SEWARD, Neb. – Brackets for the 2016 National Wrestling Coaches Association NAIA National Duals, released on Tuesday, have paired the eighth-ranked Concordia University wrestling team with No. 14 Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.) of the Mid-South Conference. The Concordia-Lindsey Wilson tussle will be one of 20 duals that take place on Friday, the opening day of the prestigious two-day event (Jan. 8-9) set to be held inside the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Concordia and Lindsey Wilson will get underway at 11 a.m. ET (10 a.m. CT) in Fort Wayne. Live results can be viewed by visiting TrackWrestling.com.
In an event that comes with the tag, “Mat Mayhem,” 12 nationally-ranked teams make up the 16-team NAIA bracket. Seven of those squads boast top-10 poll positions. Each team is guaranteed at least two duals and place finishes will be awarded to the top eight teams at the National Duals. Four-time defending NAIA national champion Grand View University has won each of the last five National Duals titles at the NAIA level.
Head coach Dana Vote’s Bulldogs enter the weekend with an overall dual record of 4-2. They own wins over three top-15 teams: No. 8 University of Great Falls (Mont.), No. 11 York College and No. 12 Midland. Concordia possesses an active GPAC dual win streak of nine. Seven Bulldogs come with national rankings attached to their names, including four who are ranked No. 1 in the GPAC/NAIA North region: Matt Atwood (184), Ceron Francisco (285), Jr Lule (157) and Andrew Schulte (141).
Schulte is the reigning GPAC wrestler of the week after capturing the 141-pound title at last week’s Viking-Warrior Classic in Fremont, Neb. The native of Corona, Calif., went 5-0 while recording wins by decision over No. 16 Tyler Dickman of Baker University (Kan.) and the University of Nebraska-Kearney’s Bryce Shoemaker, the 2014 133-pound NAIA national champion. In addition, Atwood claimed the 184-pound title at the same tournament with a 4-0 day.
Lindsey Wilson, guided by seventh-year head coach Corey Ruff, will pose a significant challenge on Friday. The Blue Raiders rode eight All-Americans, including 157-pound national champion Joe Cozart, to a third-place national finish in 2015. Five of those All-Americans remain part of the 2015-16 roster: James Flint (6th at 125), Keaton Thomas (3rd at 133), Daniel Lenoard (4th at 141), Jake Maupin (6th at 197) and Chico Adams (8th at 285). They have helped Lindsey Wilson to a 5-2 dual mark. The Blue Raiders own a win over 18th-ranked Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Ariz).
In its second dual on Friday, set for 3 p.m. ET (win or lose), the Bulldogs will take on either third-ranked Missouri Valley College or Ottawa University (Kan.). Depending upon results, Concordia could dual as many as three times on Friday. Concordia is one of just two GPAC teams in the field, joining Midland.
A total of 88 collegiate wrestling teams across five collegiate levels (NAIA, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, National Junior College Athletic Association and Women’s College Wrestling Association) will compete at the National duals, which are presented by United States Marine Corps and in honor of Cliff Keen. Of the 88 teams in action, 70 are ranked in their respective national rankings. Individually, 345 nationally-ranked wrestlers will take to the mats at the Allen County War Memorial.
No. 8 Concordia (4-2)
133 – No. 11 Kodie Cole (3-3)
141 – No. 8 Andrew Schulte (21-6)
157 – No. 6 Jr Lule (15-5)
165 – No. 11 Tommy Bailey (17-12)
184 – No. 6 Matt Atwood (14-2)
197 – No. 14 Ken Burkhardt Jr. (19-8)
285 – No. 5 Ceron Francisco (18-9)
No. 14 Lindsey Wilson (5-2)
125 – No. 8 James Flint
141 – No. 6 Daniel Leonard
197 – No. 13 Jake Maupin
285 – No. 6 Chico Adams
Location: Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
4000 Parnell Avenue
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46805
Adult All weekend pass: $40
Adult Daily admission: $20
Youth (16 and under) All weekend pass: $30
Youth (16 and under) Daily admission: $15
Live streaming available through Trackwrestling
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Competing NAIA teams
Campbellsville, Concordia, Cumberland, Cumberlands, Grand View, Great Falls, Indiana Tech, Life, Lindsey Wilson, Midland, Missouri Valley, Missouri Baptist, Oklahoma City, Ottawa, Williams Baptist, York.