FREMONT, Neb. – Head coach Dana Vote’s grapplers went up against a pair of top 20-ranked conference opponents on Tuesday at a triangular that took place at Midland University. In the afternoon GPAC dual, Concordia fell 28-15 against No. 17 Dakota Wesleyan. A few hours later the Bulldogs were upended 43-6 by the day’s host – No. 13 Midland. Concordia’s conference dual mark dropped to 1-3.
In the day’s first match, the Bulldogs got on the board at 141 where Alex Stepanek took a 7-4 decision over the Tigers’ Karl Bell for his fourth-straight victory in dual meets. With the win, the junior from St. Paul, Neb., edged over the .500 mark at the time with a record of 18-17.
Following five-straight victories at 149 through 184 for Dakota Wesleyan, freshman Cameron Bruce came through with a pin of Jade Hoisington at 197. With the wipe out of Hoisington, Bruce recorded his third pin of the season.
Senior Frank Ayala completed the match against the Tigers by grabbing a win by forfeit for his 18th victory of the season to tie Stepanek for the team lead. Ayala then went toe-to-toe with highly-ranked Lonnie Brown of Midland in the final bout of the day. Brown, ranked as the No. 9 heavyweight in the NAIA, appeared on his heels at times and even briefly fell behind 5-4 before regaining control to take a 13-8 decision.
However, the Warriors overmatched the Bulldogs for most of the evening until Kale Hintz fought back at 174. Hintz fell behind 8-0 after the first period and seemed to be in danger of losing by technical fall. That’s when the tide quickly turned and Hintz took advantage of the opportunity to nail Midland’s Asaiah Dyer to the mat for a pin after 3:28 had elapsed. It was Hintz’s eighth win of the season and his fifth by fall.
Stepanek fell short of his bid for a fifth-consecutive victory in duals when he was clipped 5-2 by Jacob Luning-Hoshino of the Warriors. Brandon Starkey (157) also had an opportunity in both of his decisions on the day, which included a 13-10 loss to Trever DeVestern and a 4-0 defeat to No. 14 Tyler McMichael of Midland.
The Bulldogs continue a daunting week of matches against ranked conference opponents when they battle No. 7 Morningside in Sioux City, Iowa, at 6 p.m. on Friday. The Mustangs, 9-4 overall (3-0 GPAC) in dual meets this season, are the highest-rated squad in the GPAC.