Bulldogs claim three individual North titles, team championship

By on Feb. 22, 2015 in Wrestling

Bulldogs claim three individual North titles, team championship

YORK, Neb. – The top-rated team in the region lived up to its billing on Saturday. Head coach Dana Vote’s sixth-ranked Bulldogs mopped the mats, placing nine individuals in the top four of their respective weight classes at the NAIA North Group Qualifying Tournament hosted by York College. Concordia’s group of 12 dominated by going a combined 44-15 in the process of racking up a 165 team points. Runner up Dickinson State (N.D.) totaled 120.5 points.

Individual titles were captured by Kodie Cole (133), Andrew Schulte (141) and Enrique Barajas (149). Concordia also recorded four third-place finishes and two fourth-place claims as part of a banner day. Third-year head coach Dana Vote has now guided his team to GPAC and NAIA North Group titles in a big year for Bulldog wrestling.

“This is huge,” Vote said. “Before the season we talked about being regional and conference champions and doing it the right way. We want to be dominant in all positions, build leads and get those bonus points. We don’t want to be satisfied with just settling for decisions.

“Top to bottom, our guys wrestled outstanding today.”

Cole, a native of Palmdale, Calif., continued his hot streak by winning a 133-pound title for the second tournament in a row. Cole (15-5) has now won 11-consecutive matches and is headed to the national championships for the second year in a row. In the title match, Cole earned an 8-2 decision over Graceland’s Cartland Allen, the fourth-ranked grappler in the region.

At 141, third-ranked Schulte collected his first career pin as a Bulldog to open his perfect day. The native of Corona, Calif., got a signature win in the title bout by toppling No. 5 Scottie Bonds of William Penn, 6-2. Schulte has run his record to 17-2 in his first season at Concordia.

Schulte has had little trouble adjusting after transferring from Santa Ana College.

“Andrew had a huge day,” Vote said. “He wrestled hard for all seven minutes. In the semifinals he came back and took his guy down five times in a row. Andrew’s doing all the right things. He lives a championship lifestyle. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

Barajas (25-9), who entered the day with an 8-0 record against GPAC opponents, defeated the second and third-ranked individuals in the North’s 149-pound bracket. Barajas nipped teammate Jr Lule, 5-4 in the semifinals and then earned another one-point decision in the title bout – 6-5 over Dickinson State’s 11th-ranked Seth Ehlang.

Dmitri Smith (125), Lule (149), Ken Burkhardt Jr. (197) and DJ McIntyre (285) each took third place on their respective medal stands to lock up bids to the national championships. Emilio Rivera (133) and Austin Fehlhafer (174) both placed fourth. Fehlhafer and Ceron Francisco (285) were both chosen as at-large selections to go to nationals.

McIntyre’s six wins on the day were the most of any Bulldog. Eleven of the 12 wrestlers to represent Concordia piled up three wins or more. Seven of Vote’s competitors notched exactly four victories.

The NAIA North Qualifying Group includes all eight GPAC wrestling programs as well as Dickinson State (N.D.), Graceland (Iowa), Jamestown (N.D.), Waldorf (Iowa), William Penn (Iowa) and York.

Concordia’s 10 national qualifiers will head to the 2015 NAIA Wrestling National Championships on March 6-7. They will take place at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka, Kan. For more information on the championships, click HERE. Barajas, Burkhardt Jr., Cole, Fehlhafer and Rivera will all be making their second-straight trips to the national championships. Austin Mogg, a 2014 All-American, is the only national qualifier from last season that did not return to this year’s roster.

“We’re right where we want to be,” Vote said. “Having 10 guys puts us in position for great things to happen at the national championships.”