AMES, Iowa – Second-year head coach Dana Vote took three select wrestlers into action against a loaded field at the Cyclone Open in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday. Junior Enrique Barajas, a transfer from Sacramento City Community College, topped the Bulldogs on the day with four victories. Concordia’s three grapplers (Barajas, Foster Bunce and Emilio Rivera) combined for a mark of 7-6 on the day.
Barajas (149) got off to an impressive start by pinning Iowa Central’s Luis Sifuentes in just 0:40. A native of Heyward, Calif., Barajas would then drop a narrow 4-3 decision to Jake Short (unattached) before winning three-straight matches in the consolation bracket.
Barajas’ final three victories all came by decision, including an overtime squeaker (6-4) over Saint Cloud State’s Kaden Spurgeon. Barajas (6-2 in 2013-14) also topped a pair of unattached competitors in Alexande Hurtado and Keamalu Richardson.
Bunce (141), a wildly successful prep at Dansville High School in Munith, Mich., shook off a 13-7 loss to Josh Shupe in his opening match. He rebounded by pinning Ellsworth Community College’s Puthasor Phanrana in 2:31 and then NCAA Division II University of Nebraska-Kearney grappler Andrew Riedy in 0:32. Bunce’s day ended in round five of the consolation bracket with a 10-8 loss to Ellsworth’s Mike Stewart.
Bunce showed glimpses of how good he can be in making quick work of Riedy, who won four state titles as a Nebraska high school wrestler. The freshman Bunce went 3-2 on the day in his first collegiate action on the mat.
Concordia’s final wrestler at the Cyclone Open, Rivera, found himself eliminated after two matches in the 133-pound bracket. Rivera faced an extremely tough draw going up against Geoffrey Alexander of the University of Maryland and former Midland All-American Matthew Katusin (now at Lindenwood). Despite the two losses on Saturday, Rivera (Escondido, Calif.) is 7-3 on the season.
The Bulldogs will entertain their first dual of the season on Wednesday night when NCAA Division III Buena Vista University (Iowa) visits Walz Arena. Buena Vista is Vote’s alma mater. The action will get underway at 7 p.m. The dual will be webcast live via the Concordia Sports Network.