SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Fresh off a dominant GPAC title-clinching win over Briar Cliff on Tuesday, the Concordia University wrestling team sent 13 individuals to the Briar Cliff Open in Sioux City, Iowa, on Saturday. Sophomore Kodie Cole enjoyed one of his best days as a Bulldog as he dominated the 133-pound bracket on the way to his first career tournament title.
While six of Concordia’s seven nationally-ranked wrestlers were rested on Saturday, head coach Dana Vote’s group produced a collective record of 27-23 with a pair of place finishes, including a second place claim by sophomore 184-pounder Austin Fehlhafer.
Cole, now 11-5 this season, has won seven-consecutive matches. Just a couple months ago it appeared he would redshirt the 2014-15 campaign.
“Kodie had a great day,” Vote said. “He dominated in the final and really wrestled solid. We knew he had work to do but there’s a reason why we decided not to redshirt him.”
Cole pinned his way to the 133-pound championship match. He recorded falls over Air Force Prep’s John Twomey (1:02), Northwestern’s Danny Arceo (2:08) and Missouri Baptist’s Aaron Hane (2:40) to run his season pin total to seven. Then in the title bout, the native of Palmdale, Calif., knocked off South Dakota State’s Ben Gillette (D, 11-7), who earlier this season defeated both Eric Franklin and Emilio Rivera.
Fehlhhafer is rounding into form after battling injury throughout the year. Just like Cole, Fehlhafer notched pins in each of his first three matches. A pinning machine as a freshman last season, Fehlhahfer now has five falls over his past seven bouts. The Seward native is 39-19 with 25 pins in his collegiate career.
“He had a great day. He’s getting back to the Austin we saw last year,” Vote said. “He’s getting better every time out and now he’s making the adjustment to a new weight class.”
Saturday marked the start of a promising career for freshman Chris Moran, who went 5-2 in his first taste of collegiate wrestling. After losing by technical fall to Jamestown’s Michael Nord, Moran (Sanger, Calif.) went on a run of four-straight pins at 165 pounds.
“He’s got great potential,” Vote said of Moran. “He’s very explosive and dangerous. He’s a threat to end the match at any time.”
Junior Austin Starkey (157) matched Moran with five wins (two by pin) of his own. Other Bulldogs with multiple wins on the day were Tommy Bailey (3-2), Kolton Larsen (3-2), Robert Mata (2-2) and Jerry Stepps (2-2).
The Bulldogs (6-0 GPAC) will try to complete an undefeated GPAC dual season when they host Hastings (6-9, 3-3 GPAC) at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The contest will take place inside the PE Gymnasium on the Concordia campus. Vote’s squad aims to avenge last season’s 21-12 loss at Hastings. The Bulldogs have won each of their first six GPAC duals by 10 points or more.