 11 victories.
No. 4-ranked 197-pounder Lance Benick (SO, Scandia, Minn./Totino-Grace HS) had one of the most dramatic wins of the day in his opener in a win over Chicago’s John Jayne, a Team USA 2017 Junior World Championships competitor in judo. After giving up a takedown and four-point near-fall late in the first period, Benick rallied back in a close match, then converted his own takedown and four-point near-fall in the final 19 seconds of the third period to claim a 10-8 victory. He then scored a 14-5, major-decision win in his second bout to improve to 11-2 on the season.
Defending 157-pound national champion Ryan Epps (JR, Cannon Falls, Minn./Cannon Falls HS), who had competed at 165 pounds during the first semester and entered the weekend ranked No. 1 there, moved back down to 157 and claimed two victories — a 6-0 win over Jason Crary of Chicago and a 4-1 win over UW-La Crosse’s No. 9-ranked 157-pounder Grant Zamin. Against Zamin, Epps snapped a 1-1 tie with a takedown with 1:14 left and earned a riding-time point to cap the win, improving to 15-1 on the season.
No. 2-ranked 133-pounder Sam Bennyhoff (SR, Mound, Minn./Mound-Westonka HS) was efficient in his two victories, scoring a 14-4, major-decision win in his opening bout, and claiming a 6-2 triumph in his second bout to improve to 9-0 on the season and 102-22 on his career. Of his 102 career wins, he now has 62 bonus-point victories (29 major decisions, 15 technical falls, 18 pins).
No. 3-ranked 141-pounder David Flynn (JR, Jordan, Minn./Jordan HS (Scott West)) moved to 8-1 on the season with a pair of strong victories on Friday, a 10-0, major-decision win in his opener and a 4-2 win in the second match. He is now 81-26 in his collegiate career, including a 53-12 mark in his two-plus seasons at Augsburg.
Top-ranked 149-pounder Alex Wilson (SR, Oak Grove, Minn./St. Francis HS) suffered his first loss of the season, as he was upset 7-5 by Cole Riemer of Chicago, surrendering an escape and takedown early in the third period. He came back with an 8-2 win in his second match to move his record to 16-1 on the season.
No. 4-ranked 184-pounder Tanner Vassar (JR, Maple Lake, Minn./Maple Lake HS), an All-American at 174 last season, moved back down to 174 and went 1-1 on the day, with an 8-2 win in his opener and a 10-9 loss to No. 3-ranked 174-pounder Sawyer Massie of UW-La Crosse. Vassar nearly rallied back from an 8-2, first-period deficit against Massie, but dropped to 6-2 on the season.
Solomon Nielsen (SO, Luverne, Minn./Luverne HS) scored a forfeit win in his opener, then dominated in a 10-4 win over UW-La Crosse’s Adam Gusky in his second match, improving to 12-2 on the campaign.
Heavyweight Ethan Hofacker (JR, Spring Valley, Wis./Spring Valley HS) had an impressive day on Friday, going 1-1. In his opener against Chicago’s Patrick Mulkerin, the pair went to overtime tied 1-1, and neither scored in the first sudden-victory session. In the first pair of 30-second tiebreakers, Mulkerin scored an escape with eight seconds left, but in Hofacker’s opportunity, he got a reversal and four-point near-fall to claim a 7-2 win. Hofacker was then edged 2-0 in a strong effort against UW-La Crosse’s No. 4-ranked Konrad Ernst in his second match.
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE
Since the NWCA began the Division III National Duals in 2002, the trophy has rested at either Augsburg or Wartburg. Augsburg has won the title six times (2002, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2018), while Wartburg has won the crown 11 times.
Augsburg has now reached the NWCA Division III National Duals semifinals in 15 of the 18 Division III tournaments. In addition to its six titles, Augsburg has finished second five times, third twice, fourth once, sixth once and seventh once.
Augsburg is now 56-15 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 now 61-24 all-time in NWCA National Duals competition.
FINAL SCORES: Augsburg 36, Chicago (Ill.) 3; Augsburg 29, Wisconsin-La Crosse 6
LOCATION: Kentucky Expo Center Freedom Hall, Louisville, Ky.
RECORD: Augsburg 5-0 overall
No. 1 Augsburg (5-0) 29, No. 10 Wisconsin-La Crosse (6-2) 6
125 — No. 6 Victor Gliva (AUG, 11-2) maj. dec. Sawyer Sarbacker (UWL, 5-6) 9-1 (Augsburg 4-0).
133 — No. 2 Sam Bennyhoff (AUG, 9-0) dec. Josh Stenger (UWL, 8-4) 6-2 (Augsburg 7-0).
141 — No. 3 David Flynn (AUG, 8-1) dec. Hayden Schlough (UWL, 8-4) 4-2 (Augsburg 10-0).
149 — No. 1 Alex Wilson (AUG, 16-1) dec. Logan Schlough (UWL, 8-6) 8-2 (Augsburg 13-0).
157 — No. 1 (165) Ryan Epps (AUG, 15-1) dec. No. 9 Grant Zamin (UWL, 10-2) 4-1 (Augsburg 16-0).
165 — Lucas Jeske (AUG, 2-0) pinned Jackson Schoen (UWL, 7-3) 3:34 (Augsburg 22-0).
174 — No. 3 Sawyer Massie (UWL, 11-1) dec. No. 4 (184) Tanner Vassar (AUG, 6-2) 10-9 (Augsburg 22-3).
184 — Solomon Nielsen (AUG, 12-2) dec. Adam Gusky (UWL, 5-7) 10-4 (Augsburg 25-3).
197 — No. 4 Lance Benick (AUG, 11-2) maj. dec. Cullen Bauer Trottier (UWL, 5-2) 14-5 (Augsburg 29-3).
HWT — No. 4 Konrad Ernst (UWL, 12-0) dec. Ethan Hofacker (AUG, 9-8) 2-0 (Augsburg 29-6).
No. 1 Augsburg (4-0) 36, University of Chicago (5-2) 3
125 — No. 6 Victor Gliva (AUG, 10-2) maj. dec. David Traub (CHI, 5-9) 10-0 (Augsburg 4-0).
133 — No. 2 Sam Bennyhoff (AUG, 8-0) maj. dec. Louis DeMarco (CHI, 7-8) 14-4 (Augsburg 8-0).
141 — No. 3 David Flynn (AUG, 7-1) maj. dec. Alec Gleason (CHI, 7-9) 10-0 (Augsburg 12-0).
149 — Cole Riemer (CHI, 14-4) dec. No. 1 Alex Wilson (AUG, 15-1) 7-5 (Augsburg 12-3).
157 — No. 1 (165) Ryan Epps (AUG, 14-1) dec. Jason Crary (CHI, 7-5) 6-0 (Augsburg 15-3).
165 — Lucas Jeske (AUG, 1-0) pinned Will Britain (CHI, 11-5) 2:48 (Augsburg 21-3).
174 — No. 4 (184) Tanner Vassar (AUG, 6-1) dec. Ben Sarasin (CHI, 16-5) 8-2 (Augsburg 24-3).
184 — Solomon Nielsen (AUG, 11-2) wins by forfeit (Augsburg 30-3).
197 — No. 4 Lance Benick (AUG, 10-2) dec. John Jayne (CHI, 0-1) 10-8 (Augsburg 33-3).
HWT — Ethan Hofacker (AUG, 9-7) dec. Patrick Mulkerin (CHI, 12-9) 7-2 (OT-TB1) (Augsburg 36-3).