Auggies have dominant effort at home invitational

MINNEAPOLIS — The Augsburg University men’s wrestling team opened its 2019-20 campaign with 11 competitors winning or sharing weight-class titles at its Auggie-Adidas Invitational, held on Saturday at Si Melby Hall.

Thirty-five Augsburg wrestlers combined to go 76-35, including 46 bonus-point wins — 27 pins, 10 technical falls, and nine major decisions. Augsburg had seven champions, four co-champions, and 19 placewinners on the day. Auggies claimed five of the 10 titles in the Gold division, the top division in the tournament.

Two-time defending 157-pound NCAA Division III national champion Ryan Epps (SR, Cannon Falls, Minn./Cannon Falls HS) opened the season as he did a year ago, moving up a weight class to 165, and went 4-0 with three pins to cruise to his weight-class victory. The top-ranked wrestler in the preseason (Oct. 29) National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III national rankings at 165, Epps scored a 3:59 pin of Seth Brossard of Rochester Community and Technical College in the finals.

Two-time 174-pound All-American Tanner Vassar (SR, Maple Lake, Minn./Maple Lake HS), the No. 3-ranked wrestler nationally at 184 pounds, claimed first-period pins in his first two matches and a 16-0 technical-fall win in the semifinals, en route to his weight-class title. He scored a 3-0 win over Cole Hennen of Southwest Minnesota State in the finals.

Two-time 125-pound All-American Victor Gliva (SR, Farmington, Minn./Farmington HS) also moved up a weight class to 133 pounds and went 4-0 to clinch his new weight class crown. His title was punctuated by an impressive 8-3 win over Upper Iowa’s Justin Folley, the No. 5-ranked wrestler in the NWCA’s Division II national rankings at 133. Gliva is ranked No. 3 in the preseason Division III national rankings at 125.

Defending 184-pound national tournament qualifier Solomon Nielsen (JR, Luverne, Minn./Luverne HS) dropped a weight class to 174 and shared the tournament title with teammate Nick Rogge (SO, Eastman, Wis./Prairie du Chien HS). Nielsen ranked No. 8 nationally at 174, scored a 15-4 major decision and 16-1 technical fall in his first two matches, while Rogge opened with an 18-0 technical fall and scored a 14-6 major decision in the semifinals.

Aaron Wilson (SR, Oak Grove, Minn./St. Francis HS) and AJ Bethea (SO, Hibbing, Minn./Hibbing HS) shared the title at 149 pounds. Wilson scored two technical falls and a 51-second pin on the day, while Bethea had a pin and an 11-3 major decision.

Also scoring a place win in the Gold division for Augsburg was Jacob Forar (SO, Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville North HS), who placed third at 149 pounds with a 3-1 performance, including a second-period pin.

In the Silver division, Bentley Schwanebeck-Ostermann (FY, Loyal, Wis./Marshfield HS) and Tyler Kim (FY, Burnsville, Minn./Apple Valley HS) opened their collegiate careers with titles, Schwanebeck-Ostermann at 174 pounds with a pin and major decision, and Kim at heavyweight with a pin and two major decisions.

Also in the Silver division, Lorenzo Hernandez (SR, New Ulm, Minn./New Ulm HS) placed second at 197, Adam Mickelson (FY, Lakeville, Minn./Apple Valley HS) placed second at 141, Tate Torgerson (FY, Isanti, Minn./Cambridge-Isanti HS) placed second at 149, Brady Gross (FY, Rosemount, Minn./Apple Valley HS) placed third at 149, Justin Stauffacher (FY, Belle Plaine, Minn./Belle Plaine HS (Scott West) placed third at 133, Devin Roberts (FY, Lakeville, Minn./Apple Valley HS) placed fifth at 157, Moses Madimba (FY, Coon Rapids, Minn./Coon Rapids HS) placed fifth at 165 and Chase Liestman (FY, Litchfield, Minn./Litchfield HS) placed fifth at heavyweight.

In the Bronze division, Caleb Benshoof (FY, Grain Valley, Mo./Grain Valley HS) won the title at 141 and Ian Laatsch (FY, Appleton, Wis./Appleton North HS) won the title at 149.

Defending national titlist Augsburg is ranked No. 4 in the preseason NWCA Division III team national rankings.

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