Ben Kelvington named Preseason Player to Watch
BURNSVILLE, Minn. — The Augustana wrestling team has been picked to finish fourth in the NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll by tallying 41 points. The NSIC also selected junior Ben Kelvington as Augustana’s Preseason Player to Watch.
“I am excited to see the progress our young guys have made since last year and also the leadership the upperclassmen have shown,” head coach Jason Reitmeier said. “With 15 guys that were redshirted or out last season due to injury, the competition and intensity has been extremely high. Our athletes and staff are excited about this team and this season.”
In addition to three newcomers, the Vikings return 26 wrestlers from last year’s roster that finished fifth in the NSIC, fifth at the Super Region V Championships, and 13th at nationals. While the roster only features three seniors, 12 of the 26 returners redshirted last season and are eligible to compete this season.
The Vikings will also get a big boost from seniors Regan Bye and Bailey Neises and junior Ben Kelvington who did not compete last season due to injury. Brandon Carroll also returns as the only Viking to have qualified for nationals, which he did during the 2016-17 season as a true freshman.
Before being sidelined last season with an injury, Kelvington enjoyed a fine 2017-18 season as a redshirt freshman. The now-junior finished with a 17-4 record (6-2 at 174 pounds, 10-2 at 165 pounds, and 1-0 at 184 pounds) and took first at the Yellowjacket Open, first at the Ridgewater Open, and third at the Warrior-Viking Open. He led the team with seven tech falls that season and also had two falls.
After the culmination of the regular season, the Vikings look to compete in the NCAA Super Region V and NCAA DII Championship Tournaments. Augustana will host both of those events in Sioux Falls in March.