Augustana Tabbed Fourth in NSIC Preseason Poll

Steven Hajas named Athlete to Watch

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The Augustana wrestling team was picked to finish fourth in the NSIC Preseason Coaches Poll. The league announced the poll Thursday morning, with Steven Hajas named the Vikings’ Athlete to Watch for the 2021-22 season. The team earned 58 points in the poll.

The Vikings enter the 2021-22 season with high expectations. Head coach Jason Reitmeier is entering his 19th season for the Augustana Vikings with a 38-man squad and an all-time record of 194-91. The Vikings are returning two national qualifiers from last season in Brandon Carroll (133) and Steven Hajas (285). Hajas received NCAA All-American honors after a third-place finish at the NCAA Division II National Tournament.

In addition to the two national qualifiers, the Vikings bring back a trio of All-NSIC honorees. Hunter Burnett (149), Kolby Kost (184), and Cade Mueller (174), along with Carroll, all earned Second Team All-NSIC accolades in the 2021 season. In all, the Vikings posted the second-most All-NSIC honorees last season and return all four.

Augustana held a record of 3-3 last season in the conference. The team placed fourth in the Super Region 5 tournament. Augustana was tabbed to finish third in the 2020-21 NSIC Preseason Coaches Poll. The Vikings add 13 freshmen to the squad this season and have 25 returners.

After opening the season with a pair of Open Tournaments, Augustana gets its dual season underway in Brookings, South Dakota, on Nov. 19. The home debut of AU is slated for Dec. 3 as the Vikings host Upper Iowa inside the Elmen Center. The following day, Augustana will face the Big 12’s North Dakota State inside the Sanford Pentagon, a dual that can also be viewed on Midco Sports.

Steven Hajas was named the Preseason Wrestler to Watch by the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. Hajas earned NCAA All-America honors at 285 pounds after taking home third-place at the NCAA DII National Tournament during the 2020-21 season. He was a national qualifier last season and held a record of 3-1 at the NCAA Super Region 5 Tournament. Overall, he went 11-4 on the season and 4-2 in duals with two falls and one major decision. Hajas is a two-time national qualifier and went to the national meet as a redshirt freshman in 2019-20.

“Steven has a work ethic that is unmatched,” Reitmeier said, “It doesn’t matter if we are in the wrestling room, weight room, or a conditioning run workout, Steven is always competing and pushing the guys around him.

“Steven leads by example, he’s a fairly quiet guy who expects others to work as hard as him in all aspects of wrestling.”

2021-22 NSIC WRESTLING PRESEASON COACHES’ POLL

1 St. Cloud State (9) 81
2 Minnesota State (1) 69
3 Upper Iowa 66
4 Augustana 58
t5 Northern State 45
t5 Parkside 45
7 University of Mary 33
8 Minot State 21
9 MSU Moorhead 17
10 Southwest Minnesota State 15

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