SEWARD, Neb. – If you blinked you might have missed this one. It took only 43 minutes for the 19th-ranked Concordia University wrestling team to take care of visiting Midland on Friday (Dec. 13) night. Just two matches lasted the entire three periods while the Bulldogs put a thumping on the Warriors, 54 to -1. Concordia won by bonus points in eight of the evening’s bouts.
Second-year head coach Levi Calhoun’s squad is now 3-0 in duals (all against GPAC foes). The Bulldogs also own wins over Northwestern and Morningside.
“I told the guys before the dual to stay focused,” Calhoun said. “I feel like we’re on a different level right now. We wanted to go out and take care of business and that’s what they did. We stayed in good position, scored points, got the job done and got off the mat. The biggest thing is staying focused and sticking to the basics.”
The night ended with a bang when fifth-year senior Demetrius Miller stepped onto the mat for his first-ever match inside Walz Arena. The heavyweight from Pueblo, Colo., didn’t waste any time in wiping out Schuyler Scherrs. Miller lifted Scherrs off the ground and drove him to the mat just before finishing him off in 1:05.
It was a fitting way to cap a night of dominance. Sophomore Gad Huseman (149) and senior Deandre Chery (174) also earned pins in the first period of their respective matches. A two-time GPAC champion, Chery had mounted an 11-0 lead over Bryan Sledge before abruptly ending the tussle. Similarly successful at 157 pounds, junior Gabe Crawford racked up 12 points with near falls and manhandled Bryson Jensen by a 17-0 score.
“It’s definitely fun,” Crawford said. “Everybody is holding themselves accountable as well as holding others accountable. It’s fun because everyone just wants to win.”
There was plenty of winning on this night. Other Bulldogs to claim victory included ninth-ranked Chris Kimball by decision (8-3) at 149 and No. 19 Darrin Miller (8-0) by major decision at 197. At 125, 13th-ranked Mario Ybarra held a 5-0 lead when his opponent tapped out due to injury. Three open weights for the Warriors also sped up the dual. Freshman Carter Kucera (133), sophomore Issiah Burks (165) and junior Jason Watkins (165) were credited with victories via forfeit.
Head coach Larry Nugent is in his first season leading Midland. The Warriors (0-4) have also suffered losses to York College, Jamestown and Doane. They wound up with a negative team score on Friday due to a point deduction that came early in the dual.
The punctuation at the end of night proved to be the major highlight. Said Calhoun, “It was cool for him to go out and dominate and get the pin. It was a very, very fun way to end the dual. I’m very excited for Demitrius and everybody who was in the lineup.”
More significant challenges lie in wait for the Bulldogs. Eleventh-ranked Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Ariz.) is among the opponents on the slate for Concordia’s date at the Desert Duals Classic in Las Vegas on Dec. 22.
“We have four teams that will be gunning for us from the Cascade Conference,” Calhoun said. “It’s always a really tough wrestling conference. We’re excited to get out there and compete and have a good time. We’ll enjoy Vegas a little bit and let them have some fun before they go on Christmas break.”