RYAN REEBENACKER, KNIGHT WIRE MANAGER
Following a 24-12 victory over the No. 5 Coe College Kohawks on Thursday, Jan. 30, the focus for the No. 1 Wartburg wrestling program lies squarely on their most historic rival: the No. 2 Augsburg Auggies.
The two programs will square off for the annual Battle of the Burgs dual at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 6, in Levick Arena. The Knights and the Auggies have largely defined Division III wrestling for almost 25 years, as either Wartburg or Augsburg has won the NCAA D-III wrestling national championship every year since 1995.
“We will want to play to our own strengths without letting our opponent get to theirs first. My guess is that this match will be wrestling through the entire seven minutes and neither of us will be looking to go out without being in a dog fight.”— KYLE BRIGGS, NO. 2 RANKED GRAPPLER AT 184 POUNDS
Wartburg currently holds the D-III wrestling national championship record with 14, with Augsburg one away at 13. The winner of the bout will receive the traveling SwensMilboy trophy belt for a year, until the teams meet for the 2021 dual. The belt is named after the program’s most legendary coaches: Augsburg’s Jeff Swenson and Wartburg’s Jim Miller.
Both coaches led their teams to 10 national titles during their head coaching careers. Since the induction of the belt five years ago, Augsburg has yet to capture the traveling trophy, as Wartburg claimed it all five times.
Last year’s Battle of the Burgs ended in a dramatic 16-15 criteria victory for the Knights, who upset the then-No. 1 Auggies in their own building.
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This time around the situation is flipped, with the Knights hosting the Auggies in Levick after earning the top ranking in the nation coming into the dual.
One of the most pivotal weight classes for the Knights rests in the hands of a former Auggie, as No. 1 Kris Rumph ’22 will face off against Augsburg’s Victor Gliva at 133 pounds. This will be a rematch of the 2020 National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) National Duals championship matchup that saw Rumph defeat Gliva 6-4 just under a month ago.
“My approach to this match is really the same,” Rumph said on his rematch with Gliva. “Dominate and win. There were a few things I watched from film with coach that I am going to change up as far as my attack. But other than that, I’m just looking to dominate.”
Kyle Briggs ’21 will look to avenge his lone defeat on the season against top-ranked Tanner Vassar at the 184-pound class. In the 2020 NWCA Championships, Vassar handed then No. 1 Briggs his first loss of the season by a 4-3 decision, and will look to do so again to cement his No. 1 ranking.
“We both know each other pretty well,” Briggs said of his rematch with Vassar. “We will want to play to our own strengths without letting our opponent get to theirs first. My guess is that this match will be wrestling through the entire seven minutes and neither of us will be looking to go out without being in a dog fight.”
The dual will be hosted by Wartburg and take place at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 6. The meet will be streamed on Wartburg Knight Vision.
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