Break ends Thursday with Ottawa in town for dual

By Jacob Knabel on Jan. 7, 2020 in Wrestling

SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University wrestling team is getting set for its first appearance of 2020. The Bulldogs will host Ottawa University (Kan.) for a dual on Thursday. The action is set for 7 p.m. CT from Walz Arena. Head coach Levi Calhoun’s squad will also be at the Hastings College Cusatis Open on Saturday.

Thursday will mark the end of an idle stretch that has lasted since the Desert Duals Classic in Las Vegas on Dec. 22. While in Vegas, Concordia went 2-2 with wins over Vanguard University (Calif.) and Life Pacific University (Calif.) and losses at the hands of No. 6 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Ariz.) and Arizona Christian University. All opponents in Vegas are members of the Cascade Collegiate Conference.

Over the 40 individual matches that took place in Vegas, the Bulldogs won 18 of them between the 12 wrestlers who made the trip. At 157 pounds, Gabe Crawford led the way by going 3-1. Six other Concordia grapplers registered with exactly two victories: Issiah Burks (165), Deandre Chery (174), Darrin Miller (184/197), Zack Moistner (133), Michael Stann (285) and Jason Watkins (184). Two pins apiece were notched by Burks and Stann. A native of Temecula, Calif., Stann’s pins both came against ranked foes: No. 18 Josh Sapien of Vanguard and No. 19 Garrette Branson of Embry-Riddle.

New national rankings were released on Jan. 3. Not only did the Bulldogs check in at No. 18 as a team, they boasted six individuals with NAIA rankings: Mario Ybarra (14th at 125), Moistner (18th at 133), Chris Kimball (16th at 141), Chery (ninth at 174), Darrin Miller (16th at 184) and 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.

A member of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, Ottawa is situated just outside of the NAIA top 20 poll. The Braves are 5-1 this season in duals with wins over Central Christian College, Lincoln College, William Penn University, Waldorf University and York College. Now in his second season as head coach, Colby Crank earned four NAIA All-America awards during his collegiate career. Crank’s squad has five nationally-ranked competitors. Ottawa is ranked third in the KCAC in the official NAIA rankings.

Concordia has added some depth at the heavyweight spot with former University of Nebraska football offensive lineman Tanner Farmer joining the team for the second semester. He is expected to make his debut on Thursday. Farmer was a two-time state champion in Illinois during his high school wrestling career.

Up next after this week will be the Missouri Valley College Invite in Marshall, Mo., Jan. 17-18. The next home duals will be Jan. 30 when Dakota Wesleyan and York College will both be at Walz Arena.

Probable Lineups

Concordia (5-2)
125 – Giancarlo Facio
133 – No. 18 Zack Moistner
141 – Gad Huseman
149 – Cam Devers
157 – Gabe Crawford
165 – Issiah Burks
174 – No. 9 Deandre Chery
184 – No. 16 Darrin Miller/Jason Watkins
197 – No. 16 Darrin Miller/Jason Watkins
285 – Tanner Farmer

Ottawa (5-1)
125 – Tyler McKeefery
133 – Bobby Robinson
141 – Parker Wright
149 – Gabriel McDuffie
157 – John Reina/No. 10 Ryan Delforge
165 – Micah Miller/No. 10 Ryan Delforge
174 – Cameron Young
184 – No. 14 Santino Gee
197 – No. 11 Carson Savage
285 – No. 20 Lex Plummer/No. 16 Dalton Sikes