SEWARD, Neb. – Senior Ceron Francisco has now earned three GPAC weekly honors over the past two seasons. His latest award came on Wednesday when the conference again named Francisco the GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports Wrestler of the Week. Francisco and teammate Ken Burkhardt Jr. have combined for four conference weekly awards this season. As a team, the Concordia wrestling program has claimed 11 of the last 21 GPAC wrestler of the week awards.
Francisco’s honor comes courtesy of his efforts at last week’s Missouri Valley Invite. At the loaded event, the native of Fayetteville, N.C., finished as the runner up in the heavyweight bracket. During his run to the title match, the fifth-ranked Francisco toppled ranked opponents in No. 9 Javier Gonzalez of Menlo College (Calif.) and No. 14 Justin Smith of Missouri Valley. His lone loss came at the hands of sixth-ranked Jacob Laden of Grand View University (Iowa) in the title bout. He placed higher than both the second- and third-ranked heavyweights in the NAIA.
Francisco now stands at 16-2 overall this season, giving him the highest winning percentage on the team. His career record has moved to 90-52. He’s the second winningest wrestler in program history behind only Burkhardt Jr. (114).
First-year head coach Andrew Nicola’s 11th-ranked squad will return to action with three GPAC duals in Orange City, Iowa, on Saturday. Concordia owns a GPAC dual win streak of 16.
Concordia GPAC wrestlers of the week (last two seasons)
Jan. 25 – Ceron Francisco
Dec. 28 – Ken Burkhardt Jr.
Dec. 14 – Ken Burkhardt Jr.
Nov. 16 – Ceron Francisco
Feb. 16 – Jr Lule
Feb. 9 – Andrew Schulte
Feb. 2 – Ceron Francisco
Jan. 26 – Jr Lule
Jan. 12 – *Andrew Schulte
Jan. 5 – Andrew Schulte
*NAIA national wrestler of the week