Bulldogs to welcome Northwestern for senior day

By Jake Knabel on Jan. 30, 2018 in Wrestling

SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University wrestling program emerged from last week’s GPAC Duals in Sioux City, Iowa, still in the hunt for at least a share of the conference dual championship. In order for the Bulldogs to pull even atop the standings, they need to start with a win on Thursday over Northwestern and hope for Briar Cliff (6-1 GPAC) to get upended at Morningside on the same day. Second-year head coach Andrew Nicola’s squad owns dual records of 7-7 overall and 4-2 in conference action.

Thursday will be the final home appearance of the 2017-18 season for Concordia, which will welcome the Red Raiders (8-4, 4-1 GPAC) for a 7 p.m. CT start inside Walz Arena. The Bulldogs are looking to even up a home record that stands at 1-2 entering the week. Concordia will use the night to honor a senior class of nine as part of the lead in to Thursday’s dual. The action can be watched live on the Concordia Sports Network.

There were many encouraging steps taken at the GPAC Duals for the Bulldogs, who came up one win short of running the table at Briar Cliff. Concordia began the day by defeating Jamestown, 20-18, Doane, 30-9, and Hastings, 27-18. Only a 33-14 defeat at the hands of the Chargers prevented the Bulldogs from a perfect day in Sioux City. Individually, Concordia won 21 matches over the four duals. At 125, Jerry Stepps III went 4-0 with two wins over opponents ranked above him in the conference ratings.

Many lineup decisions are still to be made for Nicola, who has moved wrestlers around to avoid having open weights in recent action. Cam Devers (141/149), Chris Kimball (141/149), Darrin Miller (184/197) and Josh Nelsen (184/197) have given Nicola some flexibility in dual meets. The Bulldogs are also happy to return Giovanni Castillo and Keanu Tom from injuries. Jon Lado may also appear on Thursday.

Northwestern possesses seventh ranked wrestlers at the conference level, including three with national rankings: No. 13 Dante Preciado (149), No. 16 Brandon Shuler (174) and No. 13 Nick Null (197). The Red Raiders suffered their first conference loss last week at Midland, 32-15. As part of the conference duals in Fremont, Northwestern also defeated Dakota Wesleyan, 42-6, and clipped Morningside, 21-20.

Bulldogs to be honored on senior day include Castillo (Ontario, Calif.), Michael Duffy (Kennesaw, Neb.), Victor Haro (Tucson, Ariz.), Kirk Kaliszewski (Ramona, Calif.), Lado (Gloucester City, N.J.), Kolton Larsen (Lincoln, Neb.), Stepps III (St. Louis, Mo.), Jared Woods (Durant, Okla.) and Anthony Zepeda (West Covina, Calif.).

Only two other dates remain on the schedule prior to the GPAC championships (Feb. 17). Concordia will be in Sioux City on Feb. 3 for a dual at Morningside and then again for the Morningside Open on Feb. 8.

Projected lineups

Concordia
125 – Jerry Stepps III (15-15)
133 – Giovanni Castillo (7-3)
141 – Cam Devers (22-7) / Chris Kimball (13-14)
149 – Cam Devers (22-7) / Chris Kimball (13-14)
157 – Keanu Tom (5-9) / Jared Woods (15-14)
165 – Chucky Hedrick (9-9) / Jon Lado (10-5)
174 – Deandre Chery(21-12) / Walker Fisher (20-8)
184 – Darrin Miller (20-14) / Josh Nelsen (21-12)
197 – Darrin Miller (20-14) / Josh Nelsen (21-12)
285 – Michael Duffy (7-8)

Northwestern
125 – Sam Klarenbeek
133 – Cole Mills
141 – Elijah Dahl
149 – Dante Preciado
157 – Dan Zeleny
165 – Andrew Null
174 – Brandon Shuler
184 – Brock Brenneman / D’rell Gist
197 – Nick Null
285 – Victor Garcia / Isaac Ruiz

In the rankings

GR = GPAC rank; NR = National rank

Concordia
125 – Jerry Stepps III: GR: 6
133 – Giovanni Castillo: GR: 3 | NR: 9
141 – Cam Devers: GR: 6
165 – Jon Lado: GR: 1 | NR: 12
165 – Chucky Hedrick: GR: 5
174 – Walker Fisher: GR: 4 | NR: 20
174 – Deandre Chery: GR: 5
184 – Josh Nelsen: GR: 3 | NR: 11

Northwestern
133 – Jacob Hergott: GR: 5
149 – Dante Preciado: GR: 3 | NR: 13
157 – Dan Zeleny: GR: 4
165 – Andrew Null: GR: 4
174 – Brandon Shuler: GR: 2 | NR: 16
184 – D’rell Gist: GR: 4
197 – Nick Null: GR: 1 | NR: 13