SEWARD, Neb. – A pin in the final bout of the night silenced the crowd at Walz Arena and lifted visiting Northwest Kansas Technical College to a 23-21 win over the 17th-ranked Concordia University wrestling team on Friday (Dec. 8). The Bulldogs and Mavericks split the 10 matches, but the home team surrendered too many bonus points to sustain their winning streak inside Walz.
Second-year head coach Andrew Nicola’s squad is now 1-1 in dual meets. Concordia received a much bigger test this time around than the one it faced last week. The result was a 55-0 victory over Dakota Wesleyan. Nicola had a long chat with his team following Friday’s dual.
“Just like last week, we talked about positions that we’re getting beat on,” Nicola said. “Laying on your belly is never going to work. Attacking the bottom hand when a guy has a claw or a half is never going to work. At the end of the day, you just can’t give up bonus points. I came in thinking it might be close with us winning six and them winning four. We ended up splitting five and five. It comes down to bonus points.”
The night got off to a promising start at 174 pounds. That’s where junior Walker Fisher brought the Walz crowd to its feet with a pin in the closing seconds of the third period in what had been a tightly contested bout. The Bulldogs also got bonus points at 197 via an Alexander Reimers triumph by technical fall and at 141 with Cam Devers’ 12-4 win by major decision. A sophomore from Holly Springs, N.C., Devers is now 10-1 overall this season.
Concordia appeared in good position to claim the dual win after Cody Lambert (149) and Victor Haro (157) posted victories by decision to put the home team up 21-17 with only one match remaining. Lambert fought back to beat Sam Colvin, 9-7, in sudden victory. Haro then came close to a pin in the first period, but settled for a 6-2 win over Caleb Mendez.
As Nicola points out, the dual wasn’t lost solely because of the final match. The Bulldogs let opportunities at 133 and 184 slip through their fingers. That meant the burden was on Kirk Kaliszewski at 165. He played with fire the entire bout in which he also recorded three takedowns and two near fall points. Kaliszewski narrowly avoided a first period pin, but he couldn’t do the same in the third. He was nailed to the mat at the 5:53 mark by Nartorian Lee, causing the Northwest Kansas Tech bench to erupt.
The Mavericks (4-3) entered the night ranked 13th at the National Junior College Athletic Association level. Head coach Michael Sebaaly’s squad features the top-rated JUCO heavyweight in Odgerel Batkhishig, who pinned Concordia’s Michael Duffy in 1:39. At 133, Northwest Kansas Tech’s fifth-ranked Munhbat Baterdene topped No. 10 Giovanni Castillo, 7-2. The Mavericks put an end to what had been a run of 13-straight dual wins at home for the Bulldogs.
The good news is that Nicola’s bunch will have a quick turnaround. Members of the Bulldogs, starters included, will be back on the mats on Saturday for the Doane University Open. Action from Crete is scheduled to get underway at 9 a.m. CT. Concordia will be wrestling in its fifth tournament of the 2017-18 campaign.
Said Nicola, “We get back to work at Doane tomorrow and then in the room on Monday.”