Vikings Visit Defending Champs in Search of NSIC Title

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Winners of 10 of its last 11 duals, the Augustana wrestling team has one NSIC opponent left, the No. 1 ranked and defending national champion St. Cloud State Huskies. The Vikings are set to battle St. Cloud State Wednesday at 7 p.m. inside of Halenbeck Hall in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

The Event
The Vikings were picked to finish fourth in the 2019-20 NSIC Wrestling Preseason Poll, while St. Cloud State was picked first. Currently, in the Super Region 5 standings, Augustana is ranked third with 54 points and St. Cloud State is ranked first with 113 points. A win on Wednesday night would put Augustana on top of the NSIC standings for the first time since 2011.

The Huskies
St. Cloud State comes into its match with Augustana at 15-0 overall and 7-0 in the NSIC. The Huskies have won 63 consecutive duals with their last loss coming to University of Indianapolis on Jan. 14, 2017 by a score of 22-17.

Currently, the Huskies have eight nationally-ranked wrestlers, No. 2 Garrett Vos at 133 pounds, No. 5 Garrett Aldrich at 141 pounds, No. 2 James Pleski at 149 pounds, No. 2 Jake Barzowski at 157 pounds, No. 3 Devin Fitzpatrick at 165 pounds, No. 4 Kolten Eischens at 174 pounds, No. 2 Tyree Overton at 184 pounds and No. 9 Noah Ryan at 197 pounds.

The Vikings
Augustana comes into its match with St. Cloud State at 10-3 on the season and 6-1 in the NSIC. With last Friday’s victory over No. 17 Minnesota State, half of the Vikings’ dual wins this season have been over nationally-ranked opponents. In the Minnesota State dual, the Vikings took down two of the Mavericks’ three nationally-ranked wrestlers as redshirt-freshman Hunter Burnett defeated No. 9 Louie Sanders at 141 pounds and No. 8 ranked junior Ben Kelvington defeated No. 10 Zach Johnston at 174 pounds.

Augustana has two nationally ranked wrestlers, No. 9 redshirt freshman Jack Huffman at 133 pounds and the aforementioned Kelvington is No. 8 at 174 pounds. In the Open Mat rankings, redshirt freshman Hunter Burnett is ranked eighth at 141 pounds while fellow redshirt freshman Jacob Tvinnereim is ranked No. 14 at 157 pounds. In Flowrestling’s rankings, Burnett comes in at No. 12 while Tvinnereim is ranked No. 18.

The Lineups

Wt. – Augustana Vikings (Probables)
125- Ethan Cota
133- No. 9 Jack Huffman OR Brandon Carroll
141- Hunter Burnett
149- Jebben Keyes OR Keaten Schorr
157- Jacob Tvinnereim OR Noah North
165- Bailey Neises OR Dylan Schuck
174- No. 8 Ben Kelvington OR Regan Bye
184- Kolby Kost OR Tanner Brengle
197- Daniel Bishop
285- Steven Hajas

Wt. – St. Cloud State Huskies (Probables)
125 – Brandon Betancourt
133 – No. 2 Garrett Vos
141 – No. 5 Garrett Aldrich
149 – No. 2 James Pleski
157 – No. 2 Jake Barzowski
165 – No. 3 Devin Fitzpatrick
174 – No. 4 Kolton Eischens
184 – No. 2 Tyree Overton
197 – No. 9 Noah Ryan
285 – Ezayah Oropeza

Wrestler to Watch
Junior Ethan Cota has been setting the tone for the Vikings lately at 125 pounds, winning four of his last five bouts, two of which have been tech falls. Cota is 15-10 overall on the season with one major decision and six tech falls.

One Last Thing
The last Vikings’ victory against the Huskies came during the 2011 season when Augustana defeated St. Cloud State twice in a span of 18 days.

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