NO. 1 KNIGHTS MOUNT CRITICAL BATTLE OF THE BURGS COMEBACK

RYAN REEBENACKER, TRUMPET SPORTS WRITER

Midway through the Battle of the Burgs, the Knights found themselves down 14-3 to their most historic rival: the Augsburg Auggies. The Knights fought tooth-and-nail in the back-half of the dual however, and Wartburg went on to win the annual bout for the eighth-straight year, blanking the Auggies the rest of the way to win 19-14.

The Knights retained the rights to the Swens-Milboy trophy until the teams meet for the 2021 Battle of the Burgs. The belt is named after the programs’ most legendary coaches: Augsburg’s Jeff Swenson and Wartburg’s Jim Miller.

Both coaches led their teams to ten national titles during their head coaching careers. Since the induction of the belt Augsburg has yet to capture the traveling trophy, as Wartburg has claimed it all six times. This marked the second time this season the Knights defeated the Auggies in a head-to-head matchup, after also facing Augsburg in the NWCA National Duals championship bout, where the Knights cruised to a 24-15 victory.

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. The meet featured Wartburg’s annual Takedown Mito Night, an annual evening held in honor of Jace Smith, son of Wartburg assistant coach Chris Smith, who passed away in 2016 due to a mitochondrial disease.

The Knights wore alternate jerseys, adorned in green, to honor Smith. The dual began at the 149-pound weight class, and ended with the 141-pound bout. Moving into the final match, Wartburg led Augsburg 16-14, setting up a winner take all match between No. 4 Brady Fritz and No. 5 David Flynn. Fritz had apparently aggravated a knee injury two weeks prior, and faced the daunting task of defeating a reigning national champion in Flynn to cement Wartburg’s victory.

“He’s been doing some serious rehab all week,” Kyle Briggs said ahead of the meet of Fritz’s preparation. Fritz’s 3-2 decision victory cemented the largest comeback across all Battle of the Burgs matchups, as the Knights rattled off 16-straight points en route to the 19-14 victory.

The Knights, now 16-0, will go on to face Loras College next Friday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. in their final regular season dual. Following that, Knights fans can look forward to the NCAA Regionals beginning Feb. 29, and then the NCAA Nationals beginning March 13.

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