SEWARD, Neb. – Winner of three-straight GPAC championships, the Concordia University wrestling program is set to be in action on 21 dates throughout the 2017-18 season. The upcoming winter slate for second-year head coach Andrew Nicola’s squad was officially revealed on Wednesday (June 21). The season will begin with the Dan Harris Open hosted by Baker University on Nov. 5.
In Nicola’s first season at the helm of the program, the Bulldogs defended their GPAC dual and postseason titles and then placed 15th at the NAIA national championships. In dual action, Concordia went 11-4, including a perfect 7-0 against GPAC opponents. The Bulldogs will enter 2017-18 with an active GPAC dual win streak of 21.
This year’s slate will include seven open tournaments in addition to the prestigious Missouri Valley College Invite (Jan. 19-20). Concordia will again compete at the Oklahoma City University Duals (Dec. 17) and the NWCA National Duals in Fort Wayne, Ind., on Jan. 5-6. Schedules for the Oklahoma City Duals and National Duals are to be announced. Nicola and the program have already accepted an invite to National Duals.
Concordia will put its GPAC win streak on the line on Nov. 30 when it welcomes Dakota Wesleyan for a conference and home opening dual inside Walz Arena. The Bulldogs will host four duals in Seward, including their much-anticipated matchup with Midland on Jan. 12. Then on Jan. 27, Concordia will tackle a pivotal day that will include four conference duals in Sioux City, Iowa. Included among those four opponents will be new GPAC member Jamestown.
Hastings will be this season’s host for the NAIA North Qualifier/GPAC Championships, which will unfold on Feb. 18. After four-consecutive seasons in Topeka, Kan., the NAIA National Championships will shift to the Jacobson Exhibition Center in Des Moines, Iowa. The 2018 national championships are set for March 2-3. Des Moines has been awarded the championship event for 2018 and 2019.
Nicola’s second Bulldog team will have a different look after the departures of three-time All-American Ken Burkhardt Jr., heavyweight national runner up Ceron Francisco and the rest of an accomplished senior class. Concordia will bring back three 2017 national qualifiers: Kirk Kaliszewski (165), Josh Nelsen (184) and Alexander Reimers (197).