NOTE: Due to the semester break, the Bulldog Athletic Association did not meet this week. Athletes of the week will return on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
Concordia welcomes you to basketball fan appreciation day on Wednesday (Jan. 4): Wednesday, Jan. 4 has been deemed “Basketball Fan Appreciation Day” at Walz Arena. Concordia basketball teams will take on Briar Cliff at 6 and 8 p.m. Fans will be admitted free of charge and will be offered complimentary ice cream sundaes. The night will be sponsored by Wild Chiropractic & Acupuncture.
Bulldogs set to host 2017 Concordia Invitational Tournament: The Concordia Invitational Tournament makes its return to Seward in 2017. Defending champions of both the men’s and women’s 2016 events, the Bulldogs will welcome Concordia-Ann Arbor, Concordia-Chicago and Concordia-Wisconsin to Walz Arena, which will host a total of eight basketball games Jan. 27-28. For more information on #CIT2017, click HERE.
Twenty-one Bulldogs honored by Omaha World-Herald: A total of 21 Bulldog athletes received some form of All-Nebraska recognition the Omaha World-Herald, which released its honorary teams on Christmas day. Seward High School product Trey Barnes received the most significant accolade. He was named honorary captain of the Omaha World-Herald’s NAIA All-Nebraska football team for the second-straight year. Check out the links below for further details on the All-Nebraska teams.
Wrapping up a perfect week in Honolulu: Before returning home for Christmas, the second-ranked Concordia women’s basketball team wrapped up two wins and soaked up the island life in Honolulu, Hawaii. Members of the team visited Pearl Harbor, surfed in the ocean and swam with dolphins, among other activities. For more on their Hawaiian adventures, click HERE.
Fall Scholar-Athlete total final at 27: Twenty-seven athletes from Concordia fall sports teams were named 2016 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes. That brings the university’s NAIA all-time leading scholar-athlete total to 1,233. In order to be nominated, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved a junior academic status.
How to purchase Cultivating Men of Faith and Character: The book, Cultivating Men of Faith and Character: The History of Concordia Nebraska Football, remains available for purchase online HERE. For more than 90 years, the Concordia football program has cultivated men of faith and character. This journey through the program’s entire history takes a narrative, coach-by-coach approach in bringing back to life the memorable plays, players and moments in Bulldog football history. Win or lose, Christian character has guided a storied football tradition in Seward, home to the “college in the cornfield.”
Bulldog Coaches Show airs every Thursday at 6 p.m. CT: The Bulldog Coaches Show is in its second year of existence. The show airs live for a half hour every Thursday beginning at 6 p.m. CT on KTMX-FM 104.9 Max Country. The weekly feature can also be heard live via 104.9 Max Country’s website or by downloading the TuneIn Radio app and searching “Max Country.” Throughout the 2016-17 season, Bulldog football, men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball contests will be aired live on Max Country.
Concordia Sports Network: Live webcasts for most home varsity contests can be accessed by visiting http://www.cune.edu/csn at game time. Check team schedules/results pages for webcast dates. Scrimmages, exhibitions and junior varsity events are not broadcasted.
- Concordia showed no rust after going 18-straight days without playing a game. The Bulldogs resumed the 2016-17 season last week with a trip to Miami that resulted in a 95-85 win over No. 22 Florida Memorial University and a 74-73 victory over No. 21 St. Thomas University (Fla.). The perfect road swing has pushed fourth-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad to 9-6 overall on the season. Last week’s contests marked the first true road wins of the campaign for the Bulldogs. For more information on Bulldog men’s basketball, click HERE.
- Concordia has played seven of its first 15 games against top-25 opponents. The Bulldogs have won four of those games, claiming victories over No. 10 Dakota Wesleyan, No. 17 York College, No. 21 St. Thomas and No. 22 Florida Memorial. The Bulldogs have fallen at the hands of No. 6 Northwestern, No. 21 Midland and No. 23 Morningside. Northwestern remains the only team to defeat the Bulldogs inside Walz Arena this season.
- Chandler Folkerts moved past Director of Athletics Devin Smith ’92 on the program’s all-time scoring and rebounding lists last week. Folkerts now sits at No. 4 in scoring (1,686) and No. 5 in rebounding (730) on the school’s all-time lists. He also ranks fourth in program history in blocked shots (123). He piled up a season high 32 points on 13-for-17 shooting from the field in the win over Florida Memorial. The native of Milford, Neb., ranks third among all NAIA Division II players in field goal percentage (.679).
- Folkerts is the leader of one of the nation’s top offensive teams. Despite the long layoff, Concordia picked up where it left off, shooting 54.2 percent (32-for-59) at Florida Memorial and 50.0 percent (28-for-56) at St. Thomas. Over those two games, the Bulldogs poured in 25 more treys. Among all NAIA Division II teams, Concordia ranked first in 3-point field goal percentage (.442), third in field goal percentage (.522), ninth in 3-point field goals per game (.10.7), 11th in free throw percentage (.764) and 24th in scoring offense (87.7).
- Senior Eli Ziegler has developed into one of the nation’s top outside shooters. The native of Littleton, Colo., boasts national rankings of fourth in total 3-point field goals (57), seventh in 3-point field goals per game (3.8) and 15th in 3-point field goal percentage (.496). Ziegler has nailed at least five triples in four-straight games. Averaging a career best 18.1 points, Ziegler now sits at 952 career points as he makes a push to become the 29th 1,000-point scorer in program history.
- Freshman Tanner Shuck has emerged as the team’s No. 3 scoring option. Over the last three games, the native of Grand Island, Neb., has averaged 19.7 points and has made 15-of-26 (.577) shots from 3-point range. Shuck ranks fourth among all NAIA Division II players with a 3-point field goal percentage of 54.1. The 6-foot-4 wing has made seven starts and is averaging 11.1 points per game.
- The win at Florida Memorial marked the 50th for Limback since he took over the program prior to the 2013-14 season. A 1999 Concordia grad, Limback also won 115 games over 12 seasons at Concordia-Ann Arbor. The Bulldogs are hoping to continue the trend of improvement each season under Limback. Concordia has gone from 8-21 in 2013-14 to 16-15 in 2014-15 to 18-12 in 2015-16. The 18 victories equaled a personal single-season best. He also guided the Cardinals to an 18-14 mark in 2006-07.
- The Bulldogs have now played three-straight times without starting sophomore guard Chris Johnstone, who came down with an ankle injury in the loss at No. 23 Morningside on Dec. 7. In recent action, Limback has employed a starting lineup that includes guards Seth Curran, Jake Hornick and Ziegler, Shuck on the wing and Folkerts in the post. The starters took the lion’s share of the minutes last week (317 of a possible 400 minutes). Curran played all 40 minutes at Florida Memorial. Ziegler is the team leader with an average of 33.3 minutes per game.
- Concordia will play three games in a four-day stretch this week. The Bulldogs will host Briar Cliff (13-4, 4-2 GPAC) at 8 p.m. CT on Wednesday before a trip to Dordt (8-9, 0-6 GPAC) for a 7 p.m. CT tipoff on Friday in a rescheduled game. Then on Saturday, Concordia welcomes Oglala Lakota College (S.D.) to Walz Arena for a 4:30 p.m. CT start. The Bulldogs have won six of their first seven home games.
- The second-ranked Bulldogs have enjoyed some rest and relaxation since extending their win streak to 15 during their stay at the Hoop N Surf Classic (Dec. 19-20) in Honolulu, Hawaii. Before leaving the island, Concordia rattled off wins over No. 17 Indiana Tech, 68-57, and No. 8 College of the Ozarks (Mo.), 78-68. Eleventh-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad now stands at 15-1 overall and owns five victories over nationally-ranked opponents. The Bulldogs continue to lead the GPAC race with a perfect 8-0 league mark. For more information on Concordia women’s basketball, click HERE.
- The Bulldogs have won 15 of the season’s first 16 games for the third time during Olson’s tenure. Concordia also sported 15-1 records at this point in the 2012-13 and 2014-15 campaigns. The 2012-13 edition ran out to a 15-0 start before finally falling from the ranks of the unbeaten. The 2014-15 team, which reached the national title game for the first time in program history, triumphed in 28 of its first 29 contests and finished 34-3 overall. That same teams owns an Olson-era best winning streak of 23. Concordia has now produced winning streaks of 15 or better four times during Olson’s time at the helm of the program.
- In terms of winning percentage, only three NAIA Division II teams rank higher than Concordia: unbeaten squads Saint Xavier (Ill.) (14-0), St. Francis (Ill.) (12-0) and Southeastern (Fla.) (11-0). The Bulldogs’ 15 overall wins are the most in the nation. Concordia is one of seven teams with either zero or one loss.
- Junior Mary Janovich has elevated her game to new heights. Over the past six games she has averaged 15.5 points while going 36-for-60 (.600) from the floor. On Dec. 27 she was named the GPAC player of the week for the second time already this season. Her latest honor came thanks to her efforts at the Hoop N Surf Classic, where she averaged 16.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.0 steals over the two outings. A dominant defensive force, Janovich is averaging 3.0 steals on the season and now ranks 20th in program history for career thefts (157).
- The only thing that’s really managed to slow down freshman Philly Lammers is foul trouble. In the win over Indiana Tech, the Millard West High School product recorded her first career double-double while going for 14 points and 12 rebounds. So far, Lammers is on track to do what Quinn Wragge did last season: lead her team in scoring and rebounding as a freshman. Lammers sports averages of 12.6 in scoring and 6.4 in rebounding. She is also shooting a team best 63.7 percent from the field.
- Wragge enjoyed a fine run of her own at the Hoop N Surf Classic. She posted her third career double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) versus Indiana Tech and then chipped in 14 points and six rebounds against College of the Ozarks. Having starred as first team All-GPAC performer as a freshman, Wragge is already accumulating impressive career totals. She has 651 points (13.6/game) and 291 rebounds (6.1/game) over 48 games as a Bulldog.
- Concordia has won all four games its played in Hawaii during Olson’s tenure. The 2012-13 team also ventured to The Aloha State and took down both 16th-ranked (NAIA Division I) University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) and GPAC rival Doane. Prior to that trip, the program had not played at the event since December 2005 when the Bulldogs went 1-1 at the Hoop N Surf Classic during previous head coach Todd Voss’ final season on the sideline.
- Concordia maintains lofty national rankings in many key statistical categories, including second in steals per game (17.0), second in turnover margin (plus-9.4), third in scoring margin (plus-24.4), fifth in scoring offense (84.3), sixth in 3-point field goals per game (9.4), eighth in free throw percentage (.768), 11th in field goal percentage (.442), 11th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.11), 21st in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.278), 25th in scoring defense (58.9) and 28th in field goal percentage defense (.366).
- Conference play returns this week with a pair of GPAC contests on the slate. Briar Cliff (7-7, 4-3 GPAC) will visit Walz Arena for a 6 p.m. CT tipoff on Wednesday. Two days later, the Bulldogs will head to Sioux Center, Iowa, for a rescheduled game at Dordt (7-7, 0-6 GPAC). It is set to get underway at 5 p.m. CT. Concordia has seven-straight conference games scheduled before hosting CIT Jan. 27-28.
- Now ranked 11th nationally, Concordia has not competed since the Oklahoma City Duals were held on Dec. 19. As part of that event, the Bulldogs tested themselves against four teams sporting top-15 national rankings. Concordia went 2-2 with victories over No. 8 Campbellsville University (Ky.), 26-10, and over No. 11 Wayland Baptist University (Texas), 24-15. The losses came at the hands of NCAA Division II No. 14 University of Central Oklahoma, 48-0, and No. 6 Oklahoma City University, 24-13. First-year head coach Andrew Nicola’s squad is 5-2 overall and 2-0 in the GPAC. For more information on the Bulldog wrestling program, click HERE.
- The NAIA released fresh national rankings last week (Dec. 28). Concordia moved up two spots to No. 11 in the coaches’ top 20 poll. Six Bulldogs appeared in the individual rankings: No. 12 Giovanni Castillo (125), No. 15 Dmitri Smith (125), No. 9 Kodie Cole (133), No. 2 Ken Burkhardt Jr. (197), No. 11 Alexander Reimers (197) and No. 4 Ceron Francisco (285).
- With wins over Campbellsville and Wayland Baptist, the Bulldogs had extended their dual win streak against NAIA opponents to 11. Even with the Dec. 19 losses to highly-rated foes, Concordia has won 12 of its last 14 duals overall. Additionally, the program’s run of consecutive GPAC dual wins remains intact at 16 in a row. The 2015-16 Bulldogs went 13-4 overall while breaking the school record for dual victories in a single season. The previous standard had been set by the 1970-71 Concordia Athletic Hall of Fame team that went 10-3.
- Three Bulldogs went unbeaten at the Oklahoma City Duals: 197-pounder Ken Burkhardt Jr. (3-0), 125-pounder Giovanni Castillo (2-0) and 157-pounder Jon Lado (2-0). Burkhardt Jr., a two-time GPAC wrestler of the week already this season, has been on a tear. The NAIA’s second-ranked 197-pounder has won nine-straight matches with all coming with bonus points. He triumphed by major decision in all three of his Oklahoma City Duals bouts against NAIA competitors. The program’s first-ever wrestler to reach 100 wins, Burkhardt Jr. is 19-5 this season and 105-53 for his career.
- Heavyweight Ceron Francisco had not wrestled in over a month before returning to action in Oklahoma City. Ranked No. 4 in the NAIA at 285, the native of Fayetteville, N.C., majored Wayland Baptist’s Nik Gates, 10-2, as part of the dual win. He then faced a showdown with third-ranked Korey Walker of Oklahoma City. In what had been a competitive bout, Walker pinned Francisco in the final seconds of the third period. That loss was the first blemish of the season on Francisco’s record. He is 10-1 as a senior and 84-51 in his career.
- Fourteen different Bulldogs wrestled in at least one match at the Oklahoma City Duals. Six competed in all four duals: 133-pounder Kodie Cole (3-1), 141-pounder Cooper Bailey (1-3), 149-pounder Foster Bunce (1-3), 165-pounder Kirk Kaliszewski (1-3), 174-pounder Walker Fisher (0-4) and 184-pounder Josh Nelsen (0-4). Collectively, Concordia individuals went 16-24 on Monday. Against NAIA opponents only, they were 16-14.
- Six Bulldogs have piled up at least 10 wins this season (see list below). Concordia is topped by the 19 from Burkhardt Jr. Francisco (10-1) boasts the team’s top winning percentage. Burkhardt Jr. has placed at all four tournaments that he has competed in. He took first at both the Doane and Grand View Opens, fourth at the Dakota Wesleyan Open and sixth at the UNK Open. Francisco (two), Burkhardt Jr. (two) and Nate Bennett (one) have each won at least one tournament title.
- Ken Burkhardt Jr. (197): 19-5
- Kodie Cole (133): 11-4
- Kolton Larsen (157): 11-9
- Alexander Reimers (197): 10-7
- Ceron Francisco (285): 10-1
- Darrin Miller (174): 10-10
- Burkhardt Jr. also paces the team with eight pins. Four teammates have at least five pins: DJ McIntyre (7), Deandre Cherry (6), Reimers (6) and Cole (5). McIntyre turned in one of the team’s most impressive wins in Oklahoma City with a pin of Campbellsville’s 16th-ranked Terrell Moore at the heavyweight spot. McIntyre (9-6) is on the cusp of reaching double figures in wins.
- Following the break for Christmas and New Year’s, Concordia is gearing up for this week’s prestigious National Duals in Fort Wayne, Ind., the hometown of Nicola. The event will play out on Thursday and Friday at the War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne. Last season the Bulldogs defeated Ottawa University (Kan.), No. 10 University of Great Falls (Mont.) and No. 14 Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.) on their way to a seventh-place finish at the National Duals. For more information on the event, click HERE.