SEWARD, Neb. – Seven seniors were included in the dual lineup on Thursday (Feb. 6) evening as the 19th-ranked Concordia University wrestling team celebrated senior night inside Walz Arena. Head coach Levi Calhoun got the type of jovial sendoff he had wished for. The Bulldogs won with bonus points in eight matches, including four by pin, in a 50-0 blanking of visiting Bethany College (Kan.). This was it for the regular season.
With the victory, head coach Levi Calhoun’s squad equaled a program record for most dual wins in a campaign. GPAC regular-season champion Concordia completed its dual schedule at 13-2 overall (8-0 GPAC).
“It was awesome. I told the guys right before we came over here (to Walz), I want to have fun today,” Calhoun said. “Let’s go have some fun. I think they did that. The energy was great. They were playing some games over in the warmup room and they came out ready to go. It’s a great senior class – a lot of accomplishments there. It was nice to send them out the right way.”
Fans who regularly attended Bulldog home duals this 2019-20 season saw a lot of winning. Concordia polished off a 6-0 home record in which it outscored its opponents by a combined total of 235-44. On this particular night, the Swedes (0-5) managed a combined 10 offensive points while being physically dominated. The night started with sophomore Mario Ybarra (125) and Zack Moistner (133) both winning by decision.
Moistner had to gut this one out in his final match at Walz. He shrugged off an injury and claimed a 12-6 decision. He nearly pinned Kaden Goff in the second period while showing his toughness. Said Moistner, “It’s pretty crazy. I’ve been here for two years now and I’ve been in college for five – me, (Chris) Kimball and Berto (Garcia). We started together and now we’re going to end together. It’s just crazy to think this is going to be my last time in a dual meet.”
After Bethany forfeited the 141 and 149 pound weights, the fireworks got started. Three-straight pins were delivered courtesy of senior Cameron Devers (157), junior Gabe Crawford (165) and senior Deandre Chery (ranked 12th nationally at 174). Between the three of them, only one takedown was surrendered. By the time Chery nailed his foe to the mat, the Bulldogs owned an insurmountable 36-0 lead.
A member of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, the Swedes never got close to tasting victory in any of the final three matches either. Seniors Blake Castillo (184) and Darrin Miller (197) triumphed by major decision to set the stage for another anticipated home appearance for Tanner Farmer, now the NAIA’s second-rated heavyweight. Farmer toyed with the opposition, posting six takedowns before wiping out Dustin Mason with a pin in the second period. Farmer will take a perfect 18-0 record into postseason tournament action.
Farmer (GPAC Wrestler of the Week three times in the last four weeks) and company also showed well at the Sioux City Dave Edmonds Open this past weekend. Calhoun is hoping his team is hitting its stride at just the right time.
“That’s what we talk about – peaking at the right time,” Calhoun said. “The biggest part of our season is coming up – GPAC Championships, national tournament. Now let’s get our mind and body right. I feel like we’re doing that right now, getting healthy, getting better at the little things and improving and getting ready for the postseason.”
The Bulldogs will now be idle until the GPAC Wrestling Championships take place Feb. 21-22 in Sioux City, Iowa. Concordia will aim for its first GPAC postseason championship since 2017. Berths in the NAIA National Championships will be on the line at the conference tournament. National rankings each weight class determine how many bids a conference receives to nationals.