Augsburg alums Fuenffinger, Longendyke qualify for Olympic Trials

FORT WORTH, Texas — Augsburg University men’s wrestling alumni Leslie (Mike) Fuenffinger ’15 and Donny Longendyke ’17 qualified for the United States Olympic Trials with top-five finishes in Greco-Roman action at the USA Wrestling Senior Nationals, held on Friday and Saturday at the Fort Worth Convention Center.

Fuenffinger, competing for the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program, won the 60 kilogram (132 pound) Senior National title, while Longendyke, competing for the Minnesota Storm, finished fifth in the 130 kg (287 pound) class. With their top-five finishes, they both qualified to compete for a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the U.S. Olympic Trials, which will be held on April 4-5 at Penn State University in University Park, Pa.

Fuenffinger, a two-time NCAA Division III individual national champion and three-time All-American during his Augsburg career, is a specialist in the U.S. Army, and is part of the Army’s World Class Athlete Program (WCAP), based in Colorado Springs, Colo. Fuenffinger win the U.S. Open title in the 60 kg (132 pounds) weight class in Las Vegas, Nev., in April., and finished second in the Final X competition in Lincoln, Neb., in June, for the Team USA spot on the World Wrestling Championships roster.

He won the 60 kg Greco-Roman class at the Senior Nationals with five victories over the weekend. He opened with a 1:44 pin of Ibrahim Bunduka (Cougar Wrestling Club), a former Division I wrestler at George Mason (Va.), then scored a 13-2 technical fall (superior decision) win in 1:31 over Britain Longmire, a former Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo (Calif.) competitor, and a 1:27 pin of Bernardino Gomez, a current senior at Division I Presbyterian (S.C.).

Fuenffinger claimed the title with wins over two current national team members who compete at the Northern Michigan University Olympic Training Center in his final two matches, topping Dalton Roberts (New York Athletic Club) 4-1 in the semifinals, and beating Sam Jones (New York Athletic Club) 5-1 in the finals.

One of the top lightweight wrestlers in Augsburg history, Fuenffinger won NCAA Division III national titles at 125 pounds in both 2014 and 2015, earning the national tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler honor in 2015. He also earned All-American honors with a seventh-place finish at 125 in 2013, and was part of Auggie teams that won the national title in 2015, while finishing second in 2013, fifth in 2014 and 10th in 2013. Fuenffinger finished his Augsburg career with a 110-21 record, including 25 pins, 11 technical falls and 26 major decisions. He was 34-1 in his senior season and 34-3 in his junior campaign.

Longendyke, the 2015 NCAA Division III heavyweight national champion and a two-time national runner up during his Augsburg career, currently competes for the Minnesota Storm. He will be competing his second Olympic Trials, after also competing in 2016. He won the 130 kg class at the 2017 USA Wrestling University Nationals.

Longendyke went 4-2 on the weekend with a pin and three technical fall victories, with his lone losses coming to the wrestlers who finished third and fourth in the field. He opened with a 38-second pin of Kaleb Reeves, a sophomore at Coe (Iowa) currently ranked No. 10 nationally in the NCAA Division III rankings at heavyweight. He was pinned in 1:56 by West Cathcart (New York Athletic Club), but responded with technical fall wins in his next two matches, an 8-0 (4:30) win over Jacob Evans, the 2018 NCAA Division III heavyweight national champion at Waynesburg (Pa.), and a 14-5 (3:41) win over Bryson McGowan, a two-time NAIA All-American at Oklahoma City (Okla.).

In the consolation semifinals, Longendyke was edged 3-1 by U.S. Army WCAP athlete Toby Erickson, the eventual third-place finisher in the field and a seven-year Team USA member. But in the fifth-place match, Longendyke claimed his Olympic Trials berth with a 9-0 technical fall win in 1:55 over Thomas Helton, a junior at Division I Southern Illinois.

During his three seasons at Augsburg after competing his first year at Division I Nebraska, Longendyke was a three-time NCAA Division III All-American, winning the heavyweight national title in 2015 and finishing as national runner-up in both 2016 and 2017. He finished his collegiate career at 151-30, including 109-9 at Augsburg.

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