Auggies net 7 champs in top division at Saint John’s

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. — The No. 2-ranked Augsburg University men’s wrestling team claimed seven of the 10 weight-class titles in the top division at the Saint John’s University North Country Open, held on Saturday.

Thirty-one Augsburg wrestlers combined for a 55-35 record with 25 bonus-point wins — 17 pins, three technical falls and five major decisions. Ranked No. 2 in the latest National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III national rankings, the Auggies faced numerous wrestlers from upper-division schools, including top-ranked Division II squad St. Cloud State, Division II squad Minnesota State-Mankato and Division I programs North Dakota State and Minnesota.

Top-ranked 184-pounder Tanner Vassar (SR, Maple Lake, Minn./Maple Lake HS) improved to 21-0 on the season with three victories over upper-weight wrestlers, scoring first-period pins in his first two matches and a 10-5 win over North Dakota State’s Gary Wokojance in the title bout. Vassar now has 12 pins on the season and 42 in his 114-29 career.

No. 2-ranked 149-pounder Aaron Wilson (SR, Oak Grove, Minn./St. Francis HS) scored four victories to capture his weight class, with a pin, technical fall and a 14-4 major decision win over Minnesota’s Sebas Swiggum in the finals. Wilson is now 22-1 on the season with eight pins, nine technical falls and two major decisions. He is 93-30 in his career.

Two-time defending 157-pound NCAA Division III national champion Ryan Epps (SR, Cannon Falls, Minn./Cannon Falls HS), currently ranked No. 2 in the class, won his title with a 4-0 mark, with three wins over Minnesota opponents and a pin of a St. Cloud State foe. He scored a 17-1 technical fall win over Minnesota’s Cael Carlson in the finals. Epps is 22-1 on the season and 135-12 in his career.

Solomon Nielsen (JR, Luverne, Minn./Luverne HS), ranked No. 7 nationally at 174, used three victories, including a 7-2 finals win over Jimmy Noel of North Dakota State, to earn his weight-class title and improve to 16-2 on the season.

Heavweight Tyler Kim (FY, Burnsville, Minn./Apple Valley HS) scored his second tournament victory of the season and first in a top bracket, earning his title with a pin and two decisions. He is now 16-4 in his inaugural collegiate season with six pins.

Justin Stauffacher (FY, Belle Plaine, Minn./Belle Plaine HS (Scott West)) claimed his first collegiate tournament title with two wins, including a pin, at 125 pounds, moving to 14-6 on the year. Brady Gross (FY, Rosemount, Minn./Apple Valley HS) also scored his first collegiate tournament title, winning in a round-robin 141-pound class with four wins, including a pin, to move to 19-6 overall.

In lower divisions, Shawn Barth (JR, Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville South HS) and Azi Rankins (FY, Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie HS) shared the title in the Silver 141-pound class, with Barth claiming two pins and Rankins claiming a pin and a decision win.

Finishing second for the Auggies in top division classes was Gage Zieske (SO, Alexandria, Minn./Osakis HS) at 133. No. 2-ranked 133-pounder Victor Gliva (SR, Farmington, Minn./Farmington HS) finished in third, as did 165-pounder Moses Madimba (FY, Coon Rapids, Minn./Coon Rapids HS) and heavyweight Ethan Hofacker (SR, Spring Valley, Wis./Spring Valley HS).

North Country Open Results

Augsburg returns to action on Feb. 6 at 7 p.m., traveling to face top-ranked Wartburg (Iowa) in the annual “Battle of the Burgs.” The meet was moved from its original date of Jan. 30.


  • 125: Justin Stauffacher 2-0, champion.
  • 133: Gage Zieske 2-1, second place; Victor Gliva 2-1, third place
  • 141: Brady Gross 4-0, champion; Quinn Youngs 0-1.
  • 141 Silver: Shawn Barth 2-0, co-champion; Azi Rankins 2-0, co-champion.
  • 149: Aaron Wilson 4-0, champion; A.J. Bethea 2-2, fourth place; Jacob Forar 1-2, sixth place; Ian Laatsch 0-2.
  • 149 Silver: Tate Torgerson 3-1, second place; Tony Esteban 2-2, fourth place.
  • 157: Ryan Epps 4-0, champion; Jack Vaselaar 1-2, fourth place; Devin Roberts 0-1.
  • 165: Moses Madimba 2-2, third place.
  • 174: Solomon Nielsen 3-0, champion; Nick Rogge 2-2, fourth place; Bentley Schwanebeck-Ostermann 2-2, fifth place.
  • 174 Silver: Luke Wilson 2-2, fourth place.
  • 184: Tanner Vassar 3-0, champion.
  • 197: Wyatt Richardson 1-1, co-fifth place; Jonathan Zarnke 1-1, co-fifth place; Lorenzo Hernandez 0-2.
  • 197 Silver: Brent Chambers 0-2.
  • HWT: Tyler Kim 3-0, champion; Ethan Hofacker 2-1, third place; Tim Mandyck 1-1; Chase Liestman 0-2.
  • HWT Silver: Luke Zaiser 2-2, fourth place.

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