HASTINGS, Neb. – It took less than an hour as the Concordia University Wrestling team polished off a 36-10 GPAC dual road victory over Hastings on Thursday (Nov. 10). The matchup was expedited by two swift pins from the likes of Bulldogs Issiah Burks and Stephen Duffy and by three open weights in the Bronco lineup. Concordia emerged with wins in seven of 10 matches in action that took place inside Kiewit Gymnasium on the Hastings campus.
Head Coach Chase Clasen’s program managed to avenge one of its dual losses from the 2021-22 season and move to 2-0 in conference action. Clasen earned his first win as a Bulldog when his side triumphed, 28-17, at Midland on Nov. 1.
“Some of our guys really let it fly,” Clasen said. “Our emphasis this week was opening up our opponent and getting that guy moving. We had two guys who did that in particular and that was Stephen Duffy and Issiah Burks. They went out and put their guy on his back in the first period and got the fall. That’s what we’re really looking for. Tommy Wentz and Creighton Baughman had some pretty tough matches and they gutted them out. In the ones we didn’t win, I think we had some little mental mistakes and errors, but nothing we can’t fix.”
Burks has started year six of his collegiate career with a bang. The Hemet, Calif., native won by major decision last week at Midland and then faced a stiff test on Thursday: a matchup with the NAIA’s 23rd-ranked 157-pounder, Jake Patterson. He wrestled up a weight to meet Burks at 165. Burks dictated the terms of the action with a takedown before pinning Patterson in 1:04. At the time, the result gave Concordia a commanding lead of 24-4 in the team score.
Burks collected 23 wins in 2020-21 and appears primed for his best season yet. Said Clasen, “Going out and attacking right off the bat like he did is what we talk about. He lived it out in that match. His opponent tried to get him in a position and Issiah knew where to go. That’s exactly what we want out of a sixth-year guy – pushing the pace.”
A Kenesaw, Neb., native, has been a welcome (back) addition to the Bulldogs. A member of the Concordia roster in 2018-19, Duffy transferred back into the program and has started this season with two pins at 184. His latest one took a mere 14 seconds as he gave the Broncos’ Keenan Griffin no time to breath. Another of the program’s newest wrestlers, Baughman moved to 2-0 in his Bulldog career after he fought off the GPAC’s sixth-rated 141-pounder, Kavika Aholelei, 6-4. Baughman was the most highly regarded Concordia wrestler in the preseason (ranked No. 12 in the NAIA at 141). Meanwhile, the York College transfer Wentz notched his first win as a Bulldog, 8-4, over Andy Rojas at 157.
The team score became a runaway due to Hastings open weights at 125, 133 and 197. Concordia’s lineup at those spots included Grant Wells, Thomas Ivey and Garret Moser, respectively. Clasen also trotted out Jeremiah Sistek at 149, Jose Sanchez at 174 and Jack Hedke at 285.
Hastings got on the board via its wins from Jack Morton (major decision at 149), Cole Maschmann (sudden victory at 174) and Matheson Rodriquez (decision at 285). The Broncos have a new head coach in Trey Heckadon after they went 10-6 (4-4 GPAC) in duals last season. Hastings won in Seward in November 2021 by a count of 29-17.
The Bulldogs will be in action at the Grand View University Open this Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa, where wrestling will get started at 9 a.m. CT. Only a select few Concordia competitors competed this past Sunday at the Dan Harris Open in Baldwin City, Kan.