Thursday, Dec. 5 | 7:30 p.m. | No. 23 Concordia University vs. No. 18 York College
(Intermat NAIA team rankings)
(Concordia vs. York)
125 – No. 8 Austin Mogg (5-1) vs. No. 11 Oscar Marin (7-4)
133 – No. 12 Emilio Rivera (8-3) vs. No. 16 Sergio Sanchez (4-4)
141 – No. 15 Foster Bunce (5-4) vs. No. 7 Jason Arreola (9-0)
174 – Austin Fehlhafer (9-2) vs. No. 13 Joe Madison (9-5)
*50 free Concordia wrestling shirts will be thrown into the crowd
6 p.m. - Seward High School vs. York High School
SEWARD, Neb. – Concordia University wrestling has partnered with Seward High School on a doubleheader that will pit the communities of Seward and York against each other on Thursday night. As part of a rare event, the collegiate dual between Concordia and York, set to begin at 7:30 p.m., will be preceded by a prep match featuring Seward and York High Schools at 6 p.m.
Bulldog second-year head coach Dana Vote sees the unique doubleheader as a way to bring both communities together and help grow the sport of wrestling locally.
“I think it’s a really great thing. It’s a great opportunity for the community to come together and both support each other and have a great showing,” Vote said. “It gets two different communities involved from the early high school level all the way through college. We want to build that community of wrestlers and make it a tight-knit group.”
The event also figures to spur a budding rivalry between Concordia and York. The Panthers have won all five dual meetings since the rebirth of Bulldog wrestling in 2009, but a talented recruiting class appears to have helped Vote and company close the gap.
Both teams have their stars, including Concordia’s eighth-ranked Austin Mogg (5-1) at 125 and York’s seventh-ranked Jason Arreola (9-0) at 141, but Vote believes the outcome of the match could be decided by a few hard-to-predict bouts.
“I would say the key matches for us are those middle three weights – 157, 165 and 174,” Vote said. “If we can steal some in there it’s definitely going to help us in trying to come through and win the dual.
“Also at heavyweight, we’re wrestling a guy that we had a one-point match with earlier in the year. If we can get something there that’s going to help us try to pull out the win, too.”
Thursday’s dual will likely see four rematches of bouts that played out at open tournaments. Mogg took care of York’s 11th-ranked Oscar Marin by a 5-3 decision, the same score that the Bulldogs’ 12th-rated Emilio Rivera prevailed by over No. 16 Sergio Sanchez of the Panthers at 133.
In total, Concordia is 3-4 so far in individual tournament matches against York. The Bulldogs should expect for opportunities to avenge earlier setbacks at 174, 197 and 285 against nationally-ranked competitors from the Panthers.
One of those spots is occupied in the Concordia lineup by Seward native Austin Fehlhahfer, who will have plenty of adrenaline flowing on Thursday. Fehlhafer (9-2) fell by a 15-9 decision to York’s 13th-ranked Joe Madison at 174 in the Swede Open on Nov. 9. All Fehlhafer has done since then is win six-straight matches, including five via pinfall on the way to earning the Outstanding Wrestler award at the University of Nebraska-Kearney Holiday Inn Open.
“I think Austin is excited to wrestle someone who beat him in one of his first matches in college,” Vote said. “He’s rolled off quite a few wins since then. It’s going to be exciting for him to wrestle him again and have the opportunity to compete in front of a lot of fans that he’s had behind him for a long time.”
York boasts a total of six nationally-ranked wrestlers with Arreola being the highest regarded. Arreola, who claimed All-America honors at last season’s national championships, is ranked as the top 141-pounder in the North Qualifying Group. Both Madison and No. 9 Logan Paul Eickhoff (197) are ranked No. 2 regionally in their respective weight classes.
The most intriguing matchups in terms of rankings will come at the top where both Concordia and York have rated grapplers at each of the three lowest weight classes.
“We’ve relied on the top of our lineup a lot so far with some upperclassmen,” Vote said. “I think we’ll continue to do that and build on it. They know we lean on them and they like the challenge.”
Another big crowd is expected for Thursday’s match. In their first dual of the 2013-14 season, the Bulldogs cruised to a 39-7 victory over NCAA Division III Buena Vista University in front of a spirited audience on Nov. 20. Vote believes the generation of this type of atmosphere will help the program take off.
“The bigger we can get the crowd and the more we can get it involved will be a huge advantage for us,” Vote said. “It helps us build momentum and it gets the guys fired up. It gets them hungry to compete.”
For those unable to make it to Thursday’s Concordia-York dual, a live webcast will be available via the Concordia Sports Network.
Prior to Thursday’s dual, York will face first-year program and GPAC member Doane on Tuesday night at the Freeman Center in York. It will be the Panthers’ first dual of the season.