SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University wrestling team emerged from last week’s GPAC championships already knowing that a handful of its grapplers would be headed to Des Moines, Iowa, for the 2019 NAIA Wrestling National Championships. On Tuesday (Feb. 19), the NAIA officially announced five Bulldogs as national qualifiers. That total is the second highest among GPAC competitors.
Of Concordia’s five qualifiers, only junior Deandre Chery has prior experience on the NAIA national stage. Senior Alberto Garcia (133), junior Zack Moistner (133), senior Walker Fisher (174) and freshman Michael Stann (285) will each make their first career appearances at the national tournament. All five Bulldogs earned their bids to nationals via automatic qualification. Chery won the 174-pound GPAC title while Fisher and Stann were both runners up. Garcia placed third while Moistner placed fourth.
Automatic berths were determined by using the final regular-season coaches’ poll. The GPAC received 22 automatic bids based on that poll. The conference was also awarded three wild cards and one national at-large. The entire NAIA qualifying field is complete with 240 wrestlers. Preliminary brackets will be announced on Friday by the NAIA.
Head coach Levi Calhoun’s 2018-19 squad placed in a tie for first in the GPAC dual season and then finished fourth at the conference tournament. The five national qualifiers are a bump up from the program’s three at the 2018 national championships. The school record for national qualifiers in a season is 10 (2015 and 2016).
The 62nd annual national championships will be held inside the Jacobson Exhibition Center in Des Moines, March 1-2. For more information on the national event, click HERE.
Concordia 2019 NAIA National Qualifiers
174 – Deandre Chery (34-9)
*174 – Walker Fisher (13-7)
*133 – Alberto Garcia (15-3)
*133 – Zack Moistner (14-15)
*285 – Michael Stann (36-13)
*First time national qualifier