Bulldog Athletic Association Athletes of the Week
*Winners were voted upon for their performances since the most recent Bulldog Athletic Association Member meeting on Dec. 17.
Female: Riley Sibbel, Basketball
A senior from O’Neill, Neb., Sibbel enjoyed the best offensive week of her career early in January when she put up 15 points and then 16 points in back-to-back wins over No. 12 Northwestern and No. 6 Dordt. As a result, Sibbel was named the GPAC Player of the Week. She is averaging 8.0 points and 2.2 steals this season.
Male: Tanner Shuck, Basketball
A senior from Grand Island, Neb., Shuck garnered GPAC Player of the Week accolades after helping lead the Bulldogs on an active six-game winning streak. In last week’s action, Shuck put up a combined 39 points and 14 rebounds while shooting 58.3 percent from the floor. He has scored 1,346 points in his college career.
2019-20 BAAM Athletes of the Week
Dec. 17 – Gavin DeHaai (track & field) / Kennedy Mogul (track & field)
Dec. 10 – Issiah Burks (wrestling) / Emmie Noyd (volleyball)
Dec. 3 – Mario Ybarra (wrestling) / Kylahn Heritage (cross country)
Nov. 19 – Carter Kent (basketball) / Kara Stark (volleyball)
Nov. 12 – Mario Ybarra (wrestling) / Kylahn Heritage (cross country)
Nov. 5 – Carter Kent (basketball) / Delani Fahey (basketball)
Oct. 29 – Brevin Sloup (basketball) / Kylahn Heritage (cross country)
Oct. 22 – Camryn Opfer (volleyball)
Oct. 15 – Lane Napier (football) / Marissa Hoerman (volleyball)
Oct. 8 – Caleb Goldsmith (soccer) / Tara Callahan (volleyball)
Oct. 1 – AJ Jenkins (football) / Rebekah Hinrichs (cross country)
Sept. 24 – Derek Tachovsky (football) / Kendra Placke (golf)
Sept. 17 – Moises Jacobo (soccer) / Kara Stark (volleyball)
Sept. 10 – Carlos Orquiz (soccer) / Amie Martin (cross country)
Sept. 3 – Eduardo Alba (soccer) / Emmie Noyd (volleyball)
2019-20 BAAM Athletes of the Month
November – Carter Kent (basketball) / Kara Stark (volleyball)
October – Tara Callahan (volleyball) / Lane Napier (football)
September – Derek Tachovsky (football) / Emmie Noyd (volleyball)
News and notes:
69th annual CIT coming up Jan. 24-25: The 69th annual Concordia Invitational Tournament is coming up Jan. 24-25 and will be hosted by Concordia University, Chicago. The event features eight basketball games as well as cheer and dance competitions. Pre-sale tickets can be purchased at a cost of $15 by clicking HERE. Tickets can also be bought on-site at Geiseman Gymnasium in River Forest, Ill.
Natural leader Cornelio primed for big senior season: Jacob Cornelio enters his senior hopeful of adding his name to the long list of throws national champions at Concordia. However, the native of Elk Grove, Calif., is so much more than his credentials. As throws coach Ed McLaughlin explains, “He has a confidence about him that other people feed off of.” A national runner up last year in the weight throw, Cornelio is eyeing big things in 2020. For more on Cornelio, click HERE.
Wurdeman accepts NAIA Hall of Fame honor: Former Concordia All-American tight end and home run hitter Ross Wurdeman made his way to Nashville, Tenn., this past Sunday to accept his place in the NAIA Hall of Fame. Nashville is the site of the American Football Coaches Association Convention. Wurdeman became the fourth Bulldog to be enshrined by the NAIA, joining Carol (Bailey) Moravec, Gene Brooks and Kregg Einspahr.
Preseason polls released for baseball/softball: Last week the GPAC unveiled its preseason coaches’ polls for baseball and softball. Head coach Ryan Dupic’s defending conference champion baseball squad landed at No. 1 in the poll while head coach Shawn Semler’s softball team slotted in at No. 4. For additional details, check out the links below.
-GPAC baseball poll
-GPAC softball poll
Gene Faszholz chosen for Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame: Already a member of the Concordia Athletic Hall of Fame, Eugene “Gene” Faszholz will take his place in the Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame as one of seven 2020 inductees. The announcement was made by the Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame in late 2019 and an induction ceremony is set to be held in Beatrice on Feb. 9. For more on Faszholz, click HERE.
Bulldog Coaches Show airs every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. CT: The Bulldog Coaches Show is underway in its fourth year of existence. The show airs live for a half hour every Thursday beginning at 5:30 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 Max Country app. Throughout the 2018-19 season, Bulldog football, men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball contests will be aired live on Max Country. Tyler Cavalli serves as the host of the coaches’ show as well as the play-by-play voice for football and basketball. Frank Greene is in his fourth season calling Concordia volleyball.
Concordia Sports Network: Live webcasts for most home varsity contests can be accessed by visiting https://www.cune.edu/athletics/watch-bulldogs at game time. Beginning in 2019-20, Concordia Athletics is partnering with PrestoSports for live video and statistical streaming. For more details on this change, click HERE. Check team schedules/results pages for webcast dates. Scrimmages, exhibitions and junior varsity events are not broadcasted.
· The Bulldogs now know for certain they have a worthy adversary when it comes to the race for the GPAC regular-season title. Concordia had won each of its last 17 games against GPAC opponents until tripping up, 66-59, at fourth-ranked Hastings on Jan. 8. At least for now, the Broncos have sole possession of first place at 10-0 in the GPAC. The Bulldogs then bounced back with a 105-56 blowout of Jamestown on Jan. 11. Fourteenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad is now 15-2 overall and 10-1 in conference play. For more information on Concordia women’s basketball, click HERE.
· It would have been asking a lot to expect the Bulldogs to run through conference play without suffering a single loss. No team has gone unbeaten in GPAC regular-season action since Morningside went 20-0 during the 2014-15 campaign. That Mustang squad wound up falling to Concordia in the GPAC tournament championship game. Over the past few years, the Bulldogs have been about as close to perfection as it gets. Since the beginning of the 2016-17 campaign, Concordia has a combined mark of 67-6 in conference regular-season play. The program has also won three-straight GPAC tournaments.
· Over the second half of this season, don’t forget to appreciate Philly Lammers, whose collegiate career is beginning to wind down. The Millard West High School product will go down as one of the program’s all-time greats. This past Saturday, Lammers moved past Sarah Harrison (1,800 career points) for No. 2 on the school’s career scoring list. She now has 1,812 points, putting her behind only Bailey Morris (2,054). Also on the all-time lists, Lammers ranks fourth in rebounds (946) and fifth in steals (314). She is the only player in program history to be named to either a first/second/third team All-American three-straight years.
· The formula was a bit out of whack at Hastings. Concordia was a rough 10-for-23 from the foul line and had a minus-eight turnover margin. The Bulldogs often overwhelm their opponents in the turnover category. They continue to rank No. 1 nationally with an average turnover margin of +15.8. Through 17 games, Concordia opponents are averaging 32.6 turnovers per game. The Bulldogs looked more like themselves against Jamestown, which committed 38 turnovers and shot only 31.1 percent from the floor.
· Some of the things mentioned above about Lammers could also be said about Grace Barry, who is in her final season of eligibility. With Taylor Cockerill sidelined this season by injury, Barry has had to take ownership of an increased role as a scorer. The Lincoln East High School product has bumped her scoring average from 11.5 last season to 13.1 this season. She remains an elite distributor, as her career assist-to-turnover figures of 312 to 139 would attest. Barry currently ranks in the top 10 nationally in both steals (3.53) and assists (5.65) per game.
· Also a Millard West alum, freshman Taylor Farrell has been impressive in her role coming off the bench. In the win over Jamestown, Farrell went 5-for-6 from 3-point range while equaling a career high with 18 points. Her offensive efficiency numbers this season are off the charts. She has scored 118 points in 139 minutes of playing time and has averaged 7.9 points per game. Farrell is shooting 52.1 percent (25-for-48) from 3-point range and 59.7 percent (43-for-72) overall.
· Concordia has not messed around against inferior opponents. It has now reached the 100-point mark eight times this season after thrashing Jamestown. The Bulldogs had not hit that mark since the 100-72 victory over Dakota Wesleyan on Dec. 7. Concordia ranks second nationally with an average of 94.7 points per game. It also ranks No. 2 among NAIA Division II squads with an average scoring margin of +33.6.
· It seems likely that Hastings will rise to the No. 1 spot in the national poll that will be released on Wednesday. It’s worth noting that the Bulldogs also dropped back from the top spot during the middle of last season’s national championship campaign. After 17 games, Concordia was also 15-2 last season and was ranked No. 2 in the first poll of the 2019 calendar year. The Bulldogs eventually regained the top ranking on Jan. 22 and held it for the remainder of the season. In other words, the program has spent nearly a full year at No. 1.
· Concordia faces a couple of road tests within the GPAC this week. Up next is Wednesday’s 6 p.m. CT contest at College of Saint Mary (5-13, 2-9 GPAC). The Bulldogs will also be at Briar Cliff (5-13, 2-8 GPAC) for a 2 p.m. tipoff on Saturday. Concordia played these two opponents back-to-back at home in November and won handily, 113-59 over Briar Cliff and 127-51 over College of Saint Mary. The 127 points are a school record for a single game.
· “Hotter than fish grease” are the words Concordia play-by-play voice Tyler Cavalli used to describe the current state of this team. That is certainly an accurate depiction for these Bulldogs, who are now riding a six-game winning streak. The roll continued last week when Concordia won at Hastings, 83-62, on Jan. 8 and then protected the home court with an 86-74 victory over Jamestown. The program has not hosted a conference tournament game since 2011, but it now appears to be in the running at 6-4 in conference play (tied for fourth). Head coach Ben Limback’s squad is 13-5 overall. For more information on Bulldog men’s basketball, click HERE.
· The six-game win streak is the first of that length for the program since the 2016-17 team accomplished the feat in January/February of that season. To find a win streak longer than six, you have to go back to the 2009-10 season that saw Concordia win nine-straight contests under then head coach Grant Schmidt. In addition, the 13-5 mark represents the program’s best record after 18 games since the 2008-09 team had the same record at this point in the season. Going back a bit farther, the 2004-05 national runner up squad was 16-2 after 18 games.
· The offensive efficiency of this squad during the win streak has been striking – particularly in the last five games. Each of the past five games have been won by double-digit margins. Over that five-game stretch, Concordia has averaged 91.4 points and has allowed 68.0 points per game. During that same period, sophomore Carter Kent has averaged 19.6 points and has shot 53.4 percent (31-for-58) from the floor. As a team, the Bulldogs have shot 42.1 percent (64-for-152) from 3-point range.
· The revival of Tanner Shuck’s shooting stroke has also been critical. His week was a tremendous one. He collected 13 points, seven rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot at Hastings and then posted a season high 26 points to go along with seven rebounds and three steals versus Jamestown. Over the past three outings, Shuck has gone 8-for-18 (.444) from 3-point range while returning to form. Shuck has also moved into a tie for 13th on the program’s all-time scoring list with 1,346 career points. With 61 more points, Shuck would move himself into the top 10 on a list that is chock full of Concordia Athletic Hall of Famers.
· He’ll have to have a big game, but it is possible that Brevin Sloup could join Shuck in the 1,000-point club this Saturday (just one game this week). Sloup posted 15 points at Hastings and 14 more versus Jamestown to run his career total to 973 points. As it stands currently, there are 30 players in the history of the program that have reached quadruple digits. That group even includes current Bulldog head basketball coaches Ben Limback (1,158) and Drew Olson (1,123) as well as Director of Athletics Devin Smith (1,659).
· Concordia went through an offensive lull during a four-game skid that immediately preceded the current six-game win streak. The major reversal has been quite stunning. When they are on their game, the Bulldogs can present plenty of matchup problems with their wealth of perimeter shooters. Like Shuck, Sam Scarpelli also has his mojo back. Last week he went 9-for-19 (.473) from beyond the arc. Add Justin Wiersema to the mix along with Kent, Scarpelli, Shuck and Sloup and Concordia essentially has five players with the green light to shoot from long range at any time. The Bulldogs have made at least 10 3-point field goals in five-straight games.
· If Concordia can maintain its high level of play, it will have a chance to fly by the high water mark of 10 GPAC wins in a season during Limback’s tenure, which began with the 2013-14 season. The 2009-10 squad that went 12-6 within the conference was the program’s most recent one to surpass 10 GPAC victories in a season. That team hosted Briar Cliff in the GPAC quarterfinals and lost. A drought the program would like to put to an end is the one that pertains to the postseason. The Bulldogs last won a GPAC tournament game in 2009.
· The conference and national rankings are getting a shake up this week after the NAIA had gone since early in December without unveiling new ratings. Back on Dec. 9, the top six teams in the GPAC appeared in the official ratings. Concordia was not in that top six – but times have changed. The Bulldogs are now in there at tied with Dordt at No. 4 behind Morningside, Dakota Wesleyan and Mount Marty. That spot may be enough to have Concordia receiving votes nationally by Wednesday.
· The Bulldogs have a bye in the middle of this week. That means the focus is on Saturday’s 4 p.m. CT contest at Briar Cliff (11-8, 2-7 GPAC). The two squads have turned in dramatically different directions since they met inside Walz Arena on Nov. 16. That matchup finished in heartbreak for Concordia when Nick Hoyt drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Chargers a 70-69 win. The Bulldogs have not won at Briar Cliff since Feb. 26, 2009.
· An extended break in the schedule ended on Jan. 9 when the 18th-ranked Bulldogs toppled Ottawa University (Kan.), 24-15, in a home dual. A group of 12 Concordia competitors were also in action at the Hastings College Cusatis Open on Jan. 11 and emerged with a combined 20 wins. Prior to Jan. 9, the Bulldogs had not been in action since going 2-2 at the Desert Duals Classic in Las Vegas on Dec. 22. Second-year head coach Levi Calhoun’s squad is now 6-2 overall (3-0 GPAC) in duals. For more information on Concordia wrestling, click HERE.
· It’s safe to say there is increased interest in Bulldog wrestling from around the state of Nebraska with Tanner Farmer joining the team for the second semester. The former Cornhusker football player started 30 games as an offensive lineman at Nebraska. Farmer began his connection with Concordia this past fall when he served as a volunteer assistant football coach. Now Farmer is working hard in an effort to round into shape and perhaps even compete for a heavyweight national championship. He was a two-time state champion in Illinois while at Highland High School.
· There’s work to be done if Farmer is to achieve the lofty goal of winning a national title, but he’s off to a solid start as a collegiate wrestler. In the dual versus Ottawa, Farmer eked out a 3-2 win over 20th-ranked Lexington Plummer with the help of riding time. Two days later, Farmer appeared to make big improvements already while winning the 285-pound title at the Cusatis Open. In the championship match, Farmer defeated Nebraska’s David Jensen, who qualified for the NCAA Division I national championships in 2019. Farmer also picked his first career pin and ran his record to 4-0.
· Under Calhoun, Concordia has put together a sparkling 15-6 mark in dual meets. Calhoun has also guided the program to a record of 10-1 against GPAC opponents with the only defeat coming last season at the hands of Morningside. The Bulldogs were able to avenge that loss by beating Morningside, 23-16, in Sioux City, Iowa, on Dec. 5. Concordia also owns conference wins this season over Northwestern and Midland. Since the start of the 2014-15 season, the Bulldogs are 36-4 in conference duals.
· Concordia claimed seven match victories in the dual versus Ottawa. In addition to Farmer’s victory at 285, the Bulldogs got wins from Giancarlo Facio (major decision at 125), Zack Moistner (decision at 141), Cameron Devers (technical fall at 149), Gabe Crawford (decision at 157), Issiah Burks (decision at 165) and Darrin Miller (decision at 184). Crawford’s win was especially noteworthy with it coming over 10th-ranked Ryan Delforge of the Braves. Crawford rallied to win after trailing 9-4 at the end of two periods. The Bulldogs won the dual despite some notable absences from the lineup such as Mario Ybarra (125), Chris Kimball (141) and Deandre Chery (174).
· New national rankings will be unveiled on Thursday. Farmer will likely jump into the mix at heavyweight. In the most recent NAIA national rankings released on Jan. 3, Concordia boasted six ranked individuals: Ybarra (14th at 125), Moistner (18th at 133), Kimball (16th at 141), Chery (ninth at 174), Darrin Miller (16th at 184) and Michael Stann (17th at 285). From a conference perspective, Concordia continues to rank atop the GPAC. A dozen Bulldogs are ranked in the top six of their respective weight classes on the conference level.
· An injury has robbed Devers of some of his senior season, but he appears to be back to form now. The native of Holly Springs, N.C., dominated his Ottawa opponent and then proceeded to win each of his first three matches by pin at the Cusatis Open. Devers was denied a spot in the 149-pound championship match by Nebraska’s Kevon Davenport. Devers was one of three Bulldogs with three victories on the day. Burks also picked up a trio of wins (two via pin) while competing at 165. Senior Blake Castillo (174), freshman Brandon Gonzalez (149) and sophomore Bryan McGahan (197) notched two wins apiece. Gonzalez turned in two pins while Castillo recorded one. Eleven of the dozen Concordia grapplers emerged with at least one victory at the tournament.
· The Missouri Valley Invite will provide a significant test this weekend. The event, which takes place in Marshall, Mo., annually features many of the NAIA’s top programs. In essence, the tournament serves as a preview of the national tournament. The Bulldogs also have the GPAC duals coming up in Crete, Neb., on Jan. 25 when they will take on four conference opponents on that single date.
Track & Field
· The indoor season officially got started in the month of December for the first time since 2012. While hosting the Concordia Early Bird Meet the weekend of Dec. 13-14, Bulldog athletes combined for nine automatic national qualifying marks, 13 ‘B’ standard qualifying marks and three totals in the multi-events that met the minimum qualifying standard and one school record was broken courtesy of sophomore Rachel Battershell. This marks Matt Biesel’s fourth season as head coach at Concordia. For more on Bulldog track and field, click HERE.
· Both the men’s and women’s teams have been ascending over the past few seasons. For just the second time in school history, the Concordia women swept conference titles by winning the 2019 indoor and outdoor GPAC championship meets. Led by the likes of three-time shot put national champion Samantha Liermann, the Bulldogs posted 2019 national finishes of ninth for indoor and fifth for outdoor. Meanwhile, the men turned in GPAC placements last year of second for indoor and third for outdoor. They took ninth place at the 2019 NAIA indoor national meet.
· The nine automatic national marks that were recorded at the Early Bird Meet came from eight different individuals. Senior Adrianna Shaw qualified for nationals in both throwing events with marks of 45’ 11 ¼” in the shot put and 60’ 5 ¼” in the weight throw. The other automatic qualifiers were Allie Brooks (pole vault), Jacob Cornelio (weight throw), Morgan De Jong (weight throw), Gavin DeHaai (pole vault), Liam Hennessy (weight throw), Josie Puelz (pole vault) and Cody Williams (pole vault). All ‘A’ and ‘B’ standard marks produced by Concordia athletes can be viewed below.
· The following Bulldogs notched marks at the Early Bird Meet that appear on the NAIA national list:
o Andy Amos – B, weight throw (54’ 10 ¼”)
o Rachel Battershell – B, 400 meters (59.22); B, 60 meter hurdles (9.02)
o Taylor Beck – B, triple jump (B, 46’ 3 ½”)
o Allie Brooks – A, pole vault (11’ 10 ½”)
o Jacob Cornelio – A, weight throw (64’ 8 ¾”)
o Morgan De Jong – A, weight throw (54’ 8”)
o Gavin DeHaai – A, pole vault (16’ 4 ¾”)
o McKenzie Gravo – B, pole vault (11’ 2 ½”)
o Liam Hennessy – A, weight throw (56’ 7 ½”)
o Kylahn Heritage – B, mile (5:13.84)
o Samuel Joseph – B, triple jump (46’ 4”)
o Wyatt Loga – B, high jump (6’ 7”)
o Emily Loy – No. 4 in NAIA with 3,109 points in pentathlon
o Kennedy Mogul – B, 60 meter hurdles (9.14); No. 1 in NAIA with 3,341 points in pentathlon
o Jerod Peters – B, shot put (51’ 5 ¾”)
o Tucker Platt – B, pole vault (15’ 3”)
o Josie Puelz – A, pole vault (12’ 6 ¼”)
o Adrianna Shaw – A, shot put (45’ 11 ¼”); A, weight throw (60’ 5 ¼”)
o Sam Sisco – pole vault (15’ 3”)
o Cody Williams – A, pole vault (15’ 7”); B, high jump (6’ 7 ½”); No. 2 in NAIA with 5,195 points in heptathlon
· Concordia has the potential to score big points at conference and nationals in the pole vault with a deep and talented group on both sides. Freshman Josie Puelz did not waste any time in beginning her career with a national qualifying clearance of 12’ 6 ¼,” which places her No. 2 on the program’s all-time indoor pole vault list. She also took a shot at the school record held by Allie Brooks and came up just short. Freshmen like Puelz and Chase Berry add to an already accomplished crew. Brooks, Gavin DeHaai, McKenzie Gravo, Erin Mapson, Jordan (Mosier) Metzger, Jacee Pfeifer and Cody Williams have each been All-Americans in the past. DeHaai turned in a personal best clearance of 16’ 5” at the Early Bird.
· It’s very early, but senior Jacob Cornelio is the current national leader in the weight throw. His Early Bird toss of 64’ 8 ¾” was not far off the mark he had at last year’s NAIA indoor national championships when he was the runner up in the event. Winning a national title is about the only thing the native of Elk Grove, Calif., hasn’t accomplished in his career. Cornelio is the reigning GPAC champion in the weight throw and the hammer throw. He ranks No. 2 on the school’s all-time weight throw list behind only Cody Boellstorff (69’ 9”).
· The women’s 60 meter hurdle school record was actually broken twice at the Early Bird. The record was formerly held by Monique Odom, who clocked a time of 9.16 in 1987. Junior Kennedy Mogul came in under that time at 9.14 as part of her run through the pentathlon on Dec. 13. The next day, Battershell finished in 9.02 while running in the prelims. Battershell also ranks second in school history in the 400 meters (personal best is 57.28).
· Williams is going to be quite busy again this indoor season while putting his talents to use in a variety of events. His automatic mark in the pole vault occurred as part of his efforts in the pentathlon. His total of 5,195 in the heptathlon is just shy of the 5,231 points he accumulated at the 2019 NAIA indoor meet when he was the runner up. Williams was also the 2019 GPAC Outdoor Athlete of the Year for earning the most team points at the conference meet.
· The season had been put on hold for Christmas break at Concordia. The action will pick back up this weekend (Jan. 17-18) with the Scott Nisely Invite at Doane and the Graduate Classic at the University of Nebraska. The next home meet will be the Polar Dog Invite on Jan. 25.