Eighth-ranked Concordia prepped for Missouri Valley Invite

By Jacob Knabel on Jan. 13, 2016 in Wrestling

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SEWARD, Neb. – After a physically-taxing seventh-place run at last week’s prestigious National Duals, the eighth-ranked Concordia University wrestling team will shift to tournament action at this weekend’s Missouri Valley College Invitational. The event will take place Friday and Saturday inside Burns Gym in Marshall, Mo. Action on day one will get started at 6 p.m. CT with day two grappling set for 9 a.m. CT.

Fourth-year head coach Dana Vote’s squad competed at the same event in January 2015 when it took sixth place out of a 24-team field of mostly NAIA institutions. Six individuals earned place finishes for Concordia – Andrew Schulte (second at 141), Ken Burkhardt Jr. (fourth at 197), Emilio Rivera (fourth at 133), Jr Lule (fifth at 149), DJ McIntyre (fifth at 285) and Kodie Cole (seventh at 133).

Schulte, winner of the last two GPAC wrestler of the week awards, has been unstoppable of late. He rides a 12-match winning streak into the Missouri Valley Invite following a perfect 5-0 run at the National Duals. The junior from Corona, Calif., did not allow an offensive score last week while taking two decisions over Lindsey Wilson College’s (Ky.) sixth-ranked Daniel Leonard and a major decision over Ottawa University’s (Kan.) fifth-ranked Tyler Hinton.

Schulte, ranked eighth at 141 pounds, is one of seven Bulldogs who possess NAIA national rankings. The others are Cole (11th at 133), Lule (sixth at 157), Tommy Bailey (11th at 165), Matt Atwood (sixth at 184), Burkhardt Jr. (14th at 197) and Ceron Francisco (fifth at 285). Four are ranked No. 1 in the GPAC/NAIA North region: Atwood, Francisco, Lule and Schulte.

This year’s Missouri Valley Invite field is made up of 29 teams, including 13 of the NAIA’s top-20 rated squads:
No. 1 Grand View University (Iowa)
No. 2 Indiana Tech
No. 3 Missouri Valley College
No. 4 Montana State University-Northern
No. 6 Life University (Ga.)
No. 7 Oklahoma City University
No. 8 Concordia University
No. 12 Menlo College (Calif.)
No. 13 Doane
No. 14 Lindsey Wilson
No. 16 Midland
No. 18 Cumberland University (Tenn.)
No. 19 Williams Baptist College (Ark.)

The Bulldogs plan to travel 10 competitors to the Missouri Valley Invite. Eight individuals have at least 10 wins this season for Vote’s squad (see below; career Concordia records in parentheses).

  • Andrew Schulte (141/149) – 26-6 (46-10)
  • Ken Burkhardt Jr. (197) – 21-10 (75-46)
  • Jr Lule (157) – 19-6 (34-14)
  • Ceron Francisco (285) – 19-13 (63-48)
  • Tommy Bailey (165) – 19-15 (39-45)
  • Matt Atwood (184) – 17-4 (17-4)
  • Travian Cooke (174) – 15-10 (15-10)
  • Daniel Melcher (149) – 13-8 (13-8)

Schulte and company return to dual action on Jan. 21 when 13th-ranked Doane visits Seward for a 7 p.m. matchup. The Bulldogs own a GPAC dual win streak of nine.