Bulldog Weekly Report

Bulldog Weekly Report

Bulldog Athletes of the Week

Female: Katie Rich, basketball

Rich, a native of Tilden, Neb., tallied a combined 30 points, 14 rebounds and eight steals last week as Concordia split a pair of conference road games. The senior ranks third on the Bulldogs in scoring (11.4 ppg), rebounding (4.7 rpg) and in steals (2.68 spg).

Male: Brandon Starkey, wrestling

For the second-straight week, Starkey earns the male weekly honor. The native of St. Paul, Neb., scored an upset of No. 7 Zach Fishman of Northwestern at 165 on Jan. 17 by taking a 13-6 decision. Starkey, who normally wrestles at 157, led Concordia to a 24-19 GPAC dual victory over the Red Raiders.

CIT pep rally tonight:
A pep rally will be held tonight (Tuesday) at 10 p.m. inside Walz Arena to kick off CIT week here on campus. The rally has been formatted to appeal particularly to Concordia students and will bring attendees up to speed on what CIT is really all about.

CIT officially begins Friday: The 62nd annual Concordia Invitational Tournament begins Friday with the first game tipping off at 1 p.m. The Bulldog women will take the court at 6 p.m. vs. Concordia-Chicago. The Bulldog men will follow at 8 p.m., also against Concordia-Chicago. For more information on the event, click HERE. Check back later this week on ConcordiaBulldogs.com for a full preview of the event.

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.


  • The Bulldogs picked up their first GPAC dual victory on Jan. 17 in their only event of the week. Concordia defeated Northwestern 24-19 inside Walz Arena, thanks in part to Brandon Starkey’s upset of No. 7 Zach Fishman at 165. The Bulldogs won five of the seven contested matches as head coach Dana Vote picked up his first GPAC victory at the helm of the Bulldogs. Concordia got its second dual win overall with the first one coming on Dec. 15, 33-19, over Northwest Kansas Technical College.
  • Vote gave Starkey the option of wrestling at his more comfortable position of 157 or he could move up to 165 and take on the Red Raiders’ top grappler. The St. Paul, Neb., native chose to challenge Fishman and dominated with a 13-6 decision in which he fell just short of earning a major decision as the third period buzzer sounded.
  • Starkey recorded three takedowns each in the second and third periods after starting slow in the first period. He trailed 2-1 after the first period before taking a 7-4 lead after the second stanza. He now has a 15-10 mark on the season (best on the team) and owns 68 wins for his career – most of any wrestler in Bulldog history. He also has the school mark for most matches wrestled in a career with 122. Concordia wrestling began with the 2009-10 season.
  • “I can’t even explain how proud I am of how he wrestled tonight,” Vote said following the match. “It was probably the best match anyone on our team has wrestled all year. He just attacked, attacked. He broke the guy. He almost majored him at the end. It was domination.”
  • Concordia’s Alex Stepanek (141), Martin Dobler (149), Nick Sheppard (174), Kale Hintz (184) and Frank Ayala (Hwt.) also earned victories in the match versus Northwestern. Stepanek def. Nathan Manfull, 9-6; Dobler def. Roger Fender, 3-2; Sheppard def. Yutaka Rodriguez, 11-10; Hintz pinned Luis Rivera-Santiago, 4:48; Ayala won by forfeit.
  • Stepanek and Ayala, both with identical 15-15 records on the season, are tied with Brandon Starkey for the team wins lead. Stepanek has won both of his matches in Concordia’s first two GPAC duals. Ayala took a 6-4 decision over Briar Cliff’s Brian Ervin before getting a win due to the Red Raiders’ having an open weight at 285.
  • Hintz, a sophomore from Hebron, Neb., was the only wrestler for either team to record a pin in the Jan. 17 dual. Hintz edged in front 5-4 after the first period and then held a 9-6 lead late in the second period when he finished off Rivera-Santiago. Hintz now has four pins on the season, placing him fourth on the team behind Stepanek (6), Ayala (5) and Crane (5).
  • Hintz’s pin was the 32nd of the season for the Bulldogs as a team. Concordia has used 11 different wrestlers this season who have combined for a record of 89-130 (.406) with 10 tournament placements, six wins by major decision and one technical fall.
  • Vote’s Bulldogs now look forward to a rematch with No. 19 York on Thursday in York. The Panthers, then ranked 17th, came away with a 36-12 victory inside Walz Arena on Nov. 29. Ayala, Seth Crane and Austin Starkey all pulled out wins for Concordia. Austin Starkey provided the biggest excitement on the night when he upset then fourth-ranked Robert Eklund 6-4 at 157. York currently has five ranked wrestlers: No. 15 Oscar Marin (125); No. 7 Josh Lopez (141); No. 12 Nicholas Clarke (149); No. 12 Bradlee Carls (197); No. 9 Ray Johnson (Hwt.).
  • The Bulldogs will also be in action on Saturday at the Grand View Open, which gets underway at 9 a.m. in Des Moines, Iowa. Last year’s Grand View Open featured wrestlers from 24 different schools, including individuals representing NCAA Division I schools such as Iowa, Iowa State and Nebraska. Host Grand View is the top-ranked team in the NAIA. Live results will be available via TrackWrestling.com.
  • Concordia has five remaining duals – four of which are against GPAC opponents. The Bulldogs’ final dual will take place on Feb. 7 when Hastings visits Seward. Regionals will play out on Feb. 16 in Fremont, Neb.

Track and Field

  • Head coach Kregg Einspahr’s squad returned to action on Jan. 18 after over a month since hosting the season-opening Polar Dog Dual. The Bulldogs had many individuals enjoy standout performances at the Prairie Wolf Invite, which featured terrific competition. Individuals from 13 schools (GPAC rivals Doane, Dordt, Hastings, Midland and Nebraska Wesleyan, NCAA Division I Nebraska, Nebraska-Omaha and Wichita State, NCAA Division II Sioux Falls, Nebraska-Kearney and NCAA III Buena Vista, as well as NAIA Sterling) made up the field.
  • The Concordia men’s 4x400 meter relay shined once again as it topped a field of 14 other relay teams to take first place. The quartet of Jonathan Becker, Taiheem Pleasant, Benjamin Hinckfoot and John Cartier shaved nearly two full seconds off their time at the Polar Dog Dual, clocking in at 3:22.46 at the Prairie Wolf Invite. That time was less than two seconds off the NAIA automatic national qualifying mark.
  • Omaha native Colin Morrissey, the GPAC Cross Country Runner of the Year, ran well in both of his events at Nebraska Wesleyan. The senior came in first in the one mile run with a NAIA automatic qualifying time of 4:18.64, in front of second place Brock Taute (4:19.56) of Nebraska Wesleyan. Morrissey posted another automatic qualifying time when he clocked in at 8:39.06 in the 3,000 meter run, good enough for second place about 10 seconds behind Nebraska-Kearney’s Tanner Fruit.
  • Senior Jena Schwalenberg nearly matched Morrissey’s success on the women’s side. She finished second in the one mile run (5:12.55) and third in the 3,000 meter race (10:43.83). Her time in the one mile run was less than a second short of the NAIA automatic mark, but still registered as a NAIA “B” qualifying time.
  • A pair of throwers on the women’s side performed well at the Prairie Wolf Invite. Sophomore Brittany Erdmann improved her distance at the Polar Dog Dual in the shot put by almost a foot by hurling a toss of 43’ 8”, en route to a second place finish behind Hastings’ Abby Griffith. That measurement, like her effort at the Polar Dog Dual, is an NAIA automatic qualifying mark. Teammate Jamie Crouse came in at 10th in the shot put and fifth in the weight throw. The two-time All-American posted a mark of 40’ 9 ¾” in the shot put and a measurement of 51’ 7 ¼” in the weight throw.
  • Other top finishers for Concordia at the Prairie Wolf Invite included: Ashlee Brown (sixth in pole vault), John Cartier (third in 200 meter dash), Carson Farr (sixth in pole vault), Benjamin Hinchfoot (second in 600 meter run; fifth in 60 meter hurdles), Jared Hoffman (third in 800 meter run), Megan Letts (third in 800 meter run), Adam Prahlow (fourth in 1,000 meter run; fifth in one mile run), Ben Sievert (fourth in 3,000 meter run), Noah Smith (fifth in 60 meter dash).
  • Bulldogs on the NAIA national leaderboard: men’s 4x800 meter relay (first with 7:54.73); men’s distance medley (fourth with 10:23.93); Becker (fifth with 8.25 in 60 meter hurdles); Brown (10th with 11’ 3” in pole vault); Cartier (first with 49.15 in 400 meters); Stephanie Coley (fifth with 54’ 6” in weight throw); Crouse (first with 59’ 3 ½” in weight throw); 10th with 42’ 7 ½” in shot put); Erdmann (sixth with 43’ 8” in shot put); Nathan Ernstmeyer (sixth with 55’ 1 ½” in weight throw); Trey Farmer (14th with 50’ 2 ½” in shot put); Montana Hayes (eighth with 2,732 points in pentathlon); Morrissey (sixth with 8:40.22 in 3,000 meters, eighth with 4:19.44 in one mile run); Lydia Pomerenke (seventh with 2,787 points in pentathlon); Prahlow (ninth with 2:33.69 in 1,000 meters; 13th with 4:23.07 in one mile run); Jose Rojas (11th with 52’ 3 ¼” in shot put); Schwalenberg (sixth with 5:13.15 in one mile run); Kim Wood (14th with 1:38.71 in 600 meters).
  • CIT weekend will also feature the Concordia Classic hosted in the Fieldhouse on Sunday. The field events will get underway at 1:15 p.m. with running events to start at 2:30 p.m. Sunday’s schedule can be viewed HERE. Conference rivals Doane, Hastings, Midland and Nebraska Wesleyan are set to compete at the event. NAIA schools Bethany (Kan.) and York (Neb.) along with NCAA Division II Nebraska-Kearney and Northwest Missouri State will also participate.

Women’s Basketball

  • The second-ranked Bulldogs split a pair of games on the road over the past week. Concordia blew out Midland 80-49 on Jan. 16 before getting upset 72-61 at Dakota Wesleyan on Sunday. Head coach Drew Olson’s squad remains in the driver’s seat in the GPAC with an 11-2 league mark (18-2 overall). No. 4 Morningside (10-3) and No. 5 Briar Cliff (9-3) are hot on the Bulldogs’ heels.
  • Each of the top-three ranked teams in the NAIA Division II national poll lost once between Jan. 16 and Jan. 20. Top-ranked Indiana Wesleyan got upended 62-55 by No. 9 Saint Francis (Ind.) on Jan. 16. Two days later College of Saint Mary (Neb.), a team Concordia defeated 81-51 on Nov. 6, knocked off No. 3 College of the Ozarks (Mo.) 70-65. Then on Sunday the Bulldogs were upset by Dakota Wesleyan. No undefeated teams remain in NAIA Division II. Indiana Wesleyan (21-1) and No. 10 Davenport (Mich.) (20-1) are tied for the fewest losses in the nation with one apiece.
  • Sunday’s loss dropped the Bulldogs to No. 8 in the NAIA in the updated Massey Ratings. This ranking combines both divisions in the NAIA. Concordia entered the Dakota Wesleyan game at No. 3. The Bulldogs remain the highest-rated team in the GPAC, according to the computer rating, which favors Concordia in each of its remaining games.
  • Senior guard Katie Rich had one of her most productive weeks of the season with averages of 15.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 steals in the two games. She posted 18 points, seven rebounds and three steals in the victory at Midland. On the season she is averaging 11.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.68 steals (third in the GPAC, 29th in the nation) per contest.
  • Junior and Omaha native Kristen Conahan continued her torrid scoring against Midland this season. She dropped 22 points on 7-for-18 shooting in the win at Fremont on Jan. 16. In the first game against the Warriors, played on Nov. 27, the 5-foot-5 guard went over 1,000 career points with a career best 31 points in the 110-65 victory. She now has four games this season in which she she’s scored at least 20 points and eight such contests in her career.
  • Both Dawn Martin and Jericca Pearson started on Sunday for the first time this season. For Pearson it was the first start of the career, while Martin, a senior from Rockford, Ill., made her second career start. Pearson, a sophomore from Gibbon, Neb., nearly recorded her first career double-double at Dakota Wesleyan as she tallied 11 points and nine rebounds.
  • Concordia uncharacteristically shot a combined 11-for-50 (22 percent) from 3-point range in last week’s action. The Bulldogs rank second in the conference this season with 8.5 3-point field goals per game. Last season only one team in NAIA Division II made more triples than Concordia’s 297. Individually, Conahan’s 2.6 treys per contest are the 14th most in the nation.
  • Olson’s Bulldogs travel to Crete on Wednesday for their final conference game before CIT tips off on Friday. Concordia looks for a season sweep of Doane (5-16, 0-13 GPAC), team it defeated 66-53 in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Dec. 21. Though the Tigers have lost 16 games in a row, they have been competitive in several. They fell 78-71 at No. 4 Morningside in their most recent outing.
  • The Bulldogs will then turn their attention to CIT. They will play their first game at the event on Friday at 6 p.m. vs. Concordia-Chicago. Their next game will be on Saturday, either at 12 p.m. or 5 p.m. depending on the outcome of Friday’s contest. A complete CIT preview will be released on ConcordiaBulldogs.com on Thursday.

Men’s Basketball

  • The Bulldogs found life on the road in the GPAC unkind last week as they dropped a 91-64 decision at Midland on Jan. 16 prior to a 79-63 loss at Dakota Wesleyan on Sunday. Concordia, now 5-14 overall and 2-11 in GPAC action, will need to win at least four of its final seven conference games to leap back into the top eight of the league standings. The top eight teams advance to the conference tournament, beginning Feb. 20.
  • Senior Porter Bortell continued his deadly accuracy in the paint. He combined to make 9 of 12 attempts from the field in the two games to improve his season field goal percentage to 65.5. That figure ranks second in the GPAC to Midland’s Jerome Vaughn (69.2) and third among all players in NAIA Division II. The 6-foot-6 native of Madison, Neb., now sits at 1,390 career points. With an average of 14.3 points per game this season, Birtell is on track to eclipse 1,500 points before the conclusion of the regular season.
  • Robby Thomas, a freshman from Shawnee, Kan., played his best game as a Bulldog on Sunday. He put up career highs in points (9), rebounds (6) and minutes played (23) in the loss to Dakota Wesleyan. Thomas is averaging 2.4 points and 2.0 rebounds per contest in 14 games (two starts).
  • With 19 points on Sunday, senior Beau Smith set a season high for points in conference games this season. The native of McKinney, Texas, nailed 7 of 12 shots from the field, including a 3-for-5 effort from 3-point range. Smith’s 39.6 percent clip from beyond the arc leads the team.
  • With the Bulldogs struggling to knock down shots, senior forward Brent Houchin has picked up some of the slack with his ability to score inside. He tied a career high with 19 points versus Morningside on Jan. 12 and is averaging 12.7 points over the last three games. During that stretch he has converted 16 of 28 field goal attempts (57.1 percent).
  • Since missing his final three throw attempt on Jan. 2 versus Northwestern, sophomore guard Joel Haywood has drilled 11 straight from the charity stripe. On the season he is 45-for-51 (88.2 percent) from the free throw line. If not for falling just short of the 2.5 free throw makes per game qualification for the GPAC leaderboard, Haywood would be tied for the conference lead in free throw percentage.
  • Head coach Marty Kohlwey will take his team into action against a ranked opponent for the seventh time this season when the Bulldogs play at No. 17 Doane (20-3, 10-3 GPAC) on Wednesday at 8 p.m. The Tigers topped Concordia 77-67 on Dec. 12 in a game the Bulldogs trailed by just two points with under six minutes left. Doane sits in first place in the league standings.
  • Concordia will shift focus to the 62nd annual CIT event following the trip to Doane. The Bulldogs will host Concordia-Chicago at 8 p.m. on Friday. They will then play on Saturday at 2 p.m. or 7 p.m. pending the outcome of Friday’s contest. The Bulldogs won last year’s CIT championship in Ann Arbor, Mich.

22 January 2013

Alex Stepanek