This year, the Augustana wrestling team is ready to show its strength on the mat.
After ending the 2018-2019 season with a 5-4 overall record and a 4-4 conference record, the team is prepared to face the upcoming season with a lot of new faces.
“the team is really young, so we have something to prove,” senior wrestler Ben Kelvington said.
A determination for the wrestlers to prove themselves is not all the team has going for it, however.
“We have some good upperclassmen leadership preparing them,” said head coach Jason Reitmeier.
This leadership coupled with high team energy will prove to be strong assets in the matches to come.
In total this year, the team has seven returning starters with another 18 returning wrestlers and 15 redshirt freshmen. Some of the wrestlers to look out for include senior Ben Kelvington, who was selected by the NSIC as the Augustana preseason player to watch and sophomore Steven Hajas, who went 27-9 last year as a heavyweight.
With a new year, the team also lost some important players from last year like Clayton Wahlstrom who achieved a fourth-place finish in the 197-pound weight class at the NCAA championships last year. He returned as a graduate assistant this year.
Despite the loss of these wrestlers, the team is still gearing up to be competitive, especially against St. Cloud State University, who was ranked first in the 2019-20 NSIC Preseason Wrestling Coaches’ Poll.
Despite the rivals and the losses, the team’s goals remain the same.
“My goals are always the same,” Kelvington said. “To compete at a high level so I can compete at the national level.”
The wrestling team’s next meet is on Nov. 9 in Mitchell, South Dakota.
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