LINDSBORG, Kan. – This season will be different for Concordia wrestling. Head coach Dana Vote’s new-look squad began its 2013-14 campaign at the Bethany College Swede Open on Friday with plenty of exciting moments. Transfers Austin Mogg (125) and Emilio Rivera (133), who wore the Bulldog singlet for the first time, reached the medal stand in a solid opening day performance.
“Overall I think we wrestled well,” Vote said. “We saw lots of improvement from the young guys, but we’ve got some little things to work on.”
Vote raved about the performance of Rivera, a transfer from Palomar College. After dropping a 7-3 decision to Trey Trujillo of the University of Nebraska-Kearney in round two of the championship bracket, Rivera won six-straight bouts to claim third place at 133. The native of Escondido, Calif., earned two pins in the process, including one over Apsen Kmiec of Midland in 2:30. Rivera won seven of his eight matches on the day.
Mogg, a former All-American at NCAA Division III Buena Vista University, did not disappoint in his first opportunity to wrestle as a Bulldog. Mogg won his first four decisions on the way to the first-place match against Midland’s Josh Heinzer. Mogg lost to Heinzer by an 11-4 tally. Mogg ended up 4-1 on the day with two wins by fall.
Bulldog freshman heavyweight Ceron Francisco made waves with his pin of Xavier Fisher, a former junior college All-American. Still an inexperienced wrestler, Francisco has made big strides since arriving on the Concordia campus. The native of Fayetteville, N.C., finished 2-1 on the day before leaving with an injury.
Enrique Barajas was also lifted early from the Swede Open due to injury. The 149-pounder, a junior college All-American from California, won by scores of 13-2 (major decision) and 8-2 to proceed to the semifinals of the championship round.
A total of 19 Bulldogs saw action on the mat in Lindsborg, Kan., with 15 recording at least one victory on the day. Fourteen of those grapplers are new to the team this season.
Also at 133, freshman Kodie Cole of Palmdale, Calif., won three matches before ending his day with a narrow 3-2 loss to Rivera in round five of the consolation bracket. Seward native Austin Fehlhafer began his collegiate career with a 3-2 day. All of his wins came via fall.
A select group of Bulldog wrestlers will be in action next Saturday at the Iowa State Cyclone Open in Ames, Iowa. Some of Concordia’s best grapplers will get the opportunity to go head-to-head with top-notch competition.