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Eric Peterson, Published January 18 2014

No. 2 Cobbers power past No. 4 Augsburg on the mat

MOORHEAD – Concordia sophomore Gabe Foltz did something Saturday night that no other 125-pound NCAA Division III wrestler had done this season – beat Augsburg junior Mike Fuenffinger.

Foltz scored a 3-2 decision against Fuenffinger, who was ranked No. 2 in his weight class. That victory helped fuel No. 2-ranked Concordia to a 26-6 victory against No. 4-ranked Augsburg at Memorial Auditorium.

“It feels good to get out there and beat one of those (ranked) guys,” said Foltz, who improved to 13-9 this season.

Fuenffinger (16-2) lost for only the second time this season. His previous loss was against a Division I opponent.

“Huge win for him,” Cobbers head coach Matt Nagel said of Foltz. “He believes in himself right now.”

The Cobbers (10-2) beat Augsburg – a perennial D-III power – for the second time this week, including a 21-15 win against the Auggies last Sunday at the National Duals.

Nagel liked the way his team responded in the rematch.

“It’s always a big concern as a coach coming up against this situation,” Nagel said. “You can either mentally fold up or improve and get better. We got better.”

The Cobbers won eight of the 10 matches in Saturday’s dual, which started at 157 pounds. Concordia earned major decisions in two of the first three matches and built a 14-0 lead through four matches.

“They came to wrestle,” Augsburg head coach Mark Matzek said. “We came to hang out.”

Cobbers sophomore Brandon Haluptzok provided an early spark at 165, which was the second match in the dual.

Haluptzok (2-3) scored a 3-1 overtime victory against Augsburg senior Justin Bowland, who had defeated Haluptzok last Sunday.

Haluptzok has only wrestled in five matches this season. He recently returned to the mat after missing the first semester because he was studying abroad.

“Had they (Augsburg) got one there, maybe they could have spun things around at 174,” Nagel said of Haluptzok’s victory.

The Cobbers had a 14-6 lead when Foltz took the mat. He scored a takedown in the first period and added an escape in the third period. Those three points proved enough. Fuenffinger scored his points on escapes in the first and second periods.

“I just had to stay in good position and keep going after it,” Foltz said after he took the lead in the third period. “I had to keep trying to get a takedown and keep trying to wrestle the way I wrestle. … It gives me extra confidence, but I have to keep working hard.”

The Cobbers won the dual’s final four matches. Concordia senior Jake Long capped the victory with a 9-6 decision against junior Rashad Kennedy at 149 pounds.

“All around, we wrestled fantastic,” Nagel said. “We controlled the center of the mat. We controlled the edge of the mat. Our shape was again in good conditioning. … I don’t think we’re all the way there. We can get better.”

125: Foltz, CC, dec. Fuenffinger 3-2.

133: Bergeron, CC, dec. Bartschenfeld 6-2.

141: Gebreab, CC, dec. Hamer 3-1.

149: Long, CC, dec. Kennedy 9-6.

157: LeDuc, CC, major dec. Keeter 10-0.

165: Haluptzok, CC, dec. Bowland 3-1 (OT).

174: Gardner, CC, major dec. Martin 11-2.

184: Harrison, CC, dec. Teigen 11-9.

197: Hechsel, AC, dec. Saintal 5-2.

285: Johnson, AC, dec. Kasprick 5-3.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com