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April 1, 2000






Kevin Puebla is not a coach who makes a point of comparing one team to another so he probably is not going to start now. However, he would be hard pressed to find another team during his 13 year tenure at Augustana that can sport the depth that the 1999-2000 edition had.


During his 13 years with the Vikings he has won 12 College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin conference championships and he has had a wrestler qualify for the NCAA Division III national tournament each year. Five times his teams have finished in the top 15 at the national meet; he has coached 21 NCAA Divsiion  III All-Americans and 10 times since 1987 the Blue & Gold has been in double digits in dual meet victories.


Before this year he had never had a team where four wrestlers recorded at least 100 career victories.  He does now. Led by senior All-American Darren Linton (Argo HS, Bridgeview, IL), Puebla can look at the career victory list for Augustana and see four athletes from his 1999-2000 team sporting at least 100 wins. That is four out of only 12 in school history.


Linton leads this year's group as he put together a fine 132-27-0 mark which places him fourth in school history. Senior Nick Hessler (Orion HS, Orion, IL) is right behind Linton in fifth place with a record of 130-42-0 mark. Junior Nathan Cross (Moline HS, Moline, IL) is in ninth place with a record of 118-29-0 and senior Craig Weinhold (Plainfield HS, Plainfield, IL) is 11th at 106-68-0.


As impressive as this group of four is, it was almost a fivesome as junior Jamie Pales (Lake Park HS, Roselle, IL) finished the year just five wins shy of 100 (95-39-0).


The Vikings finished the year with a fine record of 13-6-2 and they were ranked as high eighth in the last NCAA Division III national poll. They placed fifth at the National Dual Tournament in January and won the team championship at both the Augustana Invitaitional and the Al Hanke Elmhurst Invitational. They were second at the Dick Walker Knights Invitational and third at the All-Lutheran Classic to end the regular season.


Once the post-season started, the Vikings success certainly did not stop. Linton was selected as the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the CCIW tournament as Augustana won for the 32nd time in school history with 114.5 points. That was 20.5 points better than North Central's second place total of 94. Linton beat Nathaniel Albaugh of Wheaton 8-4 in the championship and it was his fourth straight individual CCIW title. He won his first crown in 1997 at 150 pounds and in 1998 he moved to 158 pounds. Last year he won at 165, the same weight he won this year.


Also winning CCIW titles were freshman Joel Catour (Moline HS, Moline, IL) at 141, Cross at 149 and senior Brad Schnowske (J.D. Darnall HS, Geneseo, IL) at 174. It was the third straight CCIW title for Cross, the second in three years for Schnowske and the first for Catour.




One week later, at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional, it was Pales who stole the spotlight from Linton. Pales won a wild 10-8 decision over Shawn Thomas of Pacific at 133 pounds. Thomas had been second in the NCAA Division III national tournament a year earlier and for his effort Pales was selected as the Most Outstanding Wrestler. He was joined on the award stand by Hessler, Cross and Linton. Hessler beat Josh Lavik of Lawrence in the finals of the 125 pound weight class. Cross beat Sam Buckett of Lawrence 4-1 to win at 141 and Linton decisioned Lee Kadinger of Lakeland 8-2 at 165 pounds.


The Vikings finished second in the team standings with 135 points, just 11 shy of the winning total put together by the University of Pacific. Puebla was selected as the Great Lakes Regional "Coach of the Year".


Hessler and Cross earned All-American honors at the NCAA Division III National Wrestling Tournament that was held on the campus of Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio on March 3-4. The performances of Hessler and Cross, along with victories in the tournament from Pales and Linton, helped Augustana and Puebla finish 22nd in the team standings.


Cross had the best finish for the Vikings, placing sixth at 149 pounds. He opened the tournament with a 6-5 loss to Brad Rowe of SUNY-Brockport but came through the wrestlebacks with three straight victories. First, he beat Pete Kearns of UW-LaCrosse in a wild 12-10 affair and then handled Josh Hardman of Manchester 6-1 and Craig Collins of Loras 10-4. He lost to Royce Eyer of Lycoming in the consolation semifinals and in the fifth place match fell to Jimmy Wallace of Wilmington 10-6. Cross ends his junior season with a 33-7 record and he has a 118-29 career record, which places him ninth on the school's all-time victory list. It was his second NCAA Division III All-American performance to go along with his seventh place in 1998 when he was a freshman.


Hessler earned his first All-American certificate with a seventh place finish at 125 pounds. He beat Joe Metcalf of Mount Union 8-4 in the first round but then was defeated by Darin Bertran of Augsburg on a technical fall in the quarterfinals. He bounced back to beat Dave Starks of UW-Eau Claire by a score of 3-2 to secure All-American honors. Felix Martinez of Ithaca beat Hessler 4-3 to knock him into the seventh place match. Hessler defeated Greg Leaman of Illinois College 3-1 in overtime for seventh place. Hessler wrapped up the year with a 33-13 record and he is in fifth place on the Augustana career victory list with a mark of 130-42-0.


Pales lost his opening round match at 133 by a score of 3-2 to Mike Corsiglia of Coe but bounced back with a 10-6 win over Brady Holtz of UW-Stevens Point before his season was ended by Francisco Bermudez of Millikin by a score of 6-2. Pales was 37-10 on the year and is 95-39 in his career which places him 14th on the all-time win list. His 37 victories this season place him in a tie for 17th on the single season victory list with Joe Sickles (37-4-1 in 1990-91) and Craig Wagner (37-5-3 in 1991-92).


Linton opened up his 165 pound title chase with an 8-4 win over Tony Abbott of Augsburg but then was pinned by Chris Roggie of Messiah at 5:42 of the quarterfinal match. Eric Walker of Lycoming who scored a 1-1 tiebreaker victory in the wrestlebacks ended his stay in the tournament in heartbreaking fashion. Linton, third in the NCAA Division III National Tournament a year ago, finishes his fine career with a 132-27-0 record which is fourth on the school's all-time list. He was a sterling 35-3 this past year.

Puebla just finished his 13th season at the helm of the Vikings and he has compiled a dual meet record of 168-57-7 during that time frame. His teams have captured 12 College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin championships during his tenure.


NO        WRESTLER             WON     LOSS    TIE       YEARS

1.         Raphael Wilson       175       5          1          1991-95

2.         Chris Casey            153       24         1          1980-84

3.         Craig Wagner         151       22         5          1989-93

4.         Darren Linton      132      27        0          1996-present

5.         Nick Hessler         130      42        0          1996-present

6.         Dale Schmacht       125       23         3          1979-83

7.         Joe Sickles             124       20         4          1988-92

            Tim Fader              124       39         0          1987-91

9.         Nathan Cross       118      29        0          1997-present

10.        Jesse Kennedy        117       32         0          1993-97

11.       Craig Weinhold     106      68        0          1996-present

12.        Mike Smith             104       59         1          1981-85

13.        Roy Triveline          96         44         2          1981-85

14.       Jamie Pales          95        39        0          1997-present

15.        Pat McMahon          90         15         1          1981-84

            Tim Dodge             90         19         0          1966-70

17.        Nick Posegay          88         62         0          1983-87

            Matt Brooke            88         39         0          1987-91

19.        Steve Rusk             83         4          2          1990-92

            Dan Naab               83         58         0          1991-95




February 19, 2000 * Wheaton College * Centennial Gymnasium * Wheaton, Illinois



PLACE              TEAM                                                     POINTS

1.                     Augustana                                               114.5

2.                     North Central                                           94.0

3.                     Wheaton                                                 71.5

4.                     Millikin                                                     60.0

5.                     Elmhurst                                                  34.0

6.                     North Park, Illinois Wesleyan & Carthage       Did not field teams




125                   Miguel Silva (NC) beat Nick Hessler (AUG) 3-2

133                   Cisco Bermudez (MIL) beat Jamie Pales (AUG) 3-2

141                   Joel Catour (AUG) beat Jamie McCarty (NC) 11-8

149                   Nathan Cross (AUG) beat Sean Collins (WHE) 3-1

157                   Dan Weber (WHE) beat Shawn Forst (MIL) 12-2

165                   Darren Linton (AUG) beat Nathaniel Albaugh (WHE) 8-4

177                   Brad Schnowske (AUG) won by forfeit over Darrick Snyder (NC)

184                   Ricky Flores (NC) beat Dennis Vesey (AUG) 5-4

197                   Ryan Dannhorn (NC) beat Joe Salmieri (MIL) 3-1

HWT                 Nate Carden (MIL) beat Joel Curry (NC) 6-2

MOST OUTSTANDING WRESTLER - Darren Linton, Augustana



WEIGHT      FIRST                                SECOND                             THIRD                               FOURTH

125             Miguel Silva (NC)                  Nick Hessler (AUG)               Kyl Gubbins (ELM)                

133             Cisco Bermudez (MIL)           Jamie Pales (AUG)                Travis Estes (ELM)                Kyle Waters (NC)

141             Joel Catour (AUG)                Jamie McCarty (NC)              Emery Petchauer (WHE)       Chris Winter (ELM)

149             Nathan Cross (AUG)              Sean Collins (WHE)               Tim Shaw (NC)                    John Wozney (MIL)

157             Dan Weber (WHE)               Shawn Forst (MIL)                Craig Weinhold (AUG)           Brian Vogel (ELM)

165             Darren Linton (AUG)             Nathaniel Albaugh (WHE)      Matt Janosek (NC)                Eddie Rosecrants (ELM)

174             Brad Schnowsek (AUG)         Darrick Snyder (NC)              Chad Campbell (WHE)           Carey Gecas (MIL)

184             Ricky Flores (NC)                  Dennis Vesey (AUG)             Glenn Kingsley (ELM)             David Hirt (WHE)

197             Ryan Dannhorn (NC)             Joe Salmieri (MIL)                 Matt Lightner (WHE)            Nick Vandenberg (ELM)

HWT           Nate Carden (MIL)                Joel Curry (NC)                    Mike Cubalchini (AUG)           Tom Vetterani (WHE)



NAME                                                  WT                  YR                   HOMETOWN (HIGH SCHOOL)

Courtney Blythe**                              141                  Jr                     Sherrard, Illinois (Aledo)

Joe Broquard**                                    197                  So                    Fairbury, Illinois (Prairie Central)

Joel Catour*                                         141                  Fr                    Moline, Illinois (Moline)

Nathan Cross***                                 149                  Jr                     Moline, Illinois (Moline)

Mike Cubalchini***                             197                  Jr                     St. Charles, Illinois (St. Charles)

Scott Harris**                                      165                  So                    East Moline, Illinois (United Township)

Nick Hessler****                                 125                  Sr                     Orion, Illinois (Orion)

Sean Hoover*                                       157                  Fr                    Milan, Illinois (Rock Island Alleman)

Matt Kapraun*                                    133                  Fr                    Harvard, Illinois (St. John's Academy)

Chad Krnac**                                      184                  So                    Plainfield, Illinois (Plainfield)

Darren Linton****                               165                  Sr                     Bridgeview, Illinois (Argo)

Aaron Morford**                                141                  So                    Taylor Ridge, Illinois (Rockridge)

Jamie Pales***                                     133                  Jr                     Roselle, Illinois (Lake Park)

Martin Regalado**                               Hwt                 Fr                    Hickory Hills, Illinois (Argo)

Brad Schnowske**                               174                  Sr                     Geneseo, Illinois (J.D. Darnall)

Jim Sosnowski**                                 133                  So                    Summit, Illinois (Argo)

Dennis Vesey*                                     184                  So                    Rock Island, Illinois (Rock Island)

Brad Weinhold**                                 141                  So                    Plainfield, Illinois (Plainfield)

Craig Weinhold****                             157                  Sr                     Plainfield, Illinois (Plainfield)

Marcus Wynn***                                125                  Jr                     Macomb, Illinois (Macomb)

* - Denotes letters won


HEAD COACH: Kevin Puebla

ASSISTANT COACHES: Pat Marsh & Steve Rusk