HASTINGS, Neb. – With one match as a Bulldog under his belt, Tanner Farmer made his way to Saturday (Jan. 11)’s Hastings College Cusatis Open along with 11 of his teammates. It’s safe to say Farmer has made a positive first impression. The former Cornhusker football standout emerged from Hastings as the 285-pound champion in highlighting the efforts of the 18th-ranked Concordia University wrestling team.
Fresh off a dual victory over Ottawa University (Kan.) on Thursday, second-year head coach Levi Calhoun’s squad combined for 20 victories in the tournament that was staged at Hastings High School. In addition to Farmer’s title, senior Cameron Devers reached the semifinals at 149.
“The thing is that he’s still getting back into shape,” Calhoun said of Farmer. “I’m really anxious to see what it looks like when he’s at his best, but he wrestled really smart matches today. He wrestled the Ottawa guy again and really dominated the match. It was a huge improvement from the dual on Thursday just from a confidence perspective.”
Farmer’s day included three contested matches, as well as an advancement via medical forfeit. The championship came down to Farmer and the University of Nebraska’s David Jensen, a 2019 NCAA Division I national qualifier. A native of Highland, Ill., Farmer topped Jensen by an 8-5 decision. Prior to that bout, Farmer wiped out Daniel Gonzalez of Hastings by pin in just 43 seconds and then knocked off NAIA 20th-ranked Lexington Plummer, 6-1, the same foe he faced in Thursday’s dual.
An injury has robbed Devers of some of his senior season, but he appears to be back to form now. The native of Holly Springs, N.C., dominated his opponent this past Thursday and then proceeded to win each of his first three matches by pin on Saturday. Devers was denied a spot in the championship match by Nebraska’s Kevon Davenport. Devers was one of three Bulldogs with three victories on the day.
“Cam had a really good day,” Calhoun said. “I’m proud of him. I’m excited to see how he keeps progressing, but this was a really good performance … as a team, we learned what we have to work on. Everybody gave great effort and improved from their previous time on the mat.”
Sophomore Issiah Burks also picked up a trio of wins (two via pin) while competing at 165. Senior Blake Castillo (174), freshman Brandon Gonzalez (149) and sophomore Bryan McGahan (197) notched two wins apiece. Gonzalez turned in two pins while Castillo recorded one. Eleven of the dozen Concordia grapplers emerged with at least one victory at the tournament.
Next up is he Missouri Valley Invite in Marshall, Mo., Jan. 17-18. This particular tournament annually features many of the top wrestling programs in the NAIA. A pivotal day of GPAC duals also looms on Jan. 25.