CRETE, Neb. – In terms of rankings, Concordia University Wrestling faced its most challenging dual of the season on Friday (Jan. 14) as it went up against fourth-ranked Doane, the GPAC’s defending regular season champion. The Tigers won the first six matches of the night on the way to a 39-3 victory in Crete. TJ Huber put the Bulldogs on the board with a victory by decision at 174.
This was the first GPAC dual for Head Coach Myron Bradbury’s squad since it defeated Midland at home, 32-18, on Dec. 9. Concordia stands at 2-3 in GPAC duals (4-4 overall). Though the results aren’t where Bradbury wants to see them in the future, he walked away encouraged with the development of several individuals.
“Even against a team as tough as Doane, you could see the progress we’re making,” Bradbury said. “Things really are clicking and they’re competing hard. What I told the team in the locker room – and I’m never going to do this again – is talk about some consolation victories. I’m proud to be their coach and I’m happy to see how things are progressing.
“Nobody puts in more time than TJ Huber, and it showed tonight. No one in program has his shoes on the mat more than him. It’s great to be able to use that as an example with the team. I also think we got the best version of Tavoris (Smith) that we’ve ever had.”
In the highlight of the night for the Bulldogs, Huber shut out Lahina Kane, 4-0, as the Gretna, Neb., native picked up his 10th victory of the season. Meanwhile, in close defeats, Isaac Agabin (125), Jeaven Scdordis (149), Issiah Burks (165) and Hunter Weimer (184) were clipped by decision. Unfortunately, Concordia had to scratch All-American Mario Ybarra from the lineup, wiping out a potential matchup between ranked combatants at 133.
Doane (11-3, 5-0 GPAC) flexed its muscles with pins at 133, 141 and 285 and by taking a technical fall at 197. Dominance has been the norm for two-time national champion Baterdene Boldmaa. He took out Conner Burrus in 2:29 in the 141-pound match. At heavyweight, the Bulldogs’ Jacob Telles (2021 GPAC champion) was finished off in 4:16 by NAIA third-ranked Odgerel Batkhishig. The Tigers will have an opportunity to clinch another conference title when they compete in three GPAC duals on Jan. 29.
This was the third time Dana Vote has gone up against Concordia as head coach at Doane. Vote presided over the Bulldog program for four seasons from 2012-16. The Tigers have won back-to-back duals over Concordia since the Bulldogs won the matchup during the 2019-20 season.
The Bulldogs will have the rest of the weekend off from competition while looking ahead to one of the premier tournaments prior to nationals – the Missouri Valley College Invite (Jan. 21-22). The event was canceled last season. In the most recent Missouri Valley Invite held in 2020, Concordia placed 16th out of 48 teams.
Said Bradbury, “I just want our guys to wrestle hard. Going into MO Valley, I’m just excited for another weekend with my team. We’ll see what we can get done.”