Barajas, Franklin second-place finishes highlight Buena Vista Open

By on Dec. 6, 2014 in Wrestling

Barajas, Franklin second-place finishes highlight Buena Vista Open

SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – A total of 21 Concordia University wrestlers combined on 46 wins and seven place finishes at Saturday’s Buena Vista University Open in Storm Lake, Iowa. Both senior Enrique Barajas (157) and Eric Franklin (133) stormed to title matches before settling for second-place claims in their respective weight brackets.

“Overall it wasn’t a bad day,” third-year head coach Dana Vote said. “We wrestled OK but we left too many points out there. We need to attack more and wrestle with more urgency.”

Sixth-ranked Barajas made a mockery of the 157-pound bracket. He rampaged to the title match, winning his first four bouts without much difficulty. He triumphed by technical fall (16-1), major decision (16-5) and twice by pin on the way to the championship. That’s when Adam Cooling of NCAA Division II Minnesota State-Mankato edged Barajas (15-6) by decision.

“Enrique was solid in his first four matches,” Vote said. “He was wrestling his style, pushing the pace and scoring points. It was a great day for him.”

At 133, No. 5 Franklin (10-5) blazed to the title bout with three-straight wins to begin his day. He pinned Midland’s Sebastian Lara-Avila in 2:09 in his first match prior to concluding the tournament with a 5-1 loss to NCAA Division I grappler Josh Alber of the University of Northern Iowa.

“Eric was solid. I’d like to see him be more offensive,” Vote said. “He’s capable of scoring more, so that’s going to be our focus before Christmas break.”

Sixth-place finishes were turned in by the quartet of senior Emilio Rivera (133) and sophomores Austin Fehlhafer (174), Ken Burkhardt Jr. (197) and Ceron Francisco (285). In addition, junior Austin Starkey placed eighth at 157 pounds.

Burkhardt Jr. (11-10) topped all Bulldogs with five wins on Saturday. The Milford native’s run included victories over conference opponents in Midland’s Adam Ball (pin, 2:47) and Northwestern’s Derek Jaurigue (D, 5-0). Barajas, Francisco, Rivera and Starkey all recorded four wins apiece on the way to place finishes.

Francisco upset both No. 12 Angel Gomez of Waldorf College (3-2 decision) and 16th-ranked Christopher Bridgeford of Morningside (4-1 decision) in the process of proceeding on to the fifth-place heavyweight match. Among other impressive wins, Fehlhafer defeated Aaron McMurphy of Northern Iowa, Rivera earned a win over No. 16 Ricky Ortiz of Northwestern and several Bulldogs also posted wins over NCAA Division II opponents.

Seventeen of Vote’s 21 wrestlers at the Buena Vista Open notched at least one win. Fifteen individuals collected two or more victories.

The tournament included competitors from 20 different institutions. Participating GPAC teams were Briar Cliff, Concordia, Dakota Wesleyan, Midland, Morningside and Northwestern.

The Bulldogs (3-1, 2-0 GPAC) look to remain unbeaten in GPAC dual action when they host Northwestern (1-2, 1-1 GPAC) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday (Dec. 10). In conference meets, the Red Raiders defeated Dakota Wesleyan, 37-9, on Thursday and fell to Doane, 20-19, on Nov. 25.