Bulldogs blank Dakota Wesleyan in season's first dual

By Jacob Knabel on Nov. 11, 2016 in Wrestling

MITCHELL, S.D. – The streak lives on. Host Dakota Wesleyan served as little threat for the eighth-ranked Concordia University wrestling program, which has now won 15-consecutive GPAC duals. On Friday evening, the Bulldogs won all seven contested matches and benefited from three forfeits in the process of trampling the Tigers, 51-0.

Andrew Nicola picked up his first career dual win as a head coach. Nicola inherited a program that has won GPAC titles in back-to-back seasons while being perfect in conference dual action.

New coach. Same GPAC dominance.

“I was really happy with the way the boys came to work tonight,” Nicola said. “They were staying on the attack. Everybody just had the goal to go out there and dominate. We didn’t want to just win, we wanted to put our hands on them and really dominate the dual. I felt like we did a solid job of doing that from top to bottom.”

After Tiger forfeits at 125 and 133, freshman Cameron Devers made quick work of Brady Schleuter, pinning him in 2:21 for the first career collegiate win for the North Carolina native. The blowout was just getting started on a night that saw Concordia record two pins and two wins each by technical fall and major decision.

The 141-pound Devers set the tone for the night.

“Devers looked incredible,” Nicola said. “He was heavy handed right off the bat. He had two beautiful high crosses and some very nice lifts. He was transition wrestling really well. I was really proud of him coming through in his college wrestling debut. It was the first match of the dual so it got everybody fired up.”

Kirk Kaliszewksi (165) recorded the other pin. He needed only 21 seconds to wipe out Zechariah Westergaard in the 165-pound weight class. That pin followed victories by technical fall for Foster Bunce at 149 pounds and Jon Lado at 157 pounds. Both Walker Fisher (174) and No. 4 Ceron Francisco (285) recorded wins by major decision.

At 197 pounds, third-ranked Ken Burkhardt Jr. held off Matt Schirado for the 91st victory of his career. Burkhardt Jr. is creeping closer to becoming the first Bulldog to reach 100 career wins.

Dmitri Smith (125), No. 1 Kodie Cole (133) and Josh Nelson (184) all claimed triumphs via forfeit.

The Bulldogs will remain in Mitchell overnight in preparation for Saturday’s Dakota Wesleyan Open. A large contingent of Concordia grapplers will be on hand for the second tournament of the season. Action from Mitchell will get started at 9 a.m. CT.