Augsburg alum Ryan Epps wins USAW World Team Trials Challenge title

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Augsburg University men’s wrestling alumnus Ryan Epps ’20 will compete for a spot on the USA Wrestling Senior National Team in the 82 kilogram (181 pounds) Greco-Roman class, after winning the championship at the USAW World Team Trials Challenge Tournament on Saturday at Discovery Canyon High School.

By winning the title on Saturday, Epps will advance to face current Senior World Team member Spencer Woods, who claimed the 82kg Greco-Roman title at the U.S. Open earlier this month, at the Final X competition on June 10 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. The Final X winner will represent the United States at the UWW Senior World Championships Sept. 16-24 in Belgrade, Serbia. Woods competes for the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program (WCAP).

Competing for the Minnesota Storm, Epps opened Saturday’s tournament with a 1-1, criteria win over Tommy Brackett (New York Athletic Club), then claimed a 9-1 superiority win over Andrew Berreyesa (New York Athletic Club), a Cornell (N.Y.) alum, in the semifinals. Epps then faced two-time Olympian Ben Provisor in the title bout, which Epps won 2-1. Epps rallied from a 1-0, first-period deficit with two single-point scores in the second period, going ahead with 57 seconds left.

Epps earned 157-pound NCAA Division III national titles in 2019 and 2018 for the Auggies, earning All-American honors three times (NCAA in 2019 and 2018, NWCA in 2020) as a four-time national tournament qualifier. Epps was 141-13 in his Augsburg career.

Epps was one of three Augsburg alumni to compete in the Greco-Roman Senior World Team Trials Challenge Tournament. At 130kg (287 pounds), Minnesota Storm wrestler Donny Longendyke ’17 reached the finals after scoring a 6-5 win over Tanner Farmer (New York Athletic Club, Concordia-Nebraska) in the semifinals, but dropped a 9-0 superiority decision to 2018 World silver-medalist Adam Coon (Cliff Keen Wrestling Club), a two-time national runner-up for Michigan, in the finals.

During his three seasons at Augsburg after competing in his first year at Division I Nebraska, Longendyke was a three-time NCAA Division III All-American, winning the heavyweight national title in 2015 and finishing as national runner-up in both 2016 and 2017. He finished his collegiate career at 151-30, including 109-9 at Augsburg.

At 60kg (132 pounds), Auggie alum Leslie (Mike) Fuenffinger ’15 reached the consolation semifinals, but withdrew with a medical forfeit. Competing for the Army WCAP, Fuenffinger dropped a 6-6 criteria decision to Phillip Moomey (Spartan Combat RTC) in his opening match, and earned a 0-0 criteria decision over Max Black (Northern Michigan National Training Center) in his first consolation match.

One of the top lightweight wrestlers in Augsburg history, Fuenffinger won NCAA Division III national titles at 125 pounds in both 2014 and 2015, earning the national tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler honor in 2015. He also earned All-American honors with a seventh-place finish at 125 in 2013, finishing his Augsburg career with a 110-21 record,

Check out Auggies Wrestling at athletics.augsburg.edu and on Facebook and Twitter.

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