Five grapplers appear in preseason national rankings

By Jacob Knabel on Oct. 26, 2017 in Wrestling

NAIA release

SEWARD, Neb. – Ready to defend its three-consecutive GPAC titles, the Concordia University wrestling program will open up the 2017-18 season ranked 16th nationally. The Bulldogs landed a spot in the NAIA Wrestling Coaches’ Top 20 Preseason Poll (released Wednesday, Oct. 25) while boasting eight ranked individuals on the conference level and another five rated grapplers on the national level.

Second-year head coach Andrew Nicola’s squad has four individuals that collected top-two GPAC rankings in their respective weight classes. Senior Kirk Kaliszewski, the reigning 165-pound GPAC champion, is ranked first in the GPAC and seventh nationally. Returning national qualifier Josh Nelsen is the highest-rated Bulldog from a national perspective. He checked in at No. 6 in the NAIA at 184 pounds.

The three other Concordia representatives with national rankings are Giovanni Castillo (No. 18 at 133), Alexander Reimers (No. 11 at 197) and Keanu Tom (No. 17 at 157). Kaliszewski, Nelsen and Reimers each advanced to the 2017 national championships.

Nicola’s squad is one of five GPAC teams to garner top 20 national rankings. Three-time defending GPAC champions, the Bulldogs slotted in third among conference teams, coming in after No. 12 Morningside and No. 14 Midland but in front of No. T-18 Briar Cliff and No. T-18 Hastings. Concordia placed 15th at last season’s national championships behind heavyweight national runner-up Ceron Francisco and three-time All-American Ken Burkhardt Jr.

The Bulldogs are slated to open the 2017-18 campaign on Sunday, Nov. 5 at the Dan Harris Open hosted by Baker University in Baldwin City, Kan.

Bulldogs ranked in GPAC
125 – No. 5 Seth Harrell
133 – No. 2 Giovanni Castillo
149 – No. 6 Chris Kimball
157 – No. 5 Keanu Tom
165 – No. 1 Kirk Kaliszewski
174 – No. 5 Walker Fisher
184 – No. 2 Josh Nelsen
197 – No. 2 Alexander Reimers

Bulldogs ranked nationally
133 – No. 18 Giovanni Castillo
157 – No. 17 Keanu Tom
165 – No. 7 Kirk Kaliszewski
184 – No. 6 Josh Nelsen
197 – No. 11 Alexander Reimers