Wartburg 19, Augsburg 14

WAVERLY, Iowa — Winning the final five bouts of the dual after No. 2-ranked Augsburg University had taken a 14-3 lead, top-ranked Wartburg College claimed a 19-14 victory in the annual “Battle of the Burgs” matchup between the two NCAA Division III men’s wrestling powerhouses on Thursday evening at Wartburg’s Levick Arena.

Augsburg built a 14-3 lead in the first half of the dual, winning four of the first five bouts. But Wartburg rallied after the halftime break, scoring five straight victories to win the dual, including matchups of ranked wrestlers in the final two bouts.

Two-time defending NCAA Division III national champion Ryan Epps (SR, Cannon Falls, Minn./Cannon Falls HS), ranked No. 2 in the latest National Wrestling Coaches Association national rankings at 157 pounds, scored an impressive 15-0, third-period technical fall over Wartburg’s Martine Sandoval, his second bonus-point win over Sandoval this season. Epps claimed three takedowns and a pair of four-point near-falls to end the match early, improving to 23-1 on the season and 136-12 in his Auggie career. Epps has 15 bonus-point wins this season (11 pins, four technical falls).

No. 3-ranked 149-pounder Aaron Wilson (SR, Oak Grove, Minn./St. Francis HS) continued his dominant season, improving to 23-1 overall with an 8-3 win over Wartburg’s Nick Meling to open the dual. Wilson built a 7-0 lead on two takedowns, a two-point near-fall and an escape, also claiming the riding-time point. Wilson is now 94-30 in his Augsburg career.

At 174, Augsburg’s No. 5-ranked Solomon Nielsen (JR, Luverne, Minn./Luverne HS), scored two takedowns in the first period and built a 5-1 lead after two periods, scoring a 6-2 victory over Paul Calo. Nielsen is now 17-2 on the season, and has won 11 of his last 12 bouts.

Top-ranked 184-pounder Tanner Vassar (SR, Maple Lake, Minn./Maple Lake HS) remained unbeaten in one of the most dramatic matches of the night, taking on No. 2-ranked Kyle Briggs of Wartburg. Vassar scored his second win of the season over Briggs, improving to 22-0 with a 3-1 victory. Trailing 1-0 after two periods, Vassar scored an escape with 1:38 left in the bout, then claimed a takedown with 1:06 left. The two losses to Vassar are Briggs’ only losses of the year, as he fell to 20-2.

Auggie reserve wrestlers kept the lead alive as the second half of the match began by holding Wartburg wrestlers to decisions — Moses Madimba (FY, Coon Rapids, Minn./Coon Rapids HS) was edged 1-0 by Wartburg’s No. 6-ranked Max Forsyth at 165, and Wyatt Richardson (SR, Grand Meadow, Minn./Grand Meadow HS) dropped an 8-2 decision to Wartburg’s No. 4-ranked Kobe Woods at 197.

Heavyweight Tyler Kim (FY, Burnsville, Minn./Apple Valley HS) was edged 3-2 by Wartburg’s No. 9-ranked Jordan Brandon, and 125-pounder Justin Stauffacher (FY, Belle Plaine, Minn./Belle Plaine HS (Scott West)) dropped a 12-4 major decision to Wartburg’s No. 8-ranked Brady Kyner at 125, setting the stage for the final two dramatic bouts of the match.

At 133, Wartburg’s top-ranked Kristian Rumph claimed his second win of the season over Augsburg’s No. 2-ranked Victor Gliva (SR, Farmington, Minn./Farmington HS), holding off a third-period rally by Gliva in an 8-6 win. Trailing 5-1 after two periods, Gliva scored an escape and a takedown to cut the advantage to 5-4 with 1:18 left, but Rumph scored an escape and a takedown with 41 seconds left, then held on following a Gliva escape and a stalling point in the closing seconds. Gliva is now 19-4 on the season.

In the final bout of the night, No. 4-ranked Brady Fritz of Wartburg gained his second win of the year over Augsburg’s No. 5-ranked David Flynn (SR, Jordan, Minn./Jordan HS (Scott West)), a 3-2 decision, with a Fritz takedown with a minute left in the third period proving to be the difference.

Wartburg now leads the all-time series with Augsburg 22-16, with wins in the last three meetings.

The annual “Battle of the Burgs” dual meet features the two teams that have dominated Division III wrestling over the last three decades. Since 1995, every Division III national title has rested at either Augsburg or Wartburg, with defending national champion Augsburg winning 13 titles since 1991 and Wartburg winning 14 titles since 1996..

Augsburg returns to action on Saturday (2/8) at 10 a.m., competing at the Wisconsin-Eau Claire Don Parker Open.

FINAL SCORE: Wartburg (Iowa) 19, Augsburg (Minn.) 14
LOCATION: Levick Arena, Waverly, Iowa
RECORDS: Augsburg 6-2 overall, Wartburg 16-0 overall

Wartburg 19, Augsburg 14
149 — No. 3 Aaron Wilson (AUG, 23-1) dec. Nick Meling (WAR, 10-5) 8-3 (Augsburg 3-0)
157 — No. 2 Ryan Epps (AUG, 23-1) tech. fall Martine Sandoval (WAR, 13-4) 15-0 at 6:05 (Augsburg 8-0)
165 — No. 6 Max Forsyth (WAR, 24-3) dec. Moses Madimba (AUG, 14-6) 1-0 (Augsburg 8-3)
174 — No. 5 Solomon Nielsen (AUG, 17-2) dec. Paul Calo (WAR, 19-8) 6-2 (Augsburg 11-3)
184 — No. 1 Tanner Vassar (AUG, 22-0) dec. No. 2 Kyle Briggs (WAR, 20-2) 3-1 (Augsburg 14-3)
197 — No. 4 Kobe Woods (WAR, 15-4) dec. Wyatt Richardson (AUG, 8-6) 8-2 (Augsburg 14-6)
HWT — No. 9 Jordan Brandon (WAR, 9-1) dec. Tyler Kim (AUG, 16-5) 3-2 (Augsburg 14-9)
125 — No. 8 Brady Kyner (WAR, 14-4) maj. dec. Justin Stauffacher (AUG, 14-7) 12-4 (Augsburg 14-13)
133 — No. 1 Kristian Rumph (WAR, 12-1) dec. No. 2 Victor Gliva (AUG, 19-4) 8-6 (Wartburg 16-14)
141 — No. 4 Brady Fritz (WAR, 20-4) dec. No. 5 David Flynn (AUG, 8-3) 3-2 (Wartburg 19-14)

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