SEWARD, Neb. – It will be a pivotal day of GPAC action on Tuesday when eight conference duals take place at Long Lines Family Recreation Center in Sioux City, Iowa. The Concordia University Wrestling team will test its mettle against the likes of Dakota Wesleyan and No. 5 Morningside as part of the final outing prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. Head Coach Chase Clasen’s squad has already banked two GPAC dual victories having dominated both Midland and Hastings.
GPAC Duals Day – Tuesday, Nov. 21
--More Info: https://www.gpacsports.com/sports/mwrest/2023-24/releases/20231119mtobks
4 p.m. – Concordia (2-0 GPAC) vs. Dakota Wesleyan (1-0 GPAC)
7 p.m. – Concordia (2-0 GPAC) vs. No. 5 Morningside (0-0 GPAC)
Clasen and company are hoping to build upon last season’s third-place GPAC finish in both the regular season and at the conference tournament. Currently, the Bulldogs are ranked fifth in the official GPAC rankings released on NAIA.org. The top four teams in the GPAC rankings are Doane, Morningside, Briar Cliff and Northwestern. So far in dual action, Concordia has defeated Midland, 45-6, and Hastings, 41-9, while hosting both in-state rivals. The Bulldogs posted a combined seven pins in those GPAC duals and won 17 of 20 matches.
Concordia boasts nine wrestlers with rankings at the conference level (listed below). Returning national qualifier Creighton Baughman headlines the list. Baughman is rated 10th in the NAIA at 141 pounds. He owns a 7-2 mark on the season. Others on the roster with at least seven wins are Barret Brandt (15-4), Grant Wells (9-3), Jeaven Scdoris (8-3) and Martim Moniz (7-4). Brandt has already racked up 14 pins and was a fifth-place finisher at 165 pounds at the Younes Hospitality Open hosted by the University of Nebraska-Kearney. The eight GPAC ranked Concordia grapplers other than Baughman are all rated either fifth or sixth in the conference within their respective weight classes.
Concordia ranked wrestlers
125 – Martim Moniz: GPAC – 5th
133 – Grant Wells: GPAC – 5th
141 – Creighton Baughman: GPAC – 2nd | NAIA – 10th
149 – TJ Allen: GPAC – 5th
157 – Jeaven Scdoris: GPAC – 6th
165 – Tommy Wentz: GPAC – 5th
174 – Sean Duffy: GPAC – 5th
184 – Hunter Weimer: GPAC – 5th
184 – Garret Moser: GPAC – 6th
Dakota Wesleyan ranked wrestlers
133 – Temuujin Natsagdorj: GPAC – 3rd
141 – Zach Zitek: GPAC – 5th
149 – Aric Williams: GPAC – 2nd | NAIA – 16th
157 – Tyson Johnson: GPAC – 5th
165 – Kaleb Bigelow: GPAC – 2nd | NAIA – 11th
174 – Lane Miller: GPAC – 2nd | NAIA – 20th
The Dakota Wesleyan program has been on the rise and got GPAC action started with a 26-21 dual win over Northwestern on Nov. 16. As shown above, the Tigers will roll out three nationally-ranked competitors, including two returning national qualifiers in Kaleb Bigelow (165) and Aric Williams (149). Martin Mueller is in his second season as head coach of the program. DWU finished last season with a 2-6 GPAC dual record.
Morningside ranked wrestlers
133 – Benjamin Schmitz: GPAC – 2nd | NAIA – 13th
141 – Taylor Vasquez: GPAC – 1st | NAIA – 12th
157 – Noah Styskal: GPAC – 1st | NAIA – 11th
165 – Zander Ernst: GPAC – 1st | NAIA – 14th
174 – Alex Vandyke: GPAC – 1st | NAIA – 11th
174 – Caleb Connor: GPAC – 3rd | NAIA – 23rd
184 – Hayden Wempen: GPAC – 2nd | NAIA – 7th
285 – Hunter DeJong: GPAC – 1st | NAIA – 7th
285 – Jakob Jerabek: GPAC – 2nd | NAIA – 9th
Morningside is the reigning GPAC champion for both the regular season and conference tournament. The Mustangs have a first-year head coach in Rulin Pederson, who took over for Jake Stevenson. The roster includes nine returning national qualifiers: Hunter DeJong (285), Zander Ernst (165), Jakob Jerabek (285), Benjamin Schmitz (133), Noah Styskal (157), Alex Vandyke (174), Taylor Vasquez (141), Nicholas Walters (141) and Hayden Wempen (184). The deep Morningside squad has nine wrestlers ranked nationally. Both Wempen and DeJong and ranked seventh in their respective weight classes. The Mustangs went a perfect 8-0 (13-4 overall) in GPAC duals last season.
Following the two duals on Tuesday, Concordia will take the rest of Thanksgiving week off from competition. The Bulldogs will make another home appearance on Dec. 1 when they will welcome Bethany College (Kan.) to Friedrich Arena for a 7 p.m. CT dual.