SEWARD, Neb. – The eighth-ranked Concordia wrestling team, unbeaten in GPAC duals this year, welcomed Doane College to Walz Arena for a conference dual. The Tigers, who are tied for the 20th spot in the nation, were also unbeaten in the conference coming into the dual. The Bulldogs came out with the victory, claiming a 24-15 score.
Concordia is now 8-4 overall in duals and 3-0 in the GPAC. Doane falls to 11-4, 2-1 GPAC. With the victory, the Bulldogs stand at the top of the GPAC and extend their conference dual winning streak to 10.
Head coach Dana Vote said, “We were a little flat, probably wasn’t our best performance of the year but we found a way to win. They’re (Doane) a good, solid team…they’re tough. We have some things to work on but we found a way to win late in the year.”
Tenth ranked Dmitri Smith started things out for Concordia with a major decision of 12-4 over John Fletcher of Doane thanks to four takedowns and a reversal.
With his new first place ranking, Andrew Schulte extended his win streak to 13 matches. Schulte won by a 9-4 decision over Preston Jurgens and gave his team a 7-3 lead over Doane.
Jr Lule, ranked eighth nationally, took on 12th-ranked Martin Phillips in the 157 weight class. With a technical fall, Lule defeated Phillips 19-2 in the second period. The win gave Concordia a 15-3 lead. Lule said, “I think the tilt has been working for me all year. Ever since they changed the rule to getting four point near falls instead of three I just started working on my top game and taking advantage of those extra points.”
The Tigers cut the Bulldogs’ lead to just three points after victories in the 165 and 174 matches. Matt Atwood, ranked sixth, regained the lead with a third period pin over Kyle Hoffman.
Ken Burkhardt Jr. was up next and was defeated in a 7-3 decision by fourth-ranked Cody Linton. Concordia’s lead was again threatened with Doane pulling in within six.
The last match featured Ceron Francisco who is ranked seventh nationally. On being last in the lineup Francisco said, “I always pray before my matches. I felt good about how I prayed and I just had faith in my team…I know my teammates have faith in me. The fact that they trust in me enough to know that if it is on the line, I can do my job is a good feeling. We’re a brotherhood, everything we do comes together.”
The pressure did not get to the junior as he defeated Chandler Knight by the way of an 8-1 decision. The victory gave Concordia the 24-15 win.
The Concordia wrestling team will be back on the mat this Saturday as it heads to Northwestern College for more GPAC action. The dual will begin at 5 p.m. in Orange City, Iowa.