SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — It’s been 303 days since Augustana wrestling was halted due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Saturday, however, the Vikings are back on the mat at noon for their season opening dual against the No. 22 Parkside Rangers in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“The athletes and coaches are extremely excited,” head coach Jason Reitmeier said. “In September, the thought of competition seemed so far away and sometimes nonexistent. Now we are a couple days from competing and feel very blessed to have the opportunity. Our guys are grateful, eager and ready.
“I am sure there are a few nerves for our first competition but I am confident that they are ready, focused and going to have a lot of fun on the mat.”
The Vikings head to Kenosha to take on the Rangers inside De Simone Gymnasium for their first of six regular-season duals Saturday. In the 2021 NSIC Wrestling Preseason Coaches Poll, Augustana was selected to finish third with 66 points while Parkside was selected to finish fifth with 45 points.
Last season, the Rangers finished 7-6 in duals and fifth at the NCAA Super Region 5 Tournament. Parkside returns two of its three national qualifiers from the region tournament last season in senior Joseph Arroyo at 125 pounds and redshirt junior Shane Gantz at 165 pounds.
Augustana is coming off a 2019-20 campaign in which they finished 10-4 in duals, third at the NCAA Super Region 5 Tournament, and sent three wrestlers to the NCAA DII Championships as national qualifiers. Two of those three national qualifiers return to the 2021 team in sophomore Hunter Burnett at 149 pounds and fellow sophomore Steven Hajas at 285 pounds. Senior Brandon Carroll also returns as a national qualifier from the 2016-17 season at 133 pounds.
The Vikings are 2-3 in the all-time series with the Rangers, with Augustana winning the last two matchups: a 30-6 victory during the 2014-15 season and a 20-15 victory during the 2019-20 season.
Wt. – Augustana Vikings (Probables)
125- John Babineau
133- Brandon Carroll
141- Jack Huffman
149- No. 10 Hunter Burnett
157- Tyler Wagener
165- Dylan Schuck
174- Cade Mueller
184- Zach Peterson OR Jackson Sweeney
197- No. 12 Daniel Bishop
285- No. 11 Steven Hajas
Wt. – Parkside Rangers (Probables)
125- No. 4 Joe Arroyo
133- Lucas Schevikhoven
141- Francesco Schiro OR Cayden Henschel
149- Nathan Hensley
157- Ben Durocher
165- No. 11 Shane Gantz
174- Ryan Neu
184- Reece Worachek
197- Job Ayala
285- Nate Lloyd
Wrestler to Watch
Sophomore Hunter Burnett returns to the 2021 Vikings roster as the lone All-American after garnering the honors during the 2019-20 season at 141 pounds. This season, Burnett will wrestle at 149 pounds and looks to add to his already impressive career at Augie.
One Last Thing
Junior Daniel Bishop is currently tied for first with Todd Kendle (1985-89) for career tech falls at Augustana with 22. His next tech fall will give him sole possession of first.