SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Two squads that shared the GPAC regular-season title last season met in Sioux City, Iowa, on Thursday (Dec. 4). In a GPAC dual that began at 197 pounds, the 19th-ranked Concordia University wrestling team shook off an early deficit to topple host Morningside, 23-16. Back in February, the Mustangs had emerged from Walz Arena with a 27-12 victory.
Second-year head coach Levi Calhoun’s squad is now 2-0 in duals. It also has a conference win over Northwestern under its belt.
“Overall I’m proud of our guys for sticking together and getting the win,” Calhoun said. “Some things didn’t go our way but we responded well. I felt good sending Darrin Miller out to seal the win for us and he wrestled a smart match. We have a lot to improve on. We were not at our best tonight. These guys know that and are prepared to put in the work to make those improvements.”
Calhoun came away particularly pleased with sophomore 165-pounder Issiah Burks, who turned in the most dominant Bulldog victory over the night. Burks wiped out Alexander Thompson by technical fall in the third period. The native of Hemet, Calif., was one of six Concordia individuals to earn victories.
“I was very happy with Issiah Burks’ performance tonight,” Calhoun said. “He has been in a bit of a slump but he stepped up and came out and changed the momentum of the dual for us.”
The first Bulldog triumph actually came by forfeit at 125 pounds (Mario Ybarra). Seniors Chris Kimball and Cameron Devers took back-to-back decisions at 141 and 149, respectively. After Burks won by technical fall at 165, Deandre Chery outmatched Josh Nuckolls in a 17-10 decision. At that point, Concordia led 20-17 and put the outcome in the hands of Miller. He responded with a 5-3 victory in overtime over Elijah Dirkx.
One of the great battles of the night took place at heavyweight where nationally-ranked competitors Michael Stann and Phil Rasmussen went toe-to-toe. Stann of Concordia fell, 5-2, in another overtime bout.
The Bulldogs will wrap up their week on Saturday with the Doane University Open in Crete, Neb. The action is set to get started at 9 a.m. CT from Fuhrer Field House. The event will mark the third tournament of the season for Concordia.