FORT WAYNE, Ind. – In heavy competition, the No. 8 Concordia wrestling team went 2-1 at the NWCA National Duals on Friday. The squad will be guaranteed a place in the tournament, a feat which has never been accomplished in school history.
The Bulldogs came up just short against No. 14 Lindsey Wilson by losing by a tie breaker and then went on to defeat Ottawa University (41-3) and the University of Great Falls, who is tied for 10th place in the nation (28-19).
Head coach Dana Vote said, “I thought we wrestled well as a team and fought hard. We knew what our roles were coming in as individuals. Guys stepped up. It’s a national tournament and great competition…It’s huge to come to this tournament and place because it shows that you have the depth of an overall great team. It takes a team and a full effort from every individual to place at this tournament.”
Andrew Schulte went 3-0 on the day, defeated two returning All-Americans and avenging a loss he suffered at the National Tournament last season. The California native won by a 3-1 decision over Daniel Leonard of Lindsey Wilson, a major decision of 15-4 over Tyler Hinton of Ottawa and a tech fall over Clinton Garvin of Great Falls, 24-6.
On Schulte, Vote said, “Andrew Schulte was very dominate today. He beat two returning All-Americans and never gave up any offensive scoring against them either.”
Also recording a perfect day was Jr Lule who won by two tech falls and a forfeit. Dmitri Smith also put up some impressive performances, defeating another All-American from the 2014-15 season, James Flint, in a 7-2 decision. Smith owned a 2-1 mark on the day.
First up on Concordia’s slate was Lindsey Wilson (Ky.). The dual was a tight race with the largest lead being four in favor of the Blue Raiders. The contest was so even that it ended in an 18-18 tie. Going to the first tie breaker, most individual wins, the squads were still tied with five apiece. The next criteria was number of wins by a pin which Lindsey Wilson had the advantage in.
The Bulldogs then went on to face Ottawa who had fallen to No. 3 Missouri Valley previously today. The dominate Bulldog wrestling team showed its strengths in this dual, taking a 41-3 victory. The matchup saw two pins and three major decisions from Concordia. Perhaps the most impressive match of the day went to Matthew Atwood who stuck his opponent, Brandon Ott in just 16 seconds.
The final test of the day was Great Falls. Starting off with a slight advantage in the first two matches, the Argos saw their lead quickly disappear. With Schulte’s monstrous 24-6 tech. fall and a pin from Foster Bunce, the Bulldogs gained the lead. Another tech. fall and two more pins gave Concordia the victory as well as a locked in placing for the tournament.
“We beat Great Falls and lost to Lindsey Wilson on a tie breaker who were both teams that were in the top four in the nation last year,” Vote said. “It shows we’re right there and getting close. We still have some ground to make up, but we’re on the way.”
The Concordia wrestling team will first face No. 6 Life University at 8 a.m. on Saturday. With either a win or a loss, the Bulldogs will wrestle again at Noon. For a full bracket, click HERE. Live updates will be available via Track Wrestling HERE.