SEWARD, Neb. – This was the type of sendoff Issiah Burks and Mario Ybarra hoped for in their final home appearances as members of the Concordia University Wrestling program. In a dual that wound up being a runaway, Isaac Agabin got the Bulldogs started with a pin and it snowballed from there in a 31-9 victory over York College on Thursday (Feb. 3). Concordia won seven matches, including four that came with bonus points.
Head Coach Myron Bradbury’s squad put on a good show for a strong crowd that included the Seward Wrestling Club. The win moved the Bulldogs to 6-6 overall this season as the dual schedule concludes.
“It meant a lot,” Bradbury said. “I’m just really glad for (Issiah and Mario). I’m very grateful for the progress we’ve made and the leadership we’ve had. I’m so incredibly happy for them to go out this way. They both had good, nice-looking wins. It means a lot.”
On paper, the dual looked like it might go either way. To be fair, there were key guys missing from the lineup on both sides, but Concordia was the one that capitalized. While piggybacking on Agabin’s pin, Ybarra took the mat at 133 and won a 9-3 decision over Jon Jon Halk. The All-American Ybarra did not surrender an offensive point in a match he controlled. The victory marked the 73rd of Ybarra’s career. That number puts him in a tie for No. 4 on the program’s all-time list.
The Scottsbluff, Neb., native came through with his family in attendance. Said Ybarra, “Family has been a big driving force for me throughout my wrestling career. They’ve always been there to support me – aunts, uncles and cousins, and obviously my parents. I just love that they’re there for the big moments. Tonight was a big moment for me – awesome that we got a win for the home crowd as well. It was a picture perfect night for my last dual in Friedrich Arena.”
Burks waited until the 165-pound match for his opportunity to shine. He came within an eyelash of pin while scoring 10 near-fall points and three takedowns in what finished as a 17-1 tech fall over Tommy Wentz. At that point, the Bulldogs had gained a rather commanding 19-6 lead in the team scoring.
Other dominant wins were delivered by the likes of Conner Burrus (tech fall at 141) and Hunter Weimer (pin at 184). Similar to Burks, Burrus collected 10 near-fall points and struck for four takedowns, ending his match in the second period. At 184, Weimer clinched the team victory with his pin that occurred in the latter stages of the third period. It all started with Agabin, who was the aggressor from the start in the night’s first bout.
In addition, Bulldogs TJ Huber (174) and Jacob Telles (285) helped round out the win with triumphs by decision. Telles (team high 17 wins this season) made it dramatic by finally emerging with a takedown in the final seconds to pull out a 4-3 win over Marce Vasquez. The result marked the 50th career win for Telles, a native of Albuquerque, N.M. Meanwhile, the Panthers (6-6) got their wins from John Fox (149), Brayden Smith (157) and Garret Moser (197).
Said Bradbury, “If I’m going to be critical, both matches in the middle – 149 and 157 – we can get those back. It’s a really good chance for growth. I’m proud of everybody. Everyone really seized the moment. They made the right calls and positions. They were reading the situations right and making the right assessments. I’m just happy we had a chance to display our growth for everyone to see.”
The final tournament prior to the conference championships will take place on Saturday. A select group of Bulldogs will be at the Sioux City Dave Edmonds Open hosted by Morningside. The first action is set to get started at 9 a.m. CT.