The second-ranked Wartburg Knights rallied in the last two weight classes to upset top-ranked Augsburg in the annual Battle of the Burgs. The Knights lost in the NWCA National Dual finals to the Auggies and tensions were high in Levick.
The Knights were down by one point coming into the 197 pound match between second-ranked Kyle Fank and seventh-ranked Lance Benick. Fank was down 3-4, but in the last few seconds of the third period, Fank took down Benick to put the Knights ahead 15-13.
To finish off the battle, #2 Lance Evans had the lone pin of the night against Auggie Ethan Hofacker in the 285 pound match to round out the final score of 21-13.
“I just went out there and did what the team needed me to do,” Evans said. “It was great to get that win at home.”
Aside from Evans’ pin, only one match was not won by decision. Additionally, every match featuring a ranked wrestler.
Four matches were rematches from the NWCA National Duals, with half of them having different outcomes.
Starting off the night at 125 pounds, Knight Brady Kyner was defeated by #10 Victor Gliva by a 6-2 decision.
The first upset of the night happened in the 133 pound match when #8 Brock Rathbun upset #4 Sam Bennyhoff in a rematch from National Duals by a 9-6 decision, forcing the first of two ties in the match.
Augsburg took the lead at 141 pounds when #3 David Flynn won by a 9-3 decision over Knight Brenden Baker.
Top-ranked Cross Cannone countered with a 6-2 victory over #4 Alex Wilson at 149 pounds to force another tie.
However, another upset occurred in favor of the Auggies at 157 pounds. #1 Logan Thomsen suffered his first loss of the season at the hands of #3 Ryan Epps. Epps avenged his loss to Thomsen from National Duals with a 10-6 decision to give Augsburg a 9-6 lead
The Auggie’s momentum carried into the 165 pound match, where #1 Lucas Jeske defeated Knight Max Forsyth by major decision.
Even so, Wartburg started to chip away at Augsburg’s lead. In the 174 pound match, #1 Eric DeVos kept his 27 match winning streak alive with an 11-4 decision over #10 Tanner Vassar, cutting the Auggie’s lead to four points.
Fourth-ranked Tyler Lutes brought the Knight’s within a point of tying the Auggies with a 6-3 decision over #7 Sebastian Larson, setting up Fank and Evans to secure the win.
While it was the wrestlers who avenged the loss, head coach Eric Keller said that the win could not have been accomplished without the packed arena.
“Our guys fed off of the energy and excitement,” Keller said. “We are extremely thankful for everyone who came out tonight and supported us.”
The Knights will continue their season on Friday, Feb. 9 at home against Loras.