PLEASANT HILL, Iowa – Sophomore Cameron Devers continued a strong early season run while competing as one of 20 Bulldogs at the Grand View University Open in Pleasant Hill, Iowa, on Saturday (Nov. 11). Devers and company combined for 31 victories and five place finishes in a tournament format that included a freshman/sophomore division and an open division.
This event marked the second time out for second-year head coach Andrew Nicola’s 16th-ranked squad. Twenty-three Concordia grapplers entered the fray at last week’s Dan Harris Open at Baker University (Kan.). The loaded Grand View Open provides a nice early measuring stick.
“It was definitely very good competition and an eye opener to let us know where we’re at and what we need to continue to work on,” Nicola said. “It boils down to fixing the things we need to work on every week. There were some things that we specifically went over this week that we were making mistakes on last week. We scored a lot of points on those particular moves and positions.”
Concordia’s five place finishers were Darin Miller (second at 184 fresh/soph), Devers (third at 141 fresh/soph), Cody Lambert (fifth at 149 fresh/soph), Cyrus Marshall (fifth at 184 fresh/soph) and Anthony Zepeda (fifth at 174 open). Lambert led the way with five wins on the day. The aforementioned group of five totaled 18 victories collectively.
A sophomore from Holly Springs, N.C., Devers is improving by leaps and bounds. At 8-1 this season, Devers has nearly matched his win total as a freshman when he went 8-11 overall. His only defeat of the day came by a narrow 5-3 decision. He finished his tournament with victories over a pair of Iowa Central Community College opponents.
“Cam wrestled with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder those final two matches,” Nicola said. “He went against very good athletes and wrestlers. He’s just a hard worker. He works hard in the classroom and in the wrestling room and he listens. It makes it fun and easy to coach.”
Nicola also made mention of Miller, who won three of his four bouts at 184 pounds with the lone loss coming in the championship match in the freshman/sophomore division. Miller even picked up a victory over the University of Northern Iowa’s Justin Guilliams. Additionally, solid days were turned in by Blake Castillo (3-2 at 174) and Tyler Jorgensen (2-2 at 174). Added Nicola, “Cody Lambert is wrestling lights out.”
Concordia’s three returning national qualifiers – Kirk Kaliszewski (165), Josh Nelsen (184) and Alexander Reimers (197) all got after it in the open division. While they combined for three total wins, there’s plenty of potential amongst the group. Nelsen turned in a 5-3 decision over Trevor Nicholson of the University of Nebraska.
Some key members of the roster did not compete at Grand View, such as Giovanni Castillo (133), Chris Kimball (149) and Keanu Tom (157). All three are expected back for next Saturday’s (Nov. 18) University of Nebraska-Kearney Open. “It will be a fun one at UNK,” Nicola said. “We should be back at full force for one final tune up before getting the dual season started with Dakota Wesleyan (Nov. 30).”