Auggies competing at NWCA National Duals

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Augsburg University’s men’s and women’s wrestling teams will be competing at the National Wrestling Coaches Association National Duals championships this weekend, as the tournament will be held on Friday and Saturday at the Kentucky Expo Center (Freedom Hall/Exhibition Hall) in Louisville, Ky.

Augsburg’s men’s wrestling team will attempt to defend its back-to-back NWCA Division III National Duals titles, while the Auggie women are competing for the first time in the NCAA women’s bracket in their inaugural season.

The No. 1-seed in the 24-team tournament, Augsburg will receive a first-round bye and will face the winner of the Roger Williams (R.I.) vs. Olivet (Mich.) match on Friday at 10 a.m. (Central time). Quarterfinal matches will on Friday at 2 p.m., with semifinals on Saturday at 10 a.m. and the championship match on Saturday at 2 p.m. Fifteen of the 24 teams in the Division III field are ranked in the top 25 in the latest NWCA Division III national poll, including nine of the top 10-ranked teams.

Since the NWCA began the Division III National Duals in 2002, the trophy has rested at either Augsburg or Wartburg (Iowa). Augsburg has won the title seven times (2002, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2018, 2019), while Wartburg has won the crown 11 times (2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017). Augsburg has placed second five times (2003, 2004, 2006, 2012, 2017), placed third twice (2008, 2011), placed fourth in 2014, sixth in 2015 and seventh in 2016. Augsburg is 58-15 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 63-24 all-time in NWCA National Duals competition. In its 73 Division III National Duals meets, Augsburg has outscored its competition by a 2,023-876 margin, an average score of 27.7 to 12.0.

Augsburg is ranked No. 1 in the latest NWCA Division III national rankings, released on Tuesday. Eight Auggies are ranked in the top 10 in their individual weight classes, including four No. 1 wrestlers — defending national champions David Flynn (SR, Jordan, Minn./Jordan HS (Scott West)) at 141, Ryan Epps (SR, Cannon Falls, Minn./Cannon Falls HS) at 157, Lucas Jeske (SR, St. Michael, Minn./St. Michael-Albertville HS) at 165 and Lance Benick (JR, Scandia, Minn./Totino-Grace HS) at 197.

Two Auggies are ranked No. 2 in their weight classes — Victor Gliva (SR, Farmington, Minn./Farmington HS) at 133 and Tanner Vassar (SR, Maple Lake, Minn./Maple Lake HS) at 184. Aaron Wilson (SR, Oak Grove, Minn./St. Francis HS) is ranked No. 6 at 149, and Solomon Nielsen (JR, Luverne, Minn./Luverne HS) is ranked No. 7 at 174.

Competing in its inaugural season in 2019-20, Augsburg is the No. 8 seed at the 15-team NWCA National Duals NCAA women’s bracket, and will open with a match against Presbyterian (S.C.) on Friday at 8 a.m. (Central time). The winner of that match will face top-seed McKendree (Ill.) at 11 a.m. Matches will continue on Friday and Saturday, with placing matches set for 1 p.m. on Saturday.

In the latest Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association (WCWA) national rankings, released on Sunday, Augsburg is ranked No. 6. Four Auggies are ranked in the national poll in their weight classes, led by Emily Shilson (FY, Maple Grove, Minn./Mounds View HS), who is ranked No. 1 at 109 pounds. Vayle-Rae Baker (Benton, Pa./Wyoming Seminary) is ranked No. 2 at 123, Gabby Skidmore (FY, Spooner, Wis./Cumberland HS) is ranked No. 5 at 123, and Faith Tuttle (FY, North St. Paul, Minn./North St. Paul HS) is ranked No. 5 at 170.

In the latest NWCA/NCAA national rankings, released on Dec. 16, Augsburg is ranked sixth in the tournament ranking and ninth in the dual-meet rankings. In the individual polls, Shilson is ranked No. 1 at 109 pounds, Baker is ranked No. 3 at 123, Skidmore is ranked No. 8 at 130 and Tuttle is ranked No. 6 at 170.

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