SEWARD, Neb. – By way of a nonconference beating, the eighth-ranked Concordia University wrestling team made history on Wednesday night. The Bulldogs bullied Bethany College, 44-3, on their way to breaking the program single-season record for dual wins set by the 1970-71 Concordia Athletic Hall of Fame team. That squad finished at 10-3 overall.
Fourth-year head coach Dana Vote’s squad has now won five-straight duals and stands at 11-4 on the season after Wednesday’s win. The latest domination included 18 Bulldog takedowns to just two by the Swedes. Concordia also racked up a total of 26 near fall points and triumphed in all but one bout.
“Our guys were aggressive, they were scoring points and building leads,” Vote said. “They did a great job.
“(The record) is a big deal for the program. We’re moving in the right direction. It’s something in school history that’s never been done for the wrestling program. We want to continue to do those things.”
Two of the NAIA’s hottest performers – 141-pounder Andrew Schulte (30-6) and 157-pounder Jr Lule (28-7) – experienced little struggle up against the Swedes. Schulte recorded six first-period takedowns and four near fall points in building a commanding 16-5 lead over James Lohman. The NAIA’s top-ranked 141-pound wrestler ended things in the second period with his sixth win of the season by technical fall. Lule was similarly dominant, winning by a score of 18-1 over Trent Robb.
Schulte and Lule combined for 11 takedowns and 20 near fall points. They are a collective 27-3 in dual meets.
“They’re tough kids,” Vote said. “They work hard every day in the room. They push the pace. They don’t just go out and win matches, they dominate matches. They go hard for seven minutes. They’re consistent, which is something we talk about every day.”
Freshman Walker Fisher (165), a native of Ashland, Neb., took advantage of his first opportunity to grapple in a varsity dual. Fisher got on top of CJ Garcia immediately with a takedown and then wiped him out after only 1:47 had elapsed. Performing in front of several family members, Fisher more than did his part.
“It was an honor. I was really happy to get out there in front of the fans,” Fisher said. “It was a great way to open up my career.
“The key for me was I just wanted to be on the attack right away. I didn’t want to waste any time – get those pre-match jitters out of the way and get attacking.”
Other contested victories on the night came from Dmitri Smith (125; major decision), Foster Bunce (149; decision) and Ceron Francisco (285, decision). Smith pummeled Quinton Harrison with four takedowns and six near fall points in moving his season record above .500 (16-15). Meanwhile, Bunce (10-7) and Francisco (23-13) have both won four-consecutive matches. Three additional weights (133, 174 and 197) went to Concordia via forfeit.
The Swedes (1-8) got a victory from 184-pounder Trevor Whittaker, ranked No. 15 nationally in his respective weight class. Whittaker took a 6-3 decision from Noel Richardson to allow Bethany to avoid being blanked.
Prior to the dual, the Bulldogs honored former 11-year Seward High School assistant wrestling coach Jeramie Schoepf, who died tragically in March of 2014. Jeramie’s brother Josh served as an honorary coach.
The Bulldogs complete the week on Saturday with a return to GPAC action. They will put their 12-match GPAC win streak on the line when Saturday’s dual at Hastings (2-9, 1-5 GPAC) gets started at 2 p.m. The Broncos lone conference win came over Dakota Wesleyan (25-23).