The Concordia University Bulldog wrestling team moved up from #19 to #12 in the nation in the latest NAIA Coaches Poll. The Bulldogs are just one point out of 10th place.
Concordia sophomore Adam Joseph (Hastings, Neb.) jumped from #11 to #1 in the nation at 133 pounds. Joseph is the first Concordia wrestler to be ranked #1 in the national poll. Joseph went 4-0 in the Desert Duals in Las Vegas, and defeated Travis Evans from Grand View University, who was ranked #3 in the nation 7-2. Currently Joseph has an outstanding 24-3 record, and he is a perfect 6-0 in dual meets.
Joining Joseph in the national rankings is sophomore Alex Stepanek (St. Paul, Neb.) at 141 pounds. Stepanek breaks in to the national poll for the first time and is ranked #10 in the nation.
Brandon Starkey (St. Paul, Neb.) dropped to #12 in the Coaches Poll at 149 pounds. Starkey is out with a knee injury suffered in the Simpson College Invitational and was not able to compete in the Desert Duals in Las Vegas. Starkey is a two-time NAIA qualifier and has met the qualifying standards for a third time this season. Starkey's injury and absence from the team has had an effect on the team’s ability to win in dual competitions.
Alfredo "Boxer" Torres (La Puenta, Calif.) has been ranked #5 at 174 pounds for eight straight weeks. The Junior College All-American has already qualified for the NAIA national championships, having placed in two collegiate tournaments already this season.
Junior Julian Silva (Covina, Calif.) is ranked #9 at 197 pounds. Silva is a two-time Junior College All-American and a NAIA national qualifier in 2011. Silva went 2-2 at the national championships last season.
Dropping out of the polls is heavyweight Dillon Heesch (Dayton, Iowa), who was ranked #12 in the nation. Heesch, who has not competed in the last two open competitions to focus on academics, dropped out of the poll. Heesch has a 6-2 record and has been a finalist in two tournaments.
"Going into Christmas break ranked 12th in the nation is a pretty good Christmas present," commented head coach Doug Reese. "We are at the half way point now in the season. I am proud of the effort thus far. The mission now is to finish strong and to build upon what we have already accomplished. We have the individuals to do that."
The Bulldog wrestling team is off until January 6th when a split squad will complete in either the Quality Inn Open in Hastings, or in the Ridgewater Open in Minnesota.