SEWARD, Neb. – While hosting a field of five teams at the 2021 Concordia Bulldog Duals on Saturday (Dec. 18), the Concordia University Wrestling team emerged with a pair of wins. The Bulldogs defeated Oklahoma Wesleyan University, 31-13, and blanked Central Baptist College (Ark.), 58-0. Sandwiched in between, Concordia dropped a 32-11 dual at the hands of 15th-ranked Marian University (Ind.). The Bulldog trio of Issiah Burks, Jacob Telles and Mario Ybarra combined to go 9-0 on the day.
This marked the first time this season that Head Coach Myron Bradbury’s squad has wrestled nonconference competition in duals. Concordia owns an overall record of 4-3 (2-2 GPAC).
“The wheels are turning,” Bradbury said. “Inch-by-inch and piece-by-piece we’re getting this thing. Today was a really good day with solid competition all the way around. We were tested in every position and we’re starting to figure it out. We’re starting to compete at the level we’re asking them to and they’re training consistently at the level we’re asking them to. They’re really getting it down.”
Some of the brightest Bulldog stars wrestled like stars on Saturday. In action that began in the morning versus Oklahoma Wesleyan, Concordia started out hot with wins at the top of the lineup by Thomas Ivey (decision at 125), Ybarra (major decision at 133) and Conner Burrus (pin at 141). Additional pins followed from Burks (165), TJ Huber (174) and Telles (285), who put an exclamation mark on the dual. Meanwhile, three of the four Eagles’ wins came by decision (two ended in 4-3 final scores). At 197, Mason Garcia just missed out on knocking off NAIA 20th-ranked Josh Cortez.
The 58-point margin in the win over Central Baptist is believed to be the largest in Concordia program history. The Mustangs surrendered forfeits at six weights and were dominated in the other four. Contested victories were claimed by Burrus (technical fall at 141), Burks (pin at 165), Jovon Howe (pin at 184) and Telles (technical fall at 285). The Bulldogs came within a hair of posting the maximum total of 60 points.
Said Telles, “The team had this good atmosphere going around, starting off with Ivey. He was going out there and having competitive, good matches. Every dual was competitive and I think it got everyone going and built momentum. We battled in every position. Bradbury was stressing just having tough seven-minute matches and I think that’s what a lot of us did up and down the lineup.”
Marian’s dual lineup against Concordia included three nationally ranked wrestlers in No. 15 Bailey Moore (157), No. 5 Sam Osho and No. 9 Jack Servies. The Knights won each of those matches by either pin or tech fall. The Bulldogs got on the board thanks to Ybarra (decision at 133), Burks (technical fall at 165) and Telles (decision at 285). An impressive day for Burks featured two pins and a tech fall.
This was more like the lineup Bradbury had envisioned in the preseason. Concordia still believes it has room to grow before it hits its peak in 2021-22. Said Bradbury, “They feed off each other. There’s a lot of energy that comes with that. We weighed in 16 guys and some of them got extra matches. That was a very big plus.”
Not only did Burks, Telles and Ybarra all go 3-0, the following Bulldogs each went 2-1: Burrus, Huber and Ivey. The lineup did not fluctuate much over the three duals as 11 Concordia grapplers saw action. Others also took part in exhibition matches.
While Concordia had a 2-1 day, the rest of the Bulldog Duals field went like this:
· Doane: 2-0
· Marian: 3-1
· Oklahoma Wesleyan: 1-2
· Central Baptist: 0-4
The season will resume after New Year’s Day with the Hastings College Cusatis Open coming up on Jan. 8. Another significant dual challenge is coming up on Jan. 14 when the Bulldogs will be at fifth-ranked Doane, the top-rated team in the GPAC. Concordia’s next home appearance will be Feb. 3 when York College is slated to visit Seward.
2021 Concordia Bulldog Duals