Auggies claim National Duals Crown

Joe Rydel, Sports Editor

The Augsburg University Wrestling team capped off an unforgettable weekend, winning the National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III National Duals for the sixth time in program history. The third-seeded Auggies were able to pull off two key upsets en route to the title. An 18-15 semi-final victory against Johnson & Wales University ultimately set up a highly anticipated matchup against longtime foe Wartburg College. In the end, the Auggies prevailed over the top-ranked Knights by a score of 21-17.
In the rivalry matchup between the Auggies and the Knights, bonus point victories proved to be the difference in deciding the dual. Augsburg used a mixed bag of pins, technical falls and majors to seal the four point victory.
Victor Gliva, Sam Bennyhoff and David Flynn have been dominant this year in the lower weight classes for the Auggies, and last weekend was no exception. The trio rattled off three straight wins to get the dual against Wartburg on the right track. Gliva won by a score of 11-8, Bennyhoff by a score of 7-5 and Flynn by way of pin. On the season, the three have combined for a total record of 37 wins and only five losses.
Lucas Jeske continued his streak of dominance on the mat, picking up four victories on the weekend and a crucial pin at 165 pounds to further extend the lead to 18-5 in favor of Augsburg. Jeske has yet to lose this season with many of his victories coming by way of pin, major or technical fall.
Senior Captain Sebastian Larson continues to be clutch for Augsburg in the 184 pound weight class by sealing the dual for the Auggies. That is the second time this season that Larson has clinched a dual for Augsburg, with his record standing at 17-5 on the year.
The dominance did not stop at National Duals for the wrestlers. The Auggies then traveled to Iowa to compete at the Matman Open at Cornell University. As expected, the Auggies ran away with yet another tournament title, outscoring the runners up in the tournament by 26.5 points. Augsburg claimed two champions and thirteen placewinners on the day to blow away the field. Ryan Epps and Brady McFarland both went undefeated on the day to claim the titles. McFarland used a pin and two major decisions to take the title, while improving his record to 20-7 on the season.
Ryan Epps won five matches on the day, one by way of pin and two more by major decisions to cruise to a first place finish. Epps is now ranked fourth in the country at 157 pounds, with his record standing at 21-1.
The upcoming schedule proves to be a busy one for the Auggies, as they head up to Concordia College to take on the Cobbers on Jan. 18. The following weekend, they will head to the Worthington Open on Saturday, and host the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Blugolds at Si Melby Hall on Sunday. Wrestling is scheduled to start at 3pm on Sunday.

This article first appeared in the Friday, January 19, 2018, Edition of The Echo.