FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — With five individuals winning weight class titles, the Augsburg University men’s wrestling team claimed the championship at the Citrus Invitational, held on Sunday and Monday.
Nineteen Auggies competed in the two-day tournament, going 78-26 with 43 bonus-point wins — 28 pins, seven technical falls and nine major decisions. Ranked No. 3 in the latest National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III dual-meet national rankings and No. 5 in the NWCA tournament rankings, Augsburg won the 14-team tournament with 192.0 points. No. 15/19-ranked Olivet (Mich.) was second with 169.5 points, and No. 7 Baldwin-Wallace (Ohio) was third with 149.0. Six of the 14 teams in the field were ranked in either of the two NWCA Division III national rankings.
No. 2-ranked 133-pounder Victor Gliva (SR, Farmington, Minn./Farmington HS) reached a career milestone in winning his weight class title. Going 5-0 on the weekend with two first-period pins, Gliva is now 103-22 in his career, including a perfect 14-0 record this season. In one of the biggest matchups in the tournament, Gliva scored a 6-1 win over Levi Englman of Ferrum (Va.), the top-ranked 133-pounder nationally, in the semifinals. He then scored a 3-2 win over Charles Nash of Baldwin-Wallace, a returning Division III All-American, in the title match. Gliva now has six pins and a technical fall among his 14 wins this season.
Tanner Vassar (SR, Maple Lake, Minn./Maple Lake HS), the No. 3-ranked wrestler at 184 pounds, scored bonus-point wins in all four of his matches, with three pins and a major decision, to win his weight class. Now 13-0 with seven pins, two technical falls and a major decision, Vassar claimed the tournament title with a 15-2, major decision win over Doug Byrne of Baldwin-Wallace. Vassar is now 106-29 in his Augsburg career with 37 pins.
Two-time defending 157-pound NCAA Division III national champion Ryan Epps (SR, Cannon Falls, Minn./Cannon Falls HS), who had competed at 165 pounds in the first half of the season, returned to his 157-pound class and easily won the tournament title, scoring three pins among his five wins on the weekend. The nation’s top-ranked 165-pounder, Epps scored an 8-2 win over No. 9-ranked 157-pounder Sean Lyons of New York University in the finals. Epps is now 14-0 on the season with seven pins and a technical fall, and is 127-11 with 30 pins in his career.
Defending 141-pound national champion David Flynn (SR, Jordan, Minn./Jordan HS (Scott West)) made his season debut, after not competing in the first semester of this season, and picked up where he left off from last year, with five wins to claim the tournament title. He scored a major-decision and first-period pin in his opening matches, then claimed a third-period pin in the semifinals and a 7-2 win over No. 7-ranked 141-pounder Mario Vasquez of Ferrum in the title match. Flynn is now 78-16 in his Augsburg career and 106-30 in his collegiate career.
No. 9-ranked 174-pounder Solomon Nielsen (JR, Luverne, Minn./Luverne HS), who had lost to teammate Nick Rogge (SO, Eastman, Wis./Prairie du Chien HS) in the finals of the North Central (Ill.) Invitational on Dec. 7, returned the favor at the Citrus meet, with a 7-3 win in the finals on Monday. Nielsen, who went 5-0 in the tournament with two technical falls, is now 11-1 on the season, while Rogge, who went 5-1 with a pin and major decision, is now 12-1.
Justin Stauffacher (FY, Belle Plaine, Minn./Belle Plaine HS (Scott West)) earned runner-up honors at 125 pounds, going 3-1 with a pin and major decision. He is now 10-3 on the year.
Aaron Wilson (SR, Oak Grove, Minn./St. Francis HS), ranked No. 9 nationally at 149 points, rallied from a 10-8 loss to No. 7-ranked 157-pounder Stanley Bleich of Baldwin-Wallace with two wins in the wrestlebacks to finish third — a 1:44 pin of Austin Smith of Ferrum and a 9-7 win over No. 4-ranked 149-pounder Evan Drill of New York University. Wilson is now 13-1 on the season and 84-30 in his career.
Brady Gross (FY, Rosemount, Minn./Apple Valley HS) finished third at 141 pounds, going 6-1 with three pins. Bentley Schwanebeck-Ostermann (FY, Loyal, Wis./Marshfield HS) finished fourth at 174 with a 4-2 effort, including a pin and major decision.
Tyler Kim (FY, Burnsville, Minn./Apple Valley HS) scored a fifth-place finish at heavyweight with two pins and a major decision, and Zach Muller (SO, Woodridge, Ill./Westmont HS), a transfer from St. Cloud State making his Augsburg debut at heavyweight, finished seventh with three pins. Gage Zieske (SO, Alexandria, Minn./Osakis HS) placed sixth at 133, and Joshua Verbeten (SR, Wrightstown, Wis./Wrightstown HS) finished seventh at 165.
Augsburg returns to action on Saturday (1/4) at 3 p.m., hosting Saint John’s in a dual meet at Si Melby Hall.
1. Augsburg (Minn.) 192.0; 2. New York University 169.5; 3. Baldwin-Wallace (Ohio) 149.0; 4. John Carroll (Ohio) 123.5; 5. Ferrum (Va) 103.0; 6. Washington & Lee (Va.) 97.0; 7. Liberty (Va.) club 89.5; 8. Cornell (Iowa) 67.0; 9. Johns Hopkins (Md.) 65.0; 10. Williams (Mass.) 53.0; 11. Saint John’s (Minn.) 51.5; 12. Univ. of the Ozarks (Ark.) 36.5; 13. Rhode Island College 29.5; 14. Keiser (Fla.) 21.5.
AUGSBURG RESULTS BY WEIGHT CLASS
- 125: Justin Stauffacher 3-1, second place.
- 133: Victor Gliva 5-0, champion; Gage Zieske 3-3, sixth place.
- 141: David Flynn 5-0, champion; Brady Gross 6-1, third place; Adam Mickelson 3-2, consolation first place.
- 149: Aaron Wilson 4-1, third place; AJ Bethea 3-3, 11th place.
- 157: Ryan Epps 5-0, champion.
- 165: Joshua Verbeten 4-2, seventh place.
- 174: Solomon Nielsen 5-0, champion; Nick Rogge 5-1, second place; Bentley Schwanebeck-Ostermann 4-2, fourth place.
- 184: Tanner Vassar 4-0, champion.
- 197: Wyatt Richardson 4-2, ninth place.
- HWT: Tyler Kim 5-2, fifth place; Zach Muller 4-2, seventh place; Tim Mandyck 3-2, co-ninth place; Ethan Hofacker 3-2, co-ninth place.