CRETE, Neb. – By the time the dust had settled on Saturday (Jan. 25), the Concordia University wrestling team had clinched at least a share of the GPAC regular-season title. Twelve Bulldogs took the mat at the GPAC Duals hosted by Doane and combined on a 4-0 day. Concordia emerged victorious in 26 of the 40 individual matches held inside the Fuhrer Fieldhouse, where several fans wearing navy and white gathered.
Saturday GPAC Duals results
· Def. Hastings, 28-17 | Match Results
· Def. Jamestown, 28-16 | Match Results
· Def. Briar Cliff, 22-13 | Match Results
· Def. Doane, 33-14 | Match Results
Second-year head coach Levi Calhoun’s program also shared the GPAC regular-season championship last season. As a program, the Bulldogs have claimed a GPAC title in five of the past six seasons. The current team now stands at 10-2 overall and 7-0 within the conference.
“There was very little celebration and more focus on improving and what we need to do moving forward,” Calhoun said. “It wasn’t a perfect day by any means. There are a lot of things we can do better. At the same time, what we have been able to accomplish speaks to the resiliency and the depth that we have. From 125 to heavyweight, we have guys that are going to fight every minute of every match. I’m proud of our guys.”
Concordia cleaned up on Saturday at the top of the lineup with Mario Ybarra and at the back end. The Bulldogs won six matches over Hastings, six over Jamestown, seven over Briar Cliff and seven over Doane in reasserting themselves atop the GPAC standings. After being out since the Desert Duals Classic on Dec. 22, Ybarra enjoyed a 4-0 day while splitting his time between the 125 and 133 positions. He capped his unbeaten run with a victory via technical fall over Doane’s Frankie Deloa.
Calhoun certainly likes his options at heavyweight, where Concordia also went 4-0. At that spot, Michael Stann went 3-0 with pins over his foes from Hastings and Jamestown. Meanwhile, Tanner Farmer bumped his season record to 12-0 by earning a major decision over Briar Cliff’s Matthew Wilke.
The conference championship essentially came down to Concordia and Briar Cliff (6-1 GPAC). Charger standout Isiah Lysius gave his team a brief 6-3 advantage with a pin at 133. The Bulldogs eventually triumphed without there being much drama as Blake Castillo (184), Darrin Miller (197) and Farmer (285) closed the dual with wins. Briar Cliff’s only hope to now share the GPAC title is for Concordia to lose its GPAC finale against Dakota Wesleyan.
Every Bulldog that saw action on Saturday notched at least one win. While Ybarra went 4-0 and Castillo (3-0), Stann (3-0), Jason Watkins (2-0) and Farmer (1-0) put forth unbeaten records. Watkins dominated with his wins coming by technical fall and by pin. Cameron Devers also turned in a 3-1 day. Two-time 174-pound GPAC champion Deandre Chery also returned to the lineup and recorded two pins. Miller won two of his three matches and Issiah Burks (165) and Giancarlo Facio (125/133) both went 2-2.
Concordia is getting close to being at full strength. Said Calhoun, “It’s definitely nice to get some guys back. Mario was 4-0 and that was the performance of the day for me. Michael was a force at heavyweight and Deandre got a couple good wins. We’re not at full strength yet, but I’m excited to be getting some guys back healthy.”
Since the start of the 2014-15 season, the Bulldogs own a GPAC dual record of 40-4 while being led by three different head coaches. Calhoun’s GPAC record now stands at 14-1.
Walz Arena will be the site of three duals on Thursday (Jan. 30) when Dakota Wesleyan and York College will be in town. Concordia and Dakota Wesleyan will dual at 7 p.m. CT. That matchup will be followed by Dakota Wesleyan-York and Concordia-York duals. The GPAC regular-season schedule will be complete after Thursday’s action.