SEWARD, Neb. – By day’s end on Saturday, a GPAC regular-season champion may emerge. Half of the entire conference dual schedule will play out on Saturday when the 20th-ranked Concordia University wrestling team will take part in the GPAC Duals. The Bulldogs will be joined in at the Fuhrer Fieldhouse in Crete, Neb., by host Doane as well as Briar Cliff, Hastings and Jamestown.
2020 GPAC Duals
*Action will start at 9 a.m. CT
RD 1 – vs. Hastings (0-3, 0-1 GPAC)
RD 2 – vs. Jamestown (4-7, 1-1 GPAC)
RD 3 – vs. Briar Cliff (3-0, 3-0 GPAC)
RD 5 – vs. Doane (1-0, 1-0 GPAC)
Entering the week, second-year head coach Levi Calhoun’s squad is tied with Briar Cliff for first in the GPAC standings. Both teams own identical 3-0 conference marks. Doane (1-0) is the only other GPAC squad without a conference dual loss. Concordia is 10-1 in GPAC duals during Calhoun’s tenure with the only defeat coming last season at the hands of Morningside. The Bulldogs were able to avenge that loss by beating Morningside, 23-16, in Sioux City, Iowa, on Dec. 5. Concordia also owns conference wins this season over Northwestern and Midland. Since the start of the 2014-15 season, the Bulldogs are 36-4 in conference duals.
Concordia is coming off a 16th-place finish out of the 48 NAIA squads that were present at the Missouri Valley Invite last weekend. Nine Bulldogs competed at the event and combined for 15 wins. Former Nebraska Cornhusker offensive lineman Tanner Farmer stole the show by winning the 285-pound title at the Missouri Valley Invite. He claimed six victories at the tournament, including triumphs over competitors ranked second, third, sixth and 18th in the NAIA. Farmer, also a champion at the Hastings Cusatis Open, is now 11-0 since joining Concordia for the second semester. He is ranked 13th in the nation at 285 pounds.
Calhoun’s squad may have placed higher at the Missouri Valley Invite if it would have had the services of its full lineup. Reinforcements are on the way for this weekend. Standouts such as Mario Ybarra (125), Alberto Garcia (133), Chris Kimball (141), Deandre Chery (174) and Michael Stann (285) are each looking to make their way back to the mat. Garcia, a 2019 All-American, could make his season debut on Saturday. A two-time GPAC champion at 174 pounds, Chery has not yet wrestled in 2020. Concordia accounts for half of the league’s top-rated wrestlers with Ybarra (125), Cameron Devers (149), Chery (174), Miller (184) and Farmer (285) all being placed at No. 1.
At least on paper, Briar Cliff appears to be one of Concordia’s prime competitors for the GPAC championship. Regular-season champions during the 2017-18 season, the Chargers boast four nationally-ranked individuals. The highest-rated individual of the opponents the Bulldogs are set to face is fourth-ranked 141-pounder Baterdene Boldmaa (No. 1 in the GPAC) of Doane. Briar Cliff has the conference’s top-rated wrestler at 133 in Isiah Lysius.
Following the GPAC Duals, Concordia will have one final conference dual – Jan. 30 versus Dakota Wesleyan. On that same day, the Bulldogs will also host York College in a dual.
GPAC Duals – NAIA ranked individuals
No. 20 Concordia
125 – No. 17 Mario Ybarra
157 – No. 19 Gabe Crawford
174 – No. 9 Deandre Chery
184 – No. 14 Darrin Miller
285 – No. 13 Tanner Farmer
125 – No. 19 Braedon Clopton
133 – No. 8 Isiah Lysius
157 – No. 18 Ben Peters
165 – No. 17 Chris Paulsen
141 – No. 4 Baterdene Boldmaa
157 – No. 9 Taygen Smith
No nationally-ranked wrestlers