SEWARD, Neb. – Five Concordia wrestlers have been named to GPAC all-conference teams, as announced by the league on Wednesday. Junior Emilio Rivera, one of two Bulldog first-teamers, takes the highest honors as the Hauff Mid-America Sports/GPAC Wrestler of the Year. Rivera is joined by freshman Austin Fehlhafer on the first team.
The trio of Enrique Barajas, Ken Burkhardt Jr. and Austin Mogg all receive all-GPAC honorable mention following national qualifying performances at the North Group Qualifying Tournament on Feb. 22.
Rivera will enter the national championships with an overall record of 22-6. The native of Escondido, Calif., dominated GPAC opponents, going 11-0 against conference wrestlers. He went on to win the 133-pound title at the NAIA North Qualifier and has an active 10-match win streak.
Fehlhafer, a Seward High School product, burst onto the scene as a freshman. He tops the GPAC with 19 pins. He is Concordia’s team leader with 27 wins (27-9 record) and finished runner up at the North Qualifier in the 174-pound weight class. His 10-match winning streak was snapped in the North title bout.
Barajas, a native of Hayward, Calif., is 18-14 (8-8 in duals) in his first season as a Bulldog after transferring from Sacramento City Community College. Barajas earned a fourth-place finish in the 149-pound bracket at the North Qualifier.
A native of nearby Milford, Burkhardt Jr. has won eight of his last 11 matches and claimed a third-place finish at 197 pounds in the North Qualifier. Burkhardt Jr. is 18-15 overall with seven pins. A regular in the dual lineup, Burkhardt went 10-7 in duals.
A former NCAA Division III All-American, Mogg found his groove again at the North Qualifier with a third-place finish as part of a performance that included a major decision over a nationally-ranked opponent. Mogg is 16-7 with four pins on the season.
Collectively, the Bulldogs’ five all-conference selections helped orchestrate a major turnaround in just a single year. Head coach Dana Vote’s squad went from a last-place North regional finish, 1-5 GPAC dual record and no national qualifiers last season to a runner-up North finish, 5-2 GPAC mark and five national qualifiers in 2013-14.