MITCHELL, S.D. – The Concordia University wrestling team enjoyed an extended stay in Mitchell, S.D., over the weekend. Mitchell was the site of both the season’s first dual and the Dakota Wesleyan University Open. In Friday (Nov. 9)’s action, the Bulldogs pummeled Dakota Wesleyan, 58-0. Then in tournament action on Saturday (Nov. 10), 15 grapplers represented Concordia and combined for 34 wins and five place finishes.
The dual win on Friday marked the first in Levi Calhoun’s head coaching tenure. Calhoun has now presided over two tournaments so far on the young season.
“I think we made improvements on last weekend,” Calhoun said. “We put in a good week of work and made some adjustments that we needed to make. It showed on the mat. The effort was there by every guy, every minute of every match. All we ask is for our guys to compete.”
A quick dual was to be expected on Friday evening with the Tigers forfeiting half of the 10 weight classes. In the five matches that were contested, the Bulldogs were about as dominant as they could have possibly been. Cameron Devers (149), Issiah Burks (157) and Jason Watkins (165) each earned pins while Zack Moistner (133) and Michael Stann (285) both won by technical fall.
After watching Friday’s dual, defending GPAC champion Deandre Chery got back to the mat on Saturday and went 5-1 with a third-place finish at 174 pounds. Chery’s lone defeat came at the hands of highly-rated Kolton Eischens of NCAA Division II St. Cloud State University (Minn.). Known for a propensity to quickly wipe out his foes, Chery notched two more pins on Saturday and ended his day with a 9-4 decision over Augustana University (S.D.)’s Kolby Kost in the third-place match.
Just like a week ago at the Dan Harris Open, Chery, freshman Mario Ybarra (125) and Stann made nice impressions. Each of those three won five matches on Saturday.
“Deandre led the pack again,” Calhoun said. “He was focused and had a great tournament. Then of course Mario did the same thing – lost on the front side and battled his way back. He wrestled like a seasoned veteran. He wrestles hard and refuses to give up positions. Michael Stann again had a great tournament. It’s not as much of a surprise since he made the finals last week. He just wrestled smart.”
Calhoun also made mention of the depth the team possesses at 184 with the trio of Tyler Jorgensen, Josh Nelsen and Darrin Miller. Jorgensen and Nelsen both made the semifinals of that particular weight class at the DWU Open. Jorgensen, Nelsen and Miller recorded two victories apiece. At 157, Burks put together a 3-2 day with one pin.
Stann and Ybarra were not able to place all the way out due to the rule that limits collegiate wrestlers to six matches in one day. Stann got on a roll after losing by decision in round one. He pinned four of his next five opponents. Four of Ybarra’s five wins came by decision with another resulting in a technical fall.
GPAC dual action will continue on Thursday (Nov. 15) when the Bulldogs will be in Fremont, Neb., for a 7 p.m. matchup with 13th-ranked Midland, the defending GPAC tournament champion. Concordia will attempt to avenge last season’s pair of dual defeats that came at the hands of the Warriors.
Said Calhoun, “Our preparation will be the same as always. We’re focused on Midland, the defending conference tournament champs. That’s where we want to get back to. We’re going to be prepared and ready to go out and battle.”