Dominick Ingram, Staff Writer
The Augsburg men’s wrestling team has continued their high standard of excellence this season, being ranked 2nd in the country behind Wartburg College. These two powerhouse wrestling programs met last week in the annual “Battle of the Burgs” where Wartburg College beat Augsburg for the third straight year by a score of 19-14. Wartburg now leads the all-time series with Augsburg 22-16. These two programs are the nation’s best, and have a rich history with each other, with every Division III national title being won by either Augsburg or Wartburg since 1995.
The Auggies were able to take an early 14-3 lead in the first half of the duel, winning four of the first five bouts. Wartburg later rallied after halftime and was able to score five straight victories to win the duel. The upperclassmen lead the way for the Auggies with several notable performances. No. 3-ranked 149-pounder Aaron Wilson continued his dominant senior campaign, improving to 23-1 overall (94-30 in his career) 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. Ryan Epps, a two-time defending NCAA Division III national champion, scored an impressive 15-0, third-period technical fall over Wartburg’s Martine Sandoval, which was his second bonus-point win over Sandoval this season. Epps is ranked No. 2 in the latest National Wrestling Coaches Association national rankings at 157 pounds and improved to 23-1 on the season and 136-12 in his Auggie career. In a marquee matchup, top-ranked 184-pounder Tanner Vassar remained unbeaten against another top-ranked opponent, taking on Wartburg’s No. 2-ranked Kyle Briggs. Vassar scored his second win of the season over Briggs, improving to 22-0 with a 3-1 victory.
The Auggie wrestling team will take on Minnesota State Moorhead on Saturday before they host the Upper Midwest DIII Regional on the 28th and 29th of February.